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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

1. 37. Sigvatr Þórðarson, 2. Nesjavísur, 12 [Vol. 1, 573]

[2, 4] þótt lið konungs væri minna ‘although the king’s force was less’: While it seems to be stated here that the king had lower numbers than Sveinn, st. 6 claims that mildr fekk meira lið an gløggr ‘the generous one [Óláfr] gained a greater force than the mean one [Sveinn]’. This has been seen as an internal contradiction on Sigvatr’s part. It is notable that Fsk and ÓH-Hkr do not include st. 6, and the reason may well be that the redactors detected a discrepancy (Fidjestøl 1997b, 15). Numerous attempts at harmonisation have been made in modern scholarship (e.g. Johnsen 1916, 35; Schreiner 1926, 106; Schreiner 1927, 418; Schreiner 1929, 86; van Eeden 1945b, 128; Petersen 1946, 48; and Fidjestøl 1997b). There is, however, no contradiction if ‘more’ means that Óláfr had more men than Sveinn had overall and ‘fewer’ means that Óláfr received fewer men than originally pledged, thanks to the people of Trøndelag having defaulted on their oaths (cf. st. 13; see Poole 2005d, 189-92).


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