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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

3. Kormákr Ǫgmundarson (biog. vol. 5), 1. Sigurðardrápa, 3 [Vol. 3, 277]

[4] Yggr seið til Rindar ‘Yggr <= Óðinn> obtained Rindr <giantess> through sorcery’: The abutted clause alludes to a myth told by Saxo Grammaticus (Saxo 2005, I, 3, 4, 1-8, pp. 204-9) about a child who was conceived to be the avenger of Balderus (ON Baldr). Othinus (ON Óðinn), having been rejected repeatedly by Rinda (ON Rindr), resorts to magic to achieve his aims. Seiðr is a type of magic which appears to have been a particular, possibly despised form of sorcery that could influence the psyche of the victim and attempt to take it over (cf. Yng ch. 7, ÍF 26, 19; on seiðr cf. ARG I, 330-3). One could link the stál to the content of the rest of the stanza by regarding seið as a form of possession, i.e. Óðinn practices sorcery to conquer and possess Rindr. This has direct ties to the mythological model for claiming and owning land, namely, that of land ownership as an erotic relationship between land and ruler, which is a topos intimately connected with Hákon jarl (see Ström 1983) and used extensively in Hfr Hákdr. The conquering of Rindr by Óðinn, then, becomes a mythological model of land ownership reflected in the ruler-kenning jarðhljótr ‘land-recipient’. On Rindr, see Note to Þul Ásynja 2/2.


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