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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Ǫrvar-Oddr (ǪrvOdd)

volume 8; ed. Margaret Clunies Ross;

Ævidrápa (Ævdr) - 71

not in Skj

Ævidrápa — ǪrvOdd ÆvdrVIII (Ǫrv)

Not published: do not cite (ǪrvOdd ÆvdrVIII (Ǫrv))

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Skj: Anonyme digte og vers [XIII]: E. 10. Vers af Fornaldarsagaer: Af Ǫrvar-Oddsaga IX (AII, 306-19, BII, 324-39)

SkP info: VIII, 938

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

62 — ǪrvOdd Ævdr 62VIII (Ǫrv 132)

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.) 2017, ‘Ǫrvar-Odds saga 132 (Ǫrvar-Oddr, Ævidrápa 62)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 938.

Fleiri hefir mína         fóstbræðr drepit,
Garðar ok Sírni;         gekk skegg af flagði.
Var hann engum líkr         at yfirliti,
ok kallaðr síðan         Kvillánus blesi.

Hefir drepit fleiri fóstbræðr mína, Garðar ok Sírni; skegg gekk af flagði. Hann var engum líkr at yfirliti, ok kallaðr síðan Kvillánus blesi.

He has killed more of my foster-brothers, Garðarr and Sírnir; the beard left the ogre. He was like no one in appearance, and was afterwards called Kvillánus blesi (‘Blaze’).

Mss: 343a(81r-v), 471(95v), 173ˣ(64va) (Ǫrv)

Readings: [1] Fleiri: so 471, 173ˣ, ok fleiri 343a;    hefir: so 471, 173ˣ, hafi 343a    [3] Garðar ok Sírni: so 471, Sírni ok Garðar 343a, 173ˣ    [4] gekk skegg af flagði: gekk skeggi af 173ˣ    [5] Var hann engum líkr: so 471, var hann þá at engum líkr 343a, var hann þá flagði engum líkr 173ˣ

Editions: Skj: Anonyme digte og vers [XIII], E. 10. Vers af Fornaldarsagaer: Af Ǫrvar-Oddssaga IX 62: AII, 317, BII, 336-7, Skald II, 180-1, NN §2610; Ǫrv 1888, 207, FSGJ 2, 359.

Notes: [3] Garðar ok Sírni ‘Garðarr and Sírnir’: As Kock points out (NN §2610), ms. 471 has the better order of these two names, as alliteration in ll. 3-4 falls on <g>. In the younger mss, these two men are introduced to Oddr by a Þórr-doppelgänger named Rauð-Grani ‘Red-Grani’ as his foster-brothers (Ǫrv 1888, 125-6), and they assist Oddr in dealing with Ǫgmundr Eyþjófsbani, but are ultimately killed by him. Sírnir is also mentioned in ǪgmEyb Lv 3/3 (Ǫrv 33). — [4] skegg gekk af flagði ‘the beard left the ogre’: This clause alludes to one of Oddr’s encounters with Ǫgmundr, following the death of Vignir, in which Oddr comes near to killing Ǫgmundr, who, however, manages to get away by being swallowed up by the earth. An earlier stage in this episode is also the subject of ǪgmEyb Lv 1-3 (Ǫrv 31-3). At a particularly desperate point in a hand-to-hand encounter between Oddr and Ǫgmundr, Oddr cuts off his rival’s buttocks (ON klámhǫgg ‘shame-stroke’, a shaming act symbolising castration; cf. Meulengracht Sørensen 1983, 68-70) and then gets hold of his beard with both hands, jerking it so hard that the whole beard and the face beneath it right up to the forehead are ripped off (cf. Ǫrv 1888, 136). Although Oddr can never kill Ǫgmundr outright, according to the saga, these two acts of cutting off his buttocks and removing his beard and face are to be interpreted as a symbolic castration and forced submission; see Ǫrv 32, Note to [All]. — [8] Kvillánus blesi ‘Kvillánus blesi (“Blaze”)’: Lines 7-8 allude to the last encounter between Oddr and Ǫgmundr Eyþjófsbani, which takes place, according to the younger mss, after Oddr has returned from Bjálkaland and married King Herrauðr’s daughter Silkisif (Ǫrv 1888, 186-90). A mysterious masked king named Kvillánus has appeared in Novgorod (Hólmgarðr), whose origin nobody knows. He has mustered an enormous army and Oddr decides to challenge him to a tournament. When they meet, Kvillánus unmasks himself and Oddr recognises him as Ǫgmundr. His face had healed but Ǫgmundr had lost all hair on it, signifying how he had lost personal power. The nickname Ǫgmundr/Kvillánus is said to have acquired, blesi ‘Blaze’, indicates his hairless status, and contrasts with the nickname he used to have, flóki ‘Matted Hair’, which referred to a tuft of black hair that hung down right over his face so nothing could be seen of it except the teeth and eyes (Ǫrv 1888, 126). The cognomen blesi is attested in Ldn (see ONP: blesi). The name Kvillánus is otherwise unattested, but may possibly be connected with the noun kvilla ‘sickness’ that appears in Anon Run 3/1VI and in Anon RunIVI.

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