This interface will soon cease to be publicly available. Use the new interface instead. Click here to switch over now.

Cookies on our website

We use cookies on this website, mainly to provide a secure browsing experience but also to collect statistics on how the website is used. You can find out more about the cookies we set, the information we store and how we use it on the cookies page.

Runic Dictionary

login: password: stay logged in: help

Þjóðólfr ór Hvini (Þjóð)

9th century; volume 1; ed. Edith Marold;

III. 1. Haustlǫng (Haustl) - 20

Þjóðólfr ór Hvini, or inn hvinverski, ‘from Hvinir’ (Þjóð) was a Norwegian skald of the late ninth or early tenth century. As his nickname indicates, he was from Hvinir (Kvinesdal, Vest-Agder). His biography is largely unknown. Skáldatal names him as poet to several rulers and powerful men: Haraldr hárfagri ‘Fair-hair’ and Rǫgnvaldr heiðumhár or heiðumhæri ‘High with Honours’ (SnE 1848-87, III, 253, 261, 273), Hákon jarl Grjótgarðsson (ibid., 256, 265, 280), Þorleifr inn spaki ‘the Wise’ (ibid., 259, 268, 285), Strút-Haraldr jarl (ibid., 259, 284) and an unknown Sveinn jarl (ibid., 268). However, the associations with Hákon, Strút-Haraldr and Þorleifr are uncertain since they may have lived later in the tenth century; see Bugge (1894, 145, 175); Åkerlund (1939, 7). In Hkr, both within the Prologue (ÍF 26, 4) and in HHárf (ÍF 26, 127-8, 139), Þjóðólfr is represented as skald and friend to Haraldr hárfagri and as a dedicated foster-father to Haraldr’s son Guðrøðr ljómi ‘Beam of Light’. It is in this context that he speaks the two lausavísur associated with him (Þjóð Lv 1-2). Þjóðólfr ór Hvini is the composer of the poems Ynglingatal (Þjóð Yt) and Haustlǫng (Þjóð HaustlIII, edited in SkP III). Five stanzas of a poem dedicated to Haraldr hárfagri (Þjóð Har) are also attributed to him. Several stanzas of Haraldskvæði (Þhorn Harkv) are falsely attributed to Þjóðólfr; see Introduction to Harkv. Finally, a fragment (Þjóðólfr FragIII) edited in SkP III is likely to be the work of a different Þjóðólfr, though it is tentatively associated with Þjóð Yt in Skj; see Introduction to Yt.

Haustlǫng — Þjóð HaustlIII

Margaret Clunies Ross 2017, ‘ Þjóðólfr ór Hvini, Haustlǫng’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 431. <> (accessed 21 January 2022)

stanzas:  1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11   12   13   14   15   16   17   18   19   20 

Skj: Þjóðólfr ór Hvini, enn hvinverski: 2. Haustlǫng (AI, 16-20, BI, 14-18)

SkP info: III, 444

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

9 — Þjóð Haustl 9III

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.) 2017, ‘Þjóðólfr ór Hvini, Haustlǫng 9’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 444.

Sér bað sagna hrœri
sorgœran mey fœra,
þás ellilyf ása,
áttrunnr Hymis, kunni.
Brunnakrs of kom bekkjar
Brísings goða dísi
girðiþjófr í garða
grjót-Níðaðar síðan.

{Áttrunnr Hymis} bað {hrœri sagna}, sorgœran, fœra sér mey, þás kunni ellilyf ása. {Girðiþjófr Brísings} of kom síðan {dísi goða} í garða {grjót-Níðaðar} bekkjar Brunnakrs.

{The kinsman of Hymir <giant>} [GIANT = Þjazi] ordered {the leader of the troops} [= Loki], pain-crazed, to bring him the girl who knew the old-age medicine of the gods. {The girdle-thief of Brísingr} [= Loki] afterwards caused {the lady of the gods} [= Iðunn] to go into the courts {of the rock-Níðuðr <legendary tyrant>} [GIANT = Þjazi] to the bench of Brunnakr (‘Spring-field’).

Mss: R(25v), Tˣ(26v), W(55) (SnE)

Readings: [2] sorgœran: ‘sorg eyra’ all    [5] Brunn‑: brun Tˣ, W;    ‑akrs: akr W;    bekkjar: so all others, ‘keckiar’ R    [6] goða: so all others, goða with ð changed from g in scribal hand R    [8] Níðaðar: ‘uidadar’ Tˣ

Editions: Skj: Þjóðólfr ór Hvini, enn hvinverski, 2. Haustlǫng 9: AI, 18, BI, 16, Skald I, 10, NN §1017; SnE 1848-87, I, 312-13, III, 44-5, SnE 1931, 112, SnE 1998, I, 32.

Context: As for st. 1.

