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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

1. 54. Hallar-Steinn, 1. Rekstefja, 4 [Vol. 1, 901]

[2, 4] lét ... efnda hefnd ‘achieved revenge’: Lit. ‘caused revenge [to be] achieved’. Slight emendation of efndi and hefnt in the sole ms. for ll. 1-4 is required to produce f. acc. sg. p. p. efnda agreeing with hefnd, hence lét ... efnda hefnd. The ms. reading efndi would be a finite verb, 3rd pers. sg. pret. indic. ‘achieved’, but neither it, nor ms. hefnt, p. p. ‘avenged’, produces satisfactory syntax. Anon Óldr 5/8 uses almost identical phrasing to praise Óláfr’s revenge, and as here the stanza also refers to a raid on England. As to the revenge, the slaying of Óláfr’s father Tryggvi Óláfsson is traditionally placed in Norway, and attributed to the treachery of his cousins the Eiríkssynir or Gunnhildarsynir (e.g. HN, MHN 110; Fsk, ÍF 29, 102; Hkr, ÍF 26, 214). Why the attacks on England (ll. 5-8) constituted revenge for Tryggvi is unclear, and this problem may be the reason that ll. 1-4 are omitted in ÓT. Conceivably the Gunnhildarsynir’s connections with England lie behind the allusion here. Alternatively, it may be that the two helmingar in this stanza refer to different campaigns.


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