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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

3. Eilífr Goðrúnarson, 1. Þórsdrápa, 11 [Vol. 3, 99]

[5-6] arfi Eiðsfjarðar ‘the heir of Eidsfjorden [= Hákon jarl?]’: All previous attempts to interpret ll. 5-6 are unsatisfactory. The present interpretation, which is also tentative, avoids emendation. The text itself is not difficult to translate: ‘the heir of Eidsfjorden got even more battle-daring courage’. The difficulty lies in identifying who ‘the heir of Eidsfjorden’ might be. In Norway there are several fjords of this name; the arm of Nordfjord, on the border between Sunnmøre and Sogn og Fjordane, could be the one meant here. It is thought to have formed the old border between the two districts (fylki). North of Nordfjord is Stadlandet (ON Staðr), the southern edge of Hákon jarl’s territory (cf. ÓTHkr ch. 17, ÍF 26, 244). If Eidsfjorden did form part of this border, it would justify ‘heir (i.e. ‘owner’) of Eidsfjorden’ as a reference to Hákon jarl (Marold 1990a, 125). Earlier eds have resorted to more or less substantial emendations in their attempts to interpret the kenning: Eiðs firðar hlaut (= hlutu) … ‘the oath-brothers had …’ (Sveinbjörn Egilsson 1851, 8, 15); Atli hlaut … eirfjarðan hug ‘Atli (one of Þórr’s names) had a merciless mind’ (Finnur Jónsson 1900b, 389; Skj B); arfi eirs fjarðar ‘the heir of the ore of the fjord [GOLD > = Loki]’ (NN §455), referring to Loki, who wins the golden treasure from the pike Andvari (Reg 3-4); arfi eirs fjarðar ‘the heir of the fjord of the ore [EARTH = Jǫrð > = Þórr]’ (de Vries 1933, 60-1); arfi eiðs fjarðar ‘the heir of the isthmus of the fjord [EARTH = Jǫrð > = Þórr]’ (Kiil 1956, 131).


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