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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

2. Þjóðólfr Arnórsson, 1. Magnússflokkr, 18 [Vol. 2, 85-6]

[5] réð hrjóða ‘painted [lit. did paint]’: There is good ms. support for both hrjóða and the variant rjóða ‘redden’ (cf. the hrauð/rauð alternation in ÞjóðA Magn 1/1), but the metre favours hrjóða, which, as the cadence of a Type C l., must alliterate, and must alliterate with h- (i.e. with her- and hneitis). That rjóða is a secondary reading is also confirmed by the fact that it is the lectio facilior, since reddening a sword is such a stock item in battle descriptions. Hrjóða evidently cannot have its normal meaning of ‘clear’ here, but perhaps something akin to ‘decorate, paint’, a sense which could be influenced by rjóða but is also ancient, on the evidence of hroðit sigli, probably ‘adorned brooch’ (Sigsk 49, NK 215), and the OE p. p. hroden applied to precious objects and found in compounds such as goldhroden ‘adorned with gold’, applied to royal brides in Beowulf (ll. 614, 640, 1948, 2025). This would imply a verb *hrēodan, cognate with hrjóða. In the light of the OE compounds, it is possible that gollroðinn ‘gold-reddened’ should be read as gollhroðinn ‘gold-adorned’ in Akv 4 and perhaps Anon Krm 21VIII (LP).


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