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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

3. 1. Þjóðólfr ór Hvini (biog. vol. 1), 1. Haustlǫng, 10 [Vol. 3, 446]

[1-2] byggvendr bjartra borða ‘the inhabitants of the bright hillsides [GIANTS]’: Skj B, LP: borð 5 and Skald emend the mss’ borða to barða, gen. pl. of barð ‘beard, prow of a ship, edge, slope of a hill’ to make sense of a kenning which must, on account of the context, refer to giants, characteristically dwellers in rocks or mountains. Although the first vowel in R is obscured by a blot, all mss are likely to have read borða, and it is possible to keep the mss’ reading, understanding borð in the sense ‘edge, side, slope’ (Fritzner: borð 2; Marold 1983, 165 n. 370). SnE 1998, II, 254 assumes a sense ‘inhabitants of (those who dwell on, stand on) bright shields, giants’. Borð is here understood to mean ‘shield-board’ and a reference is assumed to the myth of the giant Hrungnir, who stood on his stone shield when facing the god Þórr in single combat. However, there is no indication that this property of Hrungnir could be generalised to all giants in the kenning system. Both Skj B and Skald prefer W’s brattra ‘steep’ over R, ’s bjartra, and that reading is equally good.


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