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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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FriðÞ Lv 32VIII (Frið 38) l. 4

undir — beneath

lemma:

undir (prep.): under

readings:

notes:

[4] undir hausi Ymis ‘beneath the skull of Ymir <giant> [SKY/HEAVEN]’: Most eds (Edd. Min.; Skj B; Skald; Frið 1914) have favoured this reading which is present in Holm10 VI (‘hosi’) and 27ˣ (‘hause’). This kenning alludes to the Old Norse myth of how Óðinn and his brothers Vili and Vé fashion the sky out of the skull of the primaeval giant Ymir, whom they had killed (Gylf, SnE 2005, 12). The sky-kenning hauss Ymis occurs also in Arn Magndr 19/4II, but not elsewhere in Old Norse poetry. Its use here may be a conscious archaism; most of the other mss support the notion of a sky-kenning, but avoid the mythological allusion. Ms. 510 has skauti Vendils ‘the corner [district] of Vendill’, presumably referring to the Swedish district of Vendel, north of Uppsala (on Vendill, see Þjóð Yt 15/8I, Note to [All]). The reference to Vendel seems misplaced here and may indicate scribal misunderstanding. The B redaction mss have a lectio facilior, undir skauti heims ‘beneath the corner of the world’ [SKY], which has been adopted in Frið 1901. The use of the word skaut here relates to its meaning in the cpd himinskaut (often pl.) ‘corner, surface of the heavens, sky’, which depends on the idea that the sky is a kind of cloth held taut at its four corners by four dwarfs, representing each of the four cardinal directions (cf. SnE 2005, 12).

kennings:

grammar:

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