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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

3. Anonymous Þulur, 10. Óðins nǫfn, 2 [Vol. 3, 735]

[4] Farmatýr: Lit. ‘god of cargoes’ (farma is gen. pl. of farmr m. ‘cargo’). In this form the name is also attested in Grí 48/4, but cf. the variant Farmaguð recorded only in Gylf (SnE 2005, 21). Falk (1924, 7-8) suggests that the name refers to Óðinn as a god of trade, although there are no other traces of this function of the god in Old Norse written sources. A number of votive inscriptions dating from the C2nd and C3rd containing the name Mercurius have been found in Western and Lower Germany, and the Lombard historian Paulus Diaconus (C8th) identified Wotan as Mercury (see Turville-Petre 1964, 72-3). It is doubtful, however, whether this evidence is relevant for interpreting a name attested much later and in a distant part of the Germanic world. It seems more plausible that Farmatýr originated from one or even both of the myths behind such kennings as farmr Óðins ‘Óðinn’s burden [MEAD OF POETRY]’ and farmr gálga ‘burden of gallows [= Óðinn]’ (see LP: farmr). For the last element of the cpd, ‑týr, see Note to Eyv Hál 9/5I and Eyv Hák 1/2I.


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