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Runic Dictionary

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Anonymous Poems (Anon)

VII. Heilagra meyja drápa (Mey) - 60

Heilagra meyja drápa (‘Drápa about Holy Maidens’) — Anon MeyVII

Kirsten Wolf 2007, ‘(Introduction to) Anonymous, Heilagra meyja drápa’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 891-930.

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Skj: [Anonyme digte og vers XIV]: [B. 12]. Af heilogum meyjum, Heilagra meyja drápa. (AII, 526-39, BII, 582-97)

SkP info: VII, 925

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54 — Anon Mey 54VII

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Cite as: Kirsten Wolf (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Heilagra meyja drápa 54’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 925.

Tíu þúsundir tígnar meyja
tel eg greinandi riett og eina;
Ussula var fyr öllum þessum
Einglands blóm, er fór til Róma.
Vænar meyjar hjuggu Húnir;
hrottar skýfðu brúðir drottins;
dýrkuð er nú Kolnis kirkja
kraftarík af þeira líkum.

Greinandi riett, tel eg tíu þúsundir og eina tígnar meyja; Ussula, blóm Einglands, er fór til Róma, var fyr þessum öllum. Húnir hjuggu vænar meyjar; hrottar skýfðu {brúðir drottins}; kirkja Kolnis, kraftarík, er nú dýrkuð af líkum þeira.

Recording correctly, I count 11,000 [lit. ten thousand and one] maidens of distinction; Ursula, the flower of England, who went to Rome, was the leader of them all. The Huns slew the beautiful maidens; the swords slashed {the brides of the Lord} [HOLY WOMEN]; the church of Cologne, rich in miracles, is now worshipped because of their bodies.

Mss: 721(10r), 713(27)

Readings: [1] meyja: meyjar 713    [3] Ussula: ‘ursula’ 721, 713    [4] blóm: blómi 713;    er: superscript 713    [5] Húnir: ‘Hynir’ 713    [6] hrottar: so 713, ‘h[...]ottar’ 721

Editions: Skj: [Anonyme digte og vers XIV], [B. 12]. Af heilogum meyjum 54: AII, 537, BII, 595, Skald II, 330, NN §§2764, 2970B.

Notes: [All]: The story of S. Ursula and her 11,000 virgin martyr companions has some similarities to that of Sunniva. It was known in Iceland from Breta sögur (first half of C13th), a translation of Geoffrey of Monmouth’s Historia Regum Britaniae (c. 1136). There is also a brief epitome of the legend in a C14th ms. (Widding, Bekker-Nielsen and Shook 1963, 335). On the cult in Iceland, see Cormack 1994, 29, 34-5, 158. In its elaborated form, the legend of Ursula grew out of a veneration of a small number of unnamed virgins at Cologne in C4th, but, by the C12th, Ursula had become the daughter of a king of Britain. She, together with 11,000 virgins, went on a pilgrimage to Rome and, on their return journey they were murdered by the Huns at Cologne on account of their Christian faith. — [3] Ussula ‘Ursula’: The rhyme with þessum shows that there has been assimilation of rs to ss, even though the mss do not show it orthographically.

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