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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Eil Þdr 3III l. 2

mein — of the harm


mein (noun n.; °-s; -): harm, injury < 1. meinsvari (noun m.)



[2] farmr arma meinsvarra ‘the cargo of the arms [LOVER] of the harm-woman [= Angrboða > = Loki]’: This kenning must be the sentence’s subject. Its base-word, ‘lover’, is expressed by another kenning, ‘cargo of the arms’. Similar to this are farmr arma Gunnlaðar ‘cargo of the arms [LOVER] of Gunnlǫð <giantess> [= Óðinn]’ Steinþ Frag 1/2 and farmr arma Sigvinjar ‘cargo of the arms [LOVER] of Sigyn <goddess> [= Loki]’ Þjóð Haustl 7/2. These examples show that determinants in this type of kenning must be the name of a female being. This edn follows Kock’s (NN §2106) suggestion that meinsvarans (so all mss) should instead read meinsvarrans ‘of the harm-woman’, from mein n. ‘harm’ and the weak m. noun svarri ‘woman’. This woman must be the giantess Angrboða, with whom Loki begot the three monsters that threaten the world (Fenrisúlfr, Miðgarðsormr and Hel; Gylf, SnE 2005, 27). This kenning fits very well here, because Loki is also the source of the evil awaiting Þórr and Þjálfi (see st. 1). That Loki’s advice is based on his incautiousness in venturing into giantland and being forced to bring Þórr to Geirrøðr without his weapons, is only related by Snorri (SnE 1998, I, 24) and has to be left out of consideration here. The only problem is that all mss have ‘meinsvarans’, i.e. the word contains the def. art. ‑ns which Kock (ibid.) assumes was a later insertion. This edn therefore normalises to meinsvarra in keeping with editorial practice. Other eds have sought to supplement farmr arma differently: farmr arma hapts meinsvarans ‘cargo of the arms of the god of false witness [= Geirrøðr > = Gjálp and Greip]’ (Sveinbjörn Egilsson 1851, 15); farmr arma hapts galdrs ‘cargo of the arms of the deity of magic [= Sigyn > = Loki]’ (Finnur Jónsson 1900b, 378; Skj B); farmr arma hapts sóknar ‘cargo of the arms of the deity of battle [= Sigyn > = Loki]’ (Guðmundur Finnbogason 1924, 174); farmr arma Meinsvárangs ‘cargo of the arms of Meinsvárangr <giant> [GIANTESS]’ (Reichardt 1948, 340; Davidson 1983, 575); farmr arma hapts sóknar meinsvárans ‘cargo of the arms of the barrier to the trial for bearing false witness [= Syn > = Þórr]’ (Kiil 1956, 100-1). Kock (NN §445) interprets this last kenning as ‘cargo of the arms of the deity of revenge for bearing false witness’ [= Vôr > = Loki]. All of these proposals fall short because they either contain arbitrary syntactic constructions or require ad hoc assumptions about mythology.



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