Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

7. Anonymous Poems, Sólarljóð, 79 [Vol. 7, 354]

[3] níu dætr Njarðar ‘Njǫrðr’s nine daughters’: The only daughter of the sea-god Njǫrðr known by name from ON myth is Freyja. Ægir, a sea-deity like Njǫrðr, is however said to have nine daughters in SnE (1998, I, 36); these are normally regarded as personifications of the waves. It is likely that Ægir and Njǫrðr have been assimilated to one another here. Björn M. Ólsen (1915, 62-3) and Njörður Njarðvík (1991, 105) suggest the daughters are the Deadly Sins, usually thought of as seven in number, but given as nine both in the Alexandreis X, ll. 32-57 (Colker 1978, 254-5) and in Alex (Unger 1848, 152-3). This fits the pagan associations of the number nine elsewhere in the poem. Falk (1914a, 52-3) and Björn M. Ólsen (1915, 61-2) assume that the daughters of Njǫrðr have carved runes on the horn of salvation; Njörður Njarðvík (1991, 105) objects to such pagan lettering on a Christian symbol, while Tate (1985, 1032-3) thinks that the runes of this st. are not carved on the hart’s horn (which would surely carry a Christian message in himna skript ‘heavenly script’), but must be some other runes.


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