Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

1. 38. Óttarr svarti, 2. Knútsdrápa, 7 [Vol. 1, 775]

[6-7] ættniðr Játmundar ‘the descendant of Eadmund [= Eadmund Ironside]’: The person referred to by the kenning as a whole is (somewhat confusingly) Eadmund Ironside, though English sources do not record Eadmund as suffering wounds in a battle near Brentford (if the two helmingar refer to the same event). But there are two candidates for the Eadmund who is his ancestor, and determinant of the kenning: the king of East Anglia martyred by vikings in 869, and the king of England from 939-46. Both are plausible: Knútr’s devotion to the cult of S. Eadmund (see Lawson 1993, 142-3) might suggest it is the saint who is being invoked, while Óttarr’s allusion to Eadgar in st. 3/6 indicates that he was familiar with the royal house of Wessex. Eadmund Ironside was indeed the descendant of the tenth-century king, but not of the ninth-century martyr; however, kinship need not be literal in honorific locutions such as this. The same kenning occurs in Ótt Hfl 13/6, 8 as niðja Játmundar ‘kinsman of Eadmund’, but there refers to Æthelred.

references

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