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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

8. Ǫrvar-Odds saga 60 (Ǫrvar-Oddr, Lausavísur, 26) — Oddr [Vol. 8, 875]

[All]: Oddr’s reply to his interlocutor justifies his action of burning the cult houses of Álfr and Gyðja in terms familiar to Christian apologetic for the destruction of places of pagan worship, in that they did no good in the world and were powerless to save themselves from the fire because they were just pieces of wood. Earlier in the saga (Ǫrv 1888, 9), Oddr has been represented as a ‘noble pagan’ (cf. Lönnroth 1969) who has a natural understanding of Christian beliefs and morals. While in Southern Europe, he accepted preliminary baptism as a Christian (cf. Ǫrv 37 and 123 and Notes). The terms hof ‘temple’ (l. 1) and hörgr ‘sanctuary’ (l. 2) are used exclusively in skaldic poetry to refer to places of pagan cult; cf. Anon Pl 59/2VII, Hfr Óldr 1/2I and Mark Eirdr 17/1II.


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