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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

8. Hervarar saga ok Heiðreks 73 (Gestumblindi, Heiðreks gátur, 26) — Gestumblindi [Vol. 8, 440]

[2] ‘flocks’: The animal imagery suggests that ‘flocks’ is the surface meaning, but plays also on the meaning ‘money, property’, suggesting that the game could be played for monetary stakes. This meaning is brought to the fore by the solution in the U redaction, which includes (Heiðr 1924, 135): hunrænir margann fie, þann er fie legur vid tafl ‘the húnn … plunders money from many a one who lays down money on tafl’. A clause in Grágás (K §233) forbids the playing of board games for money or other property.


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