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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, 5 [Vol. 3, 281]

[4] Þórr sitr í reiðu ‘Þórr <god> sits in his chariot’: The chariot pulled by billygoats is, along with the hammer Mjǫllnir, one of the characteristic attributes of the god of thunder, but one not often mentioned in skaldic poetry. In Þjóð Haustl 15, Þórr’s journey to the giant Hrungnir is portrayed impressively as a thunderstorm. In Þórsdrápa, Þórr is referred to as the god of the chariot (Eil Þdr 20/6). There may have been a monument honouring Þórr in the jarls’ sanctuary in Trondheim that depicted him seated in a chariot (see Marold 1990a, 114-15). It is conspicuous that, unlike the other hjástælt stanzas, this one uses the pres. tense sitr ‘he sits’, and one might see this as an allusion to Þórr as the god honoured in the temple. The other hjástælt stanzas refer to mythical events that occurred in the past. If the ‘famous son of Sigrøðr’ in the present stanza is indeed Hákon jarl, there is an additional connection between this stál and the ruler: he is the only magnate who is referred to by a kenning for ‘man’ using Þórr, or rather his nickname Hlóriði (Eskál Vell 14/7-8I), as a base-word.


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