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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

1. 3. Þorbjǫrn hornklofi, 1. Glymdrápa, 2 [Vol. 1, 78]

[5, 8] mœtir vébrautar ‘attender of the standard-road [BATTLEFIELD > WARRIOR]’: (a) This interpretation appears less problematic than the alternatives, although the kenning is slightly unusual in that warrior-kennings with mœtir ‘meeter, attender’ as base-word normally use a word for ‘battle’ rather than ‘battlefield’ as the determinant (see Meissner 298). On the interpretation of vébraut as ‘battlefield’, see Note to st. 1/1-4. Several eds add to this kenning tanna lagar ‘of the teeth of the sea [STONES]’, but none gives a credible interpretation of the resulting vébraut tanna lagar. (b) One interpretation takes it to be a sword-kenning ‘holy path of the teeth of the sea [STONE (= whetstone) > SWORD]’ (ÓT 1892, 345; Hkr 1893-1901, IV). (c) In another view it is a kenning for ‘gold’: ‘teeth of the sea [STONES] of the standard-road [SEA > GOLD]’. Here the mœtir ‘enemy’ of ‘gold’ is interpreted as ‘generous ruler’ (Reichardt 1928, 20-1, followed by Faulkes in SnE 1998, I, 214). However, this supposed gold-kenning deviates from the rules of kenning formation in several ways (see Finnur Jónsson 1929b, 135-6). (d) Kock (NN §231) emends lagar tanna to íugtanna ‘of the bear’, combines it with mœtir, and views the resulting ‘confronter of the bear’ as a reference to a youthful adventure of Haraldr hárfagri. However, the emendation itself and the resulting interpretation are improbable. (e) ÍF 26 (followed by Hkr 1991) conjoins mœtir and Nǫkkva, referring to a Nǫkkvi who is named in HHárf (ÍF 26, 103) as a king of Naumdalr (Namdalen) who participates in a rebellion against Haraldr. However, this is highly unlikely because the supposed king is probably an extrapolation from this stanza on Snorri’s part.


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