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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

3. Snorri Sturluson, Háttatal, 83 [Vol. 3, 1194]

[3] of hástalla hlunns ‘in the tall foundations of the roller’: This phrase clearly refers to structures in or on which a beached ship rested during the winter. Hlunnr was one of the launching rollers on which a ship was pulled up from the water or launched (cf. Falk 1912, 29-30), but the meaning of hástallar is not immediately clear. The first element is the adj. hár ‘high, tall’ and the second is stallr m. which can have several meanings (Fritzner: stallr 1, 4, 5): ‘stand, structure, foundation, altar’; ‘crib, manger’; ‘stable’. Finnur Jónsson (LP: hôstallr) suggests that hástallr hlunns refers to det af rullestokkene dannede höje underlag (hvorpå skibet står om vinteren) ‘the tall foundation made of launching rollers (on which the ship rests during the winter)’. In a similar vein, Faulkes (SnE 2007, 114) proposes ‘high stand … high slipway-stand, or high supporting structure (for a beached ship)’. The latter interpretation would also fit if stallr here meant ‘crib, manger’. Alternatively, if stallr is taken in the sense ‘stable’, hástalla hlunns ‘the tall stables of the roller’ could be an unconventional kenning for ‘boathouse’ (ON naust; see LP: naust and Falk 1912, 27). According to Hák, king Hákon celebrated his coronation in 1247 in a boathouse he had built by the harbour in Bergen, because that was the largest house in his possession (90 ells long and 60 ells broad; see E 1916, 620).


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