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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Eil Þdr 8III l. 8

þaks — of the roof

lemma:

þak (noun n.; °-s; *-): [roof, thatch] < salþak (noun n.)

readings:

notes:

[7-8] til svíra salþaks ‘to the neck of the roof of the earth [SKY]’: Salþaks lit. ‘of the hall-roof’. Here the world is conceived as a building as in Vsp 4/5-8 (NK 1): sól scein sunnan | á salar steina, | þá var grund gróin | grœnom lauki ‘the sun shone from the south on the stones of the hall (i.e. the earth), then the ground was grown with green leek’ (cf. Kiil 1956, 118; Davidson 1983, 598; see also Note to Rv Lv 34/1). On the sky conceptualised as a roof, cf. Meissner 104. Svíra cannot be connected with megin ‘strength’ (l. 8) (Sveinbjörn Egilsson 1851, 8) or Þorns (l. 6) (Finnur Jónsson 1900b, 384; Skj B), because either construction would leave the dangling prep. til ‘to’ and divide l. 7 into three parts (see NN §450; Reichardt 1948, 353). Svíra is difficult to interpret; in the phrase til svíra salþaks ‘to the neck of the roof of the earth’, it can perhaps be explained in light of the fact that buildings could be thought of as living beings; cf. house-kennings whose base-words are names for animals (Meissner 430). It may also have to do with the idea of the cosmos as a living being; cf. the explanation in the Prologue to SnE (SnE 2005, 1-2) of how people came to believe in an earth goddess.

kennings:

grammar:

case: gen.

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