This interface will soon cease to be publicly available. Use the new interface instead. Click here to switch over now.

Cookies on our website

We use cookies on this website, mainly to provide a secure browsing experience but also to collect statistics on how the website is used. You can find out more about the cookies we set, the information we store and how we use it on the cookies page.

Data from Samnordisk runtextdatabas

login: password: stay logged in: help

Gamli gnævaðarskáld (Ggnæv)

10th century; volume 3; ed. Margaret Clunies Ross;

1. Poem about Þórr (Þórr) - 1

Only two helmingar composed by Gamli gnævaðarskáld (Ggnæv) are known, both recorded in mss of SnE (SnE 1998, I, 16, 103). Nothing is known of Gamli’s origin or dates, though the pagan subject-matter of Ggnæv Þórr has suggested a date in the tenth century (Skj; SnE 1998, I, 222). Previous editors have assumed he was an Icelander, though there is no proof of this. The nickname gnævaðarskáld is recorded in SnE (SnE 1998, I, 103), though its meaning is uncertain. It may derive from the verb gnæfa ‘to tower high’. Faulkes (SnE 1998, II, 460) speculates that the name may indicate that Gamli composed about someone with the nickname Gnævaðr ‘raised high, towering’; Lind (1920-1, cols. 113-14). It is assumed, though without certainty, that the Gamli credited with the Poem about Þórr (Ggnæv Þórr) is the same as the Gamli gnævaðarskáld credited with the Fragment, though only in the latter case is the nickname mentioned in the mss.

Poem about Þórr — Ggnæv ÞórrIII

Margaret Clunies Ross 2017, ‘(Introduction to) Gamli gnævaðarskáld, Poem about Þórr’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 189.

stanzas:  1 

Skj: Gamli gnævaðarskáld: 1. Af et digt om Tor (AI, 140, BI, 132); stanzas (if different): [v]

SkP info: III, 189

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

1 — Ggnæv Þórr 1III

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.) 2017, ‘Gamli gnævaðarskáld, Poem about Þórr 1’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 189.

Meðan gramr, hinns svik samðit,
snart Bilskirnis, hjarta,
grundar fisk með grandi
gljúfrskeljungs nam rjúfa.


While {the ruler of Bilskirnir}, [= Þórr] the one who did not plan treachery in his heart, quickly smashed {the fish of the sea-bed} [= Miðgarðsormr] with {the destruction {of the gully-whale}}. [GIANT > = Mjǫllnir]

context: The citation comes among a number of others exemplifying kennings for the god Þórr. It is introduced with the words: Svá kvað Gamli ‘So said Gamli’.

notes: The helmingr seems to be the second part of a stanza, introduced in R, and W by the conj. meðan ‘while’. Ms. U has the introductory þás (þá er) ‘when’, which has been preferred by Skj B and Skald. Gamli describes Þórr’s smashing the World Serpent, Miðgarðsormr, with his hammer, Mjǫllnir, when they fought in the ocean.

texts: Skm 49, SnE 51

editions: Skj Gamli gnævaðarskáld: 1. Af et digt om Tor (AI, 140; BI, 132); Skald I, 73, NN §1893; SnE 1848-87, I, 256-7, II, 309, III 16-17, SnE 1931, 95-6, SnE 1998, I, 16.


GKS 2367 4° (R) 22r, 4 - 22r, 6 (SnE)  transcr.  image  image  image  
Traj 1374x (Tx) 22r, 27 - 22r, 28 (SnE)  transcr.  image  
AM 242 fol (W) 47, 15 - 47, 16 (SnE)  transcr.  image  image  image  
DG 11 (U) 27v, 15 - 27v, 17 (SnE)  transcr.  image  
AM 761 b 4°x (761bx) 108r - 108r  image  
Runic data from Samnordisk runtextdatabas, Uppsala universitet, unless otherwise stated