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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

2. Arnórr jarlaskáld Þórðarson, 3. Magnússdrápa, 14 [Vol. 2, 223-4]

[2] ballr Skônungum ‘baleful to the Skánungar’: (a) The idiom ballr e-m ‘baleful, harsh, fearsome to sby’ may be paralleled in Bdr 5/7-8 réðo ... hví væri Baldri ballir draumar ‘discussed … why his dreams were baleful to Baldr’ (NK 277), if dat. sg. Baldri ‘to Baldr’ is construed, as here, with ballir ‘baleful’, hence ‘discussed … why Baldr’s dreams were baleful’ (réðo … hví draumar væri ballir Baldri). There does not appear to be a more secure example of ballr e-m (e.g. ONP has none), but such a construction might have been encouraged by the phonetically and semantically similar bella e-m ‘harm sby’ (strong verb), or by adj. phrases such as reiðr e-m ‘angry with sby’ or hættr e-m as in hættr Serkjum ‘dangerous to Saracens’ (ÞjóðA Sex 2). The postulated phrase ballr Sknungum is also compatible with the tradition that the people of Skåne (Skáney, now southern Sweden but then Dan. territory) earned Magnús’s hostility by supporting his enemy Sveinn