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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

7. Anonymous Poems, Sólarljóð, 78 [Vol. 7, 352-3]

[3] synir Sólkötlu ‘the sons of Sólkatla’: The woman’s name is otherwise unknown. It is etymologically transparent, from sól ‘sun’ + f. form of ketill ‘cauldron, container’. For Falk (1914a, 53), as also for Amory (1985, 12); 1990, 261-2, Sólkatla is the mulier amictae sole ‘woman clothed with the sun’ of Rev. XII.1, the Virgin Mary, the Church and the New Jerusalem at once. Her sons are the citizens of the New Jerusalem, the righteous. Björn M. Ólsen (1915, 62) contends that the sons of Sólkatla are the father’s companions in heaven, and that their mother is a virtuous dead woman; there may be some connections with Sólblinda synir ‘the sons of Sun-Blind’ in Fj 10. Brennecke 1985 comments extensively on this st.; he notes Paasche’s reference to the epithet vas gratiae ‘the vessel of grace’ for the Virgin Mary in Finnur Jónsson et al. (1916, 174) and compares a number of similar epithets in later German religious verse. The sons of Sólkatla would thus be the Apostles, since Christ designated the Apostle John as Mary’s son in John XIX.26. Njörður Njarðvík (1991, 103) more simply suggests that sólkatla may be a heiti for heaven; the sons of heaven are then the righteous.


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