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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

8. Friðþjófs saga ins frœkna 2 (Friðþjófr Þorsteinsson, Lausavísur, 2) — Friðþjófr [Vol. 8, 195]

[8] Elliða (acc.) ‘Elliði’: The name of Friðþjófr’s ship, which he inherited from his father, Þorsteinn Víkingsson. According to the B recension, Elliði was under an enchantment that allowed it to understand human speech (Frið 1901, 26), although no such magical qualities are mentioned in recension A. Larsson (Frið 1901, xviii) suggested that the account of Elliði’s magical powers in B may have been borrowed from ÞorstVík ch. 21 (FSGJ 3, 57), which stated that the ship had a fair wind whenever it wanted to sail, and could practically understand human speech (kunni hann náliga manns máli). The noun elliði occurs as a ship-heiti in skaldic poetry (Þul Skipa 4/3III, Eil Þdr 15/7III, KormǪ Lv 57/6V (Korm 78/6). Other figures in Old Norse literature to own ships named Elliði include the legendary King Górr (FSN 2, 5; Flat 1860-8, I, 22), and the Icelandic settler Ketilbjǫrn inn gamli ‘the Old’ (ÍF 1, 384). Sǫrla (Flat 1860-8, I, 277) lists Elliði (presumably Górr’s ship) as one of the three greatest longships of all time, together with Óláfr Tryggvason’s Ormr inn langi ‘the Long Serpent’ and Gnóð (see below). The etymology of Elliði is uncertain, some scholars (Falk 1912, 88) deriving it from Old Slavonic, others considering it of native origin < *einliði ‘one that travels alone’ (see Note to Þul Skipa 4/3III for further discussion and AEW: elliði). Friðþjófr is not the only fornaldarsaga hero to have a named ship; Gnóð ‘Rustling’, which gave its name to its owner, Gnóðar-Ásmundr, is mentioned in EgÁsm and GrL (see Introduction to Anon GnóðÁsm 1III for details).


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