Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

1. 57. Bjarni byskup Kolbeinsson, Jómsvíkingadrápa, 34 [Vol. 1, 989]

[1, 4] lét ... helfarar verða veittar ‘caused the way to Hel to be granted’: That is, Vígfúss killed Áslákr. The cpd helfǫr (here acc. pl. ‑farar) is unique. In Old Norse heathen belief, Hel was the realm of the dead and the monstrous daughter of Loki who presided over it, and hence ‘death’ in general; see LP: 1. hel, Hel, and see Turville-Petre (1964, 270-2) on journeys to the world of the dead. It is not clear whether hel in the present context alludes to the heathen belief, or to the Christian Hell, or a more neutral concept of death.


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