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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

3. Anonymous Þulur, 10. Óðins nǫfn, 7 [Vol. 3, 748]

[5] Jólnir: So B and also attested in skaldic poetry (cf. Eil Þdr 13/7). The A variant, normalised jǫlnir, must be a scribal error. Jólnir is most likely formed from jóln n. pl. ‘gods’, hence perhaps Jólnir ‘one of the gods’. Jóln, in turn, is derived from jól n. pl. ‘Yule’, the name of the great heathen winter feast, later transferred to Christmas (ÍO: jóln). In Flat 1860-8, I, 564, the etymology of this Óðinn-name is explained as a heathen derivative from jól ‘Yule’, whereas in Ágrip, the name of the feast is erroneously interpreted as originating from that of the god (ÍF 29, 3): var af Jólni jól kǫlluð ‘Yule was named after Jólnir’ (see also Falk 1924, 20-1).


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