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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

1. 1. Þjóðólfr ór Hvini, 1. Ynglingatal, 15 [Vol. 1, 34]

[All]: This stanza sets the death of Óttarr in Denmark, at a place called Vendill which Þjóðólfr may have associated with Vendsyssel, north of Limfjorden in Jutland. However, this is generally assumed to stem from a misinterpretation of Swedish tradition on Þjóðólfr’s part, which was then taken up by HN and by Snorri in Hkr. According to numerous scholars (e.g. Vikstrand 2004, 379-83), the p. n. Vendill originally designated the region Vendel, north of Uppsala. This identification has been made partly because of the exceptionally large burial mound there, known as Ottarshögen since the second half of the C17th. Although it cannot be proven that the ruler buried there was the Óttarr of Yt, the dating of the Vendel finds corresponds roughly to that of the stanza’s historical background inasmuch as it may be inferred from Beowulf. A further indication that Vendill is the Vendel district in Sweden has been seen in Vendilkráka, the king’s nickname, which appears in Hkr. However, this nickname applies to Egill in HN and Íslb, not to Óttarr. Vendelkråkor is said to have been a comical designation for people from Vendel over a long period (Vikstrand 2004, 380-3). The assumption has been that Snorri transferred Egill’s nickname to his son Óttarr (Bugge 1894, 141; Storm 1899, 109; Krag 1991, 121). If this is correct, the association with the region in Sweden would also apply to Egill.


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