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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

2. Anonymous Lausavísur, 5. Lausavísur from Magnúss saga berfœtts, 6 [Vol. 2, 833-4]

[5, 8] mjór* sjautøgr vǫndr (m. nom. sg.) ‘the slender seventy-measure mast’: (a) For this interpretation, see Foote 1978, 65. (b) Sveinbjörn Egilsson (LP 1860: sjötögr) believed that this designated the number of masts in the fleet. However, as Foote (1978, 65) points out, the sg. sjautøgr vǫndr is not ‘seven decades of masts’ but ‘a mast of seven decades’. (c) Skj B and Skald take vǫndr to mean ‘oar’ (‘seventy slender oars’ lit. ‘a slender oar in the measure of seventy’), but vǫndr means ‘mast’ and is not attested in the meaning ‘oar’; see Falk 1912, 56. Furthermore, the st. describes Magnús’s sailing in strong winds, which is incompatible with the ship being propelled by seventy slender oars.


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