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Runic Dictionary

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Þjóðólfr ór Hvini (Þjóð)

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

1. Ynglingatal (Yt) - 37

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.

Ynglingatal — Þjóð YtI

Edith Marold with the assistance of Vivian Busch, Jana Krüger, Ann-Dörte Kyas and Katharina Seidel, translated from German by John Foulks 2012, ‘(Introduction to) Þjóðólfr ór Hvini, Ynglingatal’ in Diana Whaley (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 1: From Mythical Times to c. 1035. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 1. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 3.

stanzas:  1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11   12   13   14   15   16   17   18   19   20   21   22   23   24   25   26   27 

for reference only:  8x   11x   13x   14x   15x   16x   17x   20x   25x   26x 

Skj: Þjóðólfr ór Hvini, enn hvinverski: 1. Ynglingatal (AI, 7-15, BI, 7-14); stanzas (if different): 9 | 10 | 11 | 12-13 | 13 | 14 | 15-16 | 16 | 17-18 | 18 | 19-20 | 20 | 21-22 | 22 | 23-24 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27-28 | 28 | 29 | 30 | 31 | 32 | 33-34 | 34 | 35-36 | 36 | 37 | 38(?)

SkP info: I, 12

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

3 — Þjóð Yt 3I

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Edith Marold (ed.) 2012, ‘Þjóðólfr ór Hvini, Ynglingatal 3’ in Diana Whaley (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 1: From Mythical Times to c. 1035. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 1. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 12.

Enn á vit
Vilja bróður
vitta véttr
Vanlanda kom,
þás trollkund
of troða skyldi
líðs Grímhildr
ljóna bága.
Ok sá brann
á beði Skútu
es mara kvalði.

Enn {véttr vitta} kom Vanlanda á vit {bróður Vilja}, þás {trollkund Grímhildr líðs} skyldi of troða {bága ljóna}. Ok {sá menglǫtuðr}, es mara kvalði, brann á beði Skútu.

And {the creature of charms} [SORCERESS] got Vanlandi to visit {the brother of Vili <god>} [= Óðinn] when {the troll-descended Grímhildr of strong drink} [WOMAN] had to trample {the fighter of men} [KING]. And {that ring-destroyer} [GENEROUS MAN] whom the mara tormented burned on the bank of the Skúta.

Mss: (17r), papp18ˣ(5r), 521ˣ(15), F(3rb), J2ˣ(8v), R685ˣ(10v) (Hkr); 761aˣ(55v)

Readings: [3] vitta: vitja F;    véttr: vætr F    [5] þás: þá Kˣ, papp18ˣ, 521ˣ, F, 761aˣ, ok J2ˣ, R685ˣ    [6] troða: ‘trodo’ F    [7] Grímhildr: ‘grimilldr’ F    [8] bága: baka J2ˣ, R685ˣ    [10] beði: bǫði J2ˣ, R685ˣ

Editions: Skj: Þjóðólfr ór Hvini, enn hvinverski, 1. Ynglingatal 3: AI, 7-8, BI, 7, Skald I, 4, NN §1009; Hkr 1893-1901, I, 28, IV, 5-6, ÍF 26, 29, Hkr 1991, I, 16-17 (Yng ch. 13), F 1871, 10; Yng 1912, 21, 57-8, Yng 2000, 17; Yt 1914, 2, Yt 1925, 198, 217‑19.

Context: King Vanlandi, son of Sveigðir, stays the winter in Finnland (the land of the Saami) with the prince Snjár inn gamli (whose name means ‘Snow the Old’) and marries his daughter Drífa (‘Snow-storm’). When after ten years he does not come back to her as promised, Drífa commissions a sorceress to perform a spell which will either bring him back or kill him. As Vanlandi’s men do not let him return to Finnland, he is killed by a mara as he sleeps.

