Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

7. Anonymous Poems, Heilagra meyja drápa, 11 [Vol. 7, 898-9]

[3-4] mildliga skal sú Máría kallaz, Magðaléna jafnan sagðiz ‘graciously she shall be called Mary; she always named herself Magdalene’: This somewhat obscure statement is probably based on gospel accounts (e.g. Luke VII.37-50) which imply that the woman who annointed Jesus’ feet with oil was to be identified with ‘Mary called Magdalene’ (Luke VIII.2). Magdalene was the woman’s normal name, but she was also given the honorific name of Mary. Alternatively, as tentatively suggested in Skj B, this couplet might mean ‘that Mary, always named Magdalene, can be called upon’, i.e. Mary Magdalene can be invoked by Christians for help. Both here and in 13/5 the name must be spelled Magðaléna, even though both mss have <d>, in order to provide internal rhyme.

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