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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

3. 38. Óttarr svarti (biog. vol. 1), Óláfsdrápa sœnska, 5 [Vol. 3, 339]

[All]: The wording and imagery of the stanza participate in the well-established tradition of describing a ruler’s conquest or subjugation of the land (jǫrð) in terms of marriage or sex, as most famously found in Hfr Hákdr (see Note to Anon Nkt 8/1, 2II, and see also Frank 2007). There are two options for construing the stanza: (a) The interpretation adopted here (and in Frank 2007, 182) follows that of Skald and does not require emendation. (b) Skj B emends in l. 4 and reads Vísi tekr víst munlaust víf Óska austr; allvaldr aldar hefr gótt líf víg-Freys which can be translated as ‘The ruler takes for certain the loveless wife of Óski <= Óðinn> [= Jǫrð (jǫrð ‘earth’)] in the east; the mighty ruler of men leads the good life of a battle-Freyr <god> [WARRIOR]’.


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