Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

2. Haraldr harðráði Sigurðarson, 2. Lausavísur, 11 [Vol. 2, 52-3]

[1] hrauðung ‘empty fleet’: The translation is conjectural. Finnur Jónsson (Skj B) translates af hrauðung as skyndsomt ‘in haste’ or (LP: hrauðung) as skynding ‘haste’. Kock connects the word with OE hrēodan ‘adorn, cover’ and translates it as ‘boat house’ (NN §847B). Hrauðung must be derived from hrjóða (strong verb class 2) whose most common meaning is ‘empty, clear out’. LP: hrauðung adds: ordet betyder vel egl. ‘rydning’ ‘the literal meaning of the word is most likely “clearing”’. The phrase hrjóða skip ‘clear a ship by killing or driving away the crew’ is especially common in both prose and poetry (see Fritzner: hrjóða 1; LP: hrjóða 1). Because three of the six sts recited in this episode describe Haraldr’s recent campaigns in Denmark in the first helmingar, it is reasonable to assume that this half-st. also refers to his naval battles against the Danes (see, e.g., ÞjóðA Sex 17; see also Jesch 2001a, 211 and n. 33). Hrauðungr is otherwise recorded as the name of a sea-king, a giant, and a legendary person (LP: Hrauðungr), and hrauð is a heiti for a coat of mail and a ship (SnE 1998, I, 123, 128, II, 317).


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