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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

1. 13. Eyvindr skáldaspillir Finnsson, 3. Lausavísur, 5 [Vol. 1, 221]

[5, 6, 7] Ála galtar éldraugr ‘the log of the storm of the boar of Áli <legendary king> [(lit. storm-log of the boar of Áli) HELMET > BATTLE > WARRIOR]’: This solution is based upon that of Finnur Jónsson (Hkr 1893-1901, IV; Skj B), which is followed, with variations, by most eds. The ‘boar of Áli’ is understood as ‘helmet’, since Hildigǫltr or Hildisvín ‘battle-boar’ was the name of the helmet belonging to king Áli of Norway (Hkr 1893-1901, IV; Skj B; cf. ÍF 26, 190 n.), which later passed to Aðils of Sweden (Skm, SnE 1998, I, 58; cf. a comparable allusion to the hostilities between Aðils and Hrólfr kraki at Fýrisvellir in Eyv Lv 8.) There is an element of ofljóst here, since the battle-kenning equates to hildr ‘battle’, and together with galtar (gen. sg. of gǫltr ‘boar’) forms a counterpart to Hildigǫltr. Editors differ as to the exact analysis of the kenning (and see Note to l. 6 draugr for a further complication). The analysis above is favoured in ÍF 26, ÍF 29 and Hkr 1991, while Finnur Jónsson and seemingly Kock (NN §2217) take él Ála ‘storm of Áli’ as the battle-kenning and the gǫltr ‘boar’ of battle as the helmet. The ofljóst works more straightforwardly on this analysis, but the structure of the inverted kenning is more problematic. Gǫltr and other words for ‘boar’ are found in other expressions for ‘helmet’, though Meissner expresses reservations about their status as kennings (Meissner 164). Boar images on helmets are attested from pre-Viking Age Sweden and from Anglo-Saxon England (see Beowulf 2008, 12, 135-7; Mitchell et al. 1998, 189).


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