Notes: [All]: Þjazi establishes the terms upon which he will release Loki from his torment: he must bring him the goddess Iðunn, wife of Bragi, with her apples, the eating of which kept the gods young (SnE 1998, I, 1). She is mey, þás kunni ellilyf ása ‘the girl who knew the old-age medicine of the gods’ (ll. 2, 3, 4). The abduction of Iðunn with her apples was presumably the giant’s motive for waylaying the trio of gods in the first place. — [1] hrœri sagna ‘the leader of the troops [= Loki]’: Lit. ‘mover of the troops’. Sagna is probably gen. pl. of sǫgn ‘group, troop, crew’ rather than saga ‘story’ (so Faulkes, SnE 1998, II, 411), though it has been so interpreted by some (e.g. Holtsmark 1949, 12, 28-9, followed by Marold 1983, 161) as ‘the mover, i.e. initiator, of stories’, a kenning possibly alluding to Loki’s habit of lying or to his role in initiating mythic actions. The general context requires the kenning to refer to Loki; assuming this is correct, it is interesting that he, rather than Óðinn, should be described as the leader of the trio of gods; cf. the kenning segjǫndum sagna ‘the commanders of the troops’, referring to the gods as a group, in st. 2/1. — [2] sorgœran ‘pain-crazed’: All eds (following Finnur Jónsson 1884, 50) emend the mss’ ‘sorg eyra’ to this hap. leg. acc. sg. cpd comprising sorg ‘sorrow, pain’ plus œrr ‘mad, crazed’, qualifying hrœri sagna ‘the leader of the troops’ (l. 1). — [3] ellilyf ása ‘the old-age medicine of the gods’: It has often been assumed that this phrase refers to some magical apples that Iðunn guarded and was in the habit of distributing to the gods to keep them young, which is evidently what Snorri understands in Skm (cf. SnE 1998, I, 1-2), where he refers to Iðunn’s epli ‘apples’ and later states (ibid., 30) that the apples (eplin) can be called ellilyf Ásanna ‘the old-age medicine of the Æsir’, after which he cites Haustl 1-13. The cpd ellilyf (elli ‘old age’ plus lyf ‘medicine, elixir’) is a hap. leg., though its two components are not. Earlier scholars (e.g. Bugge 1889b) considered the motif of Iðunn’s old age-preventing apples was borrowed from Classical or possibly Irish sources, but this view has not been followed in later scholarship (cf. Maier 2000). — [4] áttrunnr Hymis ‘the kinsman of Hymir <giant> [GIANT = Þjazi]’: Hymir was a giant who went fishing with Þórr for the World Serpent, Miðgarðsormr (SnE 2005, 44-5 and Hym). In this kenning, Hymir functions as a representative member of the race of giants, so Þjazi can be said to belong to his family. — [5-8]: There is some uncertainty about the syntax of this helmingr and several possible groupings of phrases and kennings are possible. Marold (1983, 162-5) offers an excellent review of the possibilities. — [5] bekkjar Brunnakrs ‘to the bench of Brunnakr (“Spring-field”)’: Here understood to be a place in Jǫtunheimar, where Loki took Iðunn. Bekkjar must then be construed as a gen. of direction (cf. NS §152 and NN §1017), and Brunnakr, lit. ‘Spring-field’, an otherwise unknown place, the name suggesting fertility. Other scholars (e.g. Skj B; LP: Brunnakr) combine this phrase with dísi lit. ‘the dís’ (or ‘lady’, see Note to l. 6 below) to produce a kenning for Iðunn ‘the dís of Brunnakr’s bench’. Marold (1983, 162-4) opts for the homonym bekkr ‘brook’, and understands the kenning for Iðunn as ‘the gods’ lady of the brook of Brunnakr’, but the close similarity in meaning between bekkr ‘brook’ and brunnr ‘spring, well’ perhaps calls this interpretation into doubt, although Marold argues (on the basis of the tmesis of Iðunn’s name in st. 10/3, 4) that Þjóðólfr must have understood a connection between this goddess and water (unnr ‘wave’). — [6] dísi goða ‘the lady of the gods [= Iðunn]’: The noun dís is understood here to mean ‘lady’ rather than ‘minor female deity’ on the grounds that, as the base-word in a kenning for a goddess, it cannot in itself refer to a supernatural female (in LP: dís and Skj B, however, the word is understood in the latter sense). — [6, 7] girðiþjófr Brísings ‘the girdle-thief of Brísingr [= Loki]’: Loki is here said to be the thief of a certain Brísingr’s girdle. In other contexts, e.g. Þry 13/6, 15/8; Gylf (SnE 2005, 29); Skm (SnE 1998, I, 19, 20, 30); Sǫrla þáttr in Flat (Flat 1860-8, I, 275-6), the pers. n. is pl. Brísinga[r] and the object is referred to as a men ‘necklace, neck-ring’. Brísingr or the Brísingar are otherwise unknown but cf. Brōsinga mene (Beowulf l. 1199) and Note in Beowulf 2008, 193-4. This precious object is said to have been the possession of the goddess Freyja. Sǫrla describes how it was made for Freyja by some dwarfs and stolen from her while she was asleep by Loki in the form of a fly. Some eds (e.g. Skj B) amplify this kenning by adding goða (l. 6), viz. girðiþjófr goða Brísings ‘the girdle-thief of the gods of Brísingr’, but this introduces even greater uncertainty; who are Brísingr’s gods? In this edn, goða is construed with dísi ‘the lady of the gods’ as a kenning for Iðunn. — [8] grjót-Níðaðar ‘of the rock-Níðuðr <legendary tyrant> [GIANT = Þjazi]’: Níðuðr was the name of a legendary king and notorious tyrant, who was involved in the legend of Vǫlundr the smith (as told in Vǫl), capturing the smith and forcing him to create precious objects for his exclusive use. A ‘Níðuðr of rocks’ is a giant.

© 2008-