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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Ǫrvar-Oddr (ǪrvOdd)

volume 8; ed. Margaret Clunies Ross;

Lausavísur (Lv) - 32

not in Skj

Lausavísur — ǪrvOdd LvVIII

Not published: do not cite (ǪrvOdd LvVIII)

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SkP info: VIII, 875

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

26 — ǪrvOdd Lv 26VIII (Ǫrv 60)

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.) 2017, ‘Ǫrvar-Odds saga 60 (Ǫrvar-Oddr, Lausavísur 26)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 875.

Oddr brendi hof         ok hörga braut
ok trégoðum         týndi þínum.
Gerðu þau ekki         góðs í heimi,
er þau ór eldi         ösla né máttu.

Oddr brendi hof ok braut hörga ok týndi trégoðum þínum. Þau gerðu ekki góðs í heimi, er þau né máttu ösla ór eldi.

Oddr burned the temples and broke up the sanctuaries and destroyed your wooden gods. They did nothing good in the world, since they could not escape from the fire.

Mss: 7(56r), 344a(23v), 343a(78v), 471(91r), 173ˣ(57r) (Ǫrv)

Readings: [1] brendi: brennir 344a    [5] ekki: eigi 343a, 173ˣ    [6] góðs: gott 344a, 471, 173ˣ    [7] er þau ór eldi: er eigi orði 344a    [8] ösla máttu: ösla máttu 344a, ösla eigi máttu 471, ei ösla mega 173ˣ

Editions: Skj: Anonyme digte og vers [XIII], E. 10. Vers af Fornaldarsagaer: Af Ǫrvar-Oddssaga VIII 2: AII, 303, BII, 322, Skald II, 172; Ǫrv 1888, 181-3, Ǫrv 1892, 91, FSGJ 2, 328; Edd. Min. 74.

Context: See Introduction to stanzas 59-70.

Notes: [All]: Oddr’s reply to his interlocutor justifies his action of burning the cult houses of Álfr and Gyðja in terms familiar to Christian apologetic for the destruction of places of pagan worship, in that they did no good in the world and were powerless to save themselves from the fire because they were just pieces of wood. Earlier in the saga (Ǫrv 1888, 9), Oddr has been represented as a ‘noble pagan’ (cf. Lönnroth 1969) who has a natural understanding of Christian beliefs and morals. While in Southern Europe, he accepted preliminary baptism as a Christian (cf. Ǫrv 37 and 123 and Notes). The terms hof ‘temple’ (l. 1) and hörgr ‘sanctuary’ (l. 2) are used exclusively in skaldic poetry to refer to places of pagan cult; cf. Anon Pl 59/2VII, Hfr Óldr 1/2I and Mark Eirdr 17/1II. — [1-2]: Line 1 is unmetrical, the alliteration falling in metrical position 4 in a D4/E-line. A change of word order to Hof brendi Oddr would restore a metrical line, but the first position emphasis of the p. n. Oddr would then be lost. — [3] trégoðum ‘wooden gods’: Cf. ǪrvOdd Ævdr 68/3 (Ǫrv 138), where the same cpd is used. The cpd is otherwise a hap. leg. but refers to carved wooden figures of pagan gods such as are mentioned in a number of early sources. The tone of this stanza is particularly reminiscent of the early C14th narrative of the fugitive Gunnarr helmingr ‘Half’ who hides with a priestess of Freyr in Sweden and pretends to be the god himself. In this narrative stress is laid on the fact that the idol in the temple is just a piece of wood (tréstokkr) which splits open to reveal the devil (sá fjándi) that has taken up residence inside; (see Ǫgm, ÍF 9, 111-15). — [5-6] ekki góðs ‘nothing good’: Lit. ‘nothing of good’. The alternative reading gott ‘good’ n. acc. sg. is also possible. — [8] ösla ‘escape’: Lit. ‘wade, splash’. Seemingly a curious choice to use of escaping from fire, but all mss have this verb.

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