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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

1. 18. Einarr skálaglamm Helgason, 2. Vellekla, 31 [Vol. 1, 322]

[5-6] jǫfra ættrýri ‘the destroyer of the kin of princes [(lit. ‘kin-destroyer of princes’) PRINCES > RULER = Hákon jarl]’: Among the kennings for ‘king, ruler’ is a group which portrays the ruler as the oppressor or destroyer of hersar, jarlar, jǫfrar, harrar or hertogar (various ranks of chieftain or ruler). According to Meissner 359-60 these kennings stem from battles or confrontations with political opponents within a particular country’s hierarchy. By contrast Hkr 1991 interprets the kenning as konungs bani ‘regicide’, presumably with regard to the killing of Haraldr gráfeldr, though Hákon did not carry this out himself (similarly Vell 1865, 90; Hkr 1893-1901, IV).


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