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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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GunnLeif Merl II 36VIII (Bret 36) l. 9

hernumin — taken in battle


hræfíkinn (adj./verb p.p.)



[9] hernumin ‘taken in battle’: Ms. hernumin (refreshed) ‘taken in battle’ raises the difficulty that ‘the children of the eagle and the wolf’ are otherwise presented in the stanza as benefiting from the battle (by drinking blood), not actively fighting in it or suffering as a result of it, activities that would hardly constitute an expected element in the ‘beasts-of-battle’ type scene widely used in skaldic poetry. In the absence of a Latin analogue at this point a secure emendation has not so far been suggested. Scheving proposed hræmunin, explained as ‘eager for corpses’ (reported but not adopted in Bret 1848-9). Skj B emends to hræfíkin ‘corpse-greedy’, which is suitable in terms of both metre and sense. Kock suggests hrapa á hræ numin, translated as störta sig över de gripna liken ‘collapse over the captured bodies’ (NN §2163E; Skald; followed by Merl 2012), but this fails for metrical reasons.



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