Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

1. 34. Halldórr ókristni, Eiríksflokkr, 2 [Vol. 1, 473]

[1] Eyna ‘of the Eynir’: (a) This emendation was first suggested by Sveinbjörn Egilsson (LP (1860): Eynir), and it has been adopted in Skj B, Skald, ÍF 29 and, tentatively, in the present edn (ÍF 26 leaves Óna untranslated). The Eynir were the inhabitants of Eynafylki (Inderøy and Ytterøy), Trøndelag, Norway (see ÓH 1941, I, 266), or the people living in the areas surrounding the lake Øyeren in Norway (see Sverris saga in E 1916, 416). (b) Most mss have (normalised) óna, which is difficult to make sense of (‘Ꝍina’ in FskBˣ and ‘Ꝍna’ in 51ˣ, 302ˣ appear to be scribal errors). Ónn is an unidentified part of a sword (see Note to Þul Sverða 11/5III), but ‘of swords’ (óna gen. pl.) cannot be construed to make any sense in the context. Óna is also the gen. pl. of óinn, which is the name of a dwarf (see Note to Þul Dverga 3/8III) as well as a heiti for ‘serpent’ (see Note to Þul Orma 1/3III). If taken in the latter meaning (‘of serpents’), this could be an onomastic play on the names of Óláfr’s two warships, Ormr inn langi ‘the Long Serpent’ and Ormr in skammi ‘the Short Serpent’ (cf. Introduction above). Adopting the variant einum (m. dat. sg.) ‘one’ (l. 1), the first clause could then be construed as follows: Konungr fór sunnan sjau tøgum skeiða ok einum Óna ‘the king went from the south with seventy warships and one of the Serpents’. However attractive that interpretation may be, the fact remains that Óláfr travelled north with both of his reptilian warships and, other than in the þula, óinn is not attested as a heiti for ‘serpent’.

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