This interface will soon cease to be publicly available. Use the new interface instead. Click here to switch over now.
Note to stanza
[7-8] bifkleif baugs, fáða bifum ‘the quivering cliff of the shield-boss [SHIELD], decorated with moving stories’: There is no doubt that bifkleif baugs ‘the quivering cliff of the shield-boss’ is a shield-kenning (cf. the similarly formed base-word raddkleif ‘voice-cliff’ or naddkleif ‘spear-point-cliff’ of st. 1/4), but the connotation of bifkleif is unclear, and it seems that its first element bif- is picked up and varied in the qualifying phrase bifum fáða (l. 7). The base form of a noun bif- is uncertain (cf. LP: bif; AEW: bifa 1), as is its meaning (Marold 1983, 168 provides a useful summary of previous eds’ suggestions). The word combination with fáða ‘decorated, painted’ suggests that bifum is likely to refer to some aspect of the decoration of the shield Þjóðólfr has received from Þorleifr. The verb bifa, always used in m. v. bifask, with the meaning ‘shake, tremble’, provides our best clue to the meaning of bif, both as a simplex and an element in the cpd bifkleif. Bif- seems likely to denote movement, like shaking or quivering; when applied to a shield decorated with images, it may perhaps indicate that they are so vivid that they seem to move or that they are so affecting, because of their mythic narrative power, that they make their audience tremble with awe. ModIcel. bifur (as in hafa illan bifur á e-m ‘distrust sby, spy on sby’) suggests a similar semantic field, as Holtsmark (1949, 40) pointed out. She also noted that the word bifa occurs in a list of alternative names for speech (mál) in Skm (SnE 1998, I, 109) and might therefore mean something like ‘moving, affecting narrative’. If so, Þjóðólfr’s statement that his shield was bifum fáða may be similar to Bragi’s claim in Rdr 7/4 and 12/4 that he received a shield and fjǫl sagna ‘a multitude of stories’ from his patron Ragnarr.
|© Skaldic Project Academic Body, unless otherwise noted. Database structure and interface developed by Tarrin Wills. All users of material on this database are reminded that its content may be either subject to copyright restrictions or is the property of the custodians of linked databases that have given permission for members of the skaldic project to use their material for research purposes. Those users who have been given access to as yet unpublished material are further reminded that they may not use, publish or otherwise manipulate such material except with the express permission of the individual editor of the material in question and the General Editor of the volume in which the material is to be published. Applications for permission to use such material should be made in the first instance to the General Editor of the volume in question. All information that appears in the published volumes has been thoroughly reviewed. If you believe some information here is incorrect please contact Tarrin Wills with full details.|