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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

8. Anonymous Poems, Krákumál, 2 [Vol. 8, 720]

[10] rafn ‘the raven’: From the ms. readings this word could be taken in various ways. (a) As a variant spelling of hrafn ‘raven’ (cf. the ramn ‘raven’ of Anon Leið 16/2VII); so most eds, printing either rafn or hrafn. The absence of <h> before <r> (or before <l>), which occurs elsewhere (though not consistently) in Krm, is a characteristic of Old Norwegian spelling (see ANG §289; cf. Finlay 2011 65) and has contributed to the view, most notably in Storm (1878, 196-9), that the poem is not originally Icelandic; see the Introduction and cf. also Olsen (1935, 79) and de Vries (1964-7, II, 39). Assuming ‘raven’ here allows all three of the beasts of battle of Old Norse poetry – wolf, eagle, and raven – to appear in one stanza, thus giving a representative view of them early in a poem very largely concerned with battles. (b) As Rafn (variant of Hrafn), a proper name, but nothing is known of the person so named (unless it is the king named Rafn in st. 6/8, below), and no previous ed. has adopted this. (c) The  and 1824b readings might suggest Rán, the name of the sea-goddess, consort of Ægir (see LP: Rôn; SnE 1998, II, 499; SnE 2007, 13, 161), though only Valdimar Ásmundarson (Krm 1891) adopts this.


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