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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

8. Breta saga 15 (Gunnlaugr Leifsson, Merlínusspá II, 15) [Vol. 8, 148]

[6] inn danski viðr ‘the Danish wood’: Possibly to be identified as the Forest of Dean, located in the western part of Gloucestershire (see CPB I, 156; Poole 1987, 276; Townend 1998, 29-31); cf. Ótt Knútdr 10/8I and Note there. Geoffrey’s reference to this wood may reflect its status as the centre of iron-working to equip military expeditions (Poole 1955, 81-2). The reading danorum ‘of the Danes’ is found in the R ms. of the First Variant Version (Wright 1988, 108), as noted by Merl 2012; cf. the Anglo-Norman decasyllabic rendering (Blacker 2005, 44) les bois de Danemarche ‘the woods of Denmark’. But Gunnlaugr does not appear to be basing himself on R, which contains many erroneous readings not reflected by Merl, or indeed on the First Variant Version in general: see I 39 Note to [All]. He might have found the reading included as a variant in his source ms. (cf. I 41 Note to [All], II 25 Note to [All]) or instead have adapted Lat. daneum or a different variant reading such as danerium independently, perhaps aware of Óttarr svarti’s reference to a locality in England as Danaskógar (Ótt Knútdr 8/8I). For an identification of this locality as the Forest of Dean see CPB I, 156, Poole (1987, 276). For interpretation of Latin place-names on Gunnlaugr’s part, cf. II 9 Note to [All].


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