Notes: [3] véttr vitta ‘the creature of charms [SORCERESS]’: Véttr can refer in general to ‘a human, a thing’ as well as to a ‘superhuman being’ (Fritzner: vættr 1-3). The sorceress-kenning is based on the kenning pattern that refers to humans or mythical beings by a characteristic object or possession. — [4] Vanlanda ‘Vanlandi’: This is one of the legendary kings of the Yngling lineage. (a) His name could be explained as having originally been a nickname (Neckel 1908a, 395) translatable as ‘the Landless’, cf. stillir lýða, landa vanr ‘the controller of men, lacking lands’ in Bragi Rdr 10/1-2III, which would indicate a landless viking king (Turville-Petre 1978-9, 64). One would expect *land(a)vani, but this problem is resolved if the name is viewed as a bahuvrihi cpd (cf. Note to st. 18/5) with an individualizing Gmc ‑an suffix giving ON ‑i (on this see Krahe and Meid 1969, 31-4). (b) Noreen (1892, 216) connected the first element of the name with the Vanir (gods), translating Vanlandi as ‘countryman of the Vanir’ (likewise Wadstein 1895a, 64; Finnur Jónsson 1909a, 385). — [5, 7] trollkund Grímhildr líðs ‘the troll-descended Grímhildr of strong drink [WOMAN]’: Grímhildr can be interpreted (a) as an appellative or (b) as a proper name, either of a legendary heroine or of a sorceress. (a) Because Grímhildr is written with lower case <g> in and Fˣ but only in J2ˣ with a capital letter, it has been explained by some scholars as a cpd of two nouns: grím- translated as ‘night’ (cf. LP: gríma 4) and ‑hildr as ‘valkyrie’ (cf. LP: hildr 2). Within this general approach there have been various specific theories. (i) In light of the prose context of Hkr, which links Vanlandi’s death to a mara (a mythical being, cf. Note to l. 12), several sources (Falk 1889c, 264; Hkr 1893-1901, IV; Yng 1912; LP: grím-Hildr; Hkr 1991) assume the cpd to be a kenning ‘hostile creature of the night [NIGHTMARE]’. However, the cpd is not plausible as a kenning since it appears to be a unique coinage, rather than conforming to known semantic-structural patterns. Further, kennings with a base-word meaning ‘hostile creature’ always denote something hostile to the accompanying gen., e.g. a ‘dog (or wolf) of the trees [FIRE]’ damages the trees and a ‘house-enemy [FIRE]’ damages the house. (ii) The primary meaning of gríma, a kind of cowl, helmet or head-covering, inspired a further interpretation of grímhildr as a woman-kenning ‘Hildr of the hood’ (Yt 1925). However, the expected compounding form would be not grím- but grímu-, as in grímumaðr ‘a hooded man’ or grímueiðr ‘an oath against a grímumaðr’ (Fritzner: grímueiðr, grímumaðr). (b) Grímhildr is therefore interpreted in this edn as a proper name linked to the word líðs, with a long vowel, which is n. gen. sg. ‘of strong drink’. The result is a normal woman-kenning of the type ‘heroine/troll-woman of strong drink’. The name Grímhildr could refer to a figure from the Nibelung legend (Marold 1983, 116-17). — [6] troða ‘trample’: The word can be taken either in the literal sense ‘trample to death’ or in the metaphorical sense ‘overpower’, cf. st. 20/1, 2-3, 5-8, Egill Hfl 10/7-8V (Eg 43). — [10] á beði Skútu ‘on the bank of the Skúta’: The river Skúta probably refers to Skutån in Skuttunge, Uppland (Yt 1925). According to Vikstrand (2004, 376-7), who refers to the current p. n. Skottbro originally noted by Lindqvist (1936, 316-17), it might also be an old river name from Vendel, Uppland. — [12] mara ‘the mara’: ON mara corresponds to a word shared by all Gmc languages: OHG mara, OE mæra/mære, OFris. (nacht)merie, ModGer. Mahre, ModEngl. (night)mare, ModDan. mare, ModSwed. mara, Faroese marra. It is also known in ModFr. cauchemar. A mara is a mythical being, sometimes called an elf, which causes nightmares such that the sleeper believes an animal or human creature, commonly a woman, to be sitting on his breast, crushing him to the point of suffocation. The notion exists worldwide and was known in antiquity as an incubus or a succubus (cf. ‘Mahr, Alp’, HDA, 5, 1508-11; Röhrich 1999; Lecouteux 1987).

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