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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

8. Ǫrvar-Odds saga 65 (Ǫrvar-Oddr, Lausavísur, 29) — Oddr [Vol. 8, 880]

[3] smíði Jólfs ‘Jólfr’s handiwork’: A reference to a weapon, in the prose texts said to comprise three stone arrows, that a mysterious old man named Jólfr lends Oddr before he visits King Herrauðr’s court. Oddr uses these to wound Álfr bjálki (in the younger mss) or to kill Gyða (in 7). Jólfs smíði is listed among other arrow-names in Þul Ǫrvar 2/5III; for a discussion, see SnE 1998, II, 228 n. to st. 466/7-8. Although this is not stated directly in the prose text, the implication is that Jólfr is an Odinic figure. His name is possibly reminiscent of certain names for Óðinn (cf. discussion in Edd. Min. lxviii). As Boer commented in several notes to his 1892 edn (Ǫrv 1892, 90-1), the sense of the prose text is at odds with the sense of these stanzas, in that, among other things, Oddr benefits from the thinly disguised Óðinn’s help in the prose, while declaring himself opposed to the pagan gods and to Óðinn in particular in the poetry. Finnur Jónsson (Skj B and LP: Jólfssmíði) treated Jólfs smíði as a cpd or hyphenated name (Skj B) for the stone arrow(s). It is not clear whether the phrase refers to a single arrow or whether smíði is a collective noun. The phrase also occurs at Ǫrv 67/2. 


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