Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

1. 1. Þjóðólfr ór Hvini, 1. Ynglingatal, 22 [Vol. 1, 48]

[5-6] hlífi-Nauma hallvarps ‘the protecting Nauma <goddess> of the cairn [= Hel]’: Hel, goddess of death, also features in st. 7. Nauma appears to be a goddess or giantess, whose name occurs as the base-word in woman-kennings: see Note to Ótt Lv 3/8. The gen. hallvarps ‘of the cairn’ is to be understood as the object of the verbal element hlífi ‘protecting’ which is attached to Nauma. The hap. leg. hallvarp, lit. ‘stone-throwing’ is best interpreted as ‘heap of stones, cairn’ (so Wadstein 1895a, 76 and subsequent eds); Falk (1923, 78) compares New Norw. varp, verp ‘heap of stones commemorating an event, cairn’. Although no other source associates Hel with a cairn, such an association is plausible given the use of cairns in burials or as commemorative monuments.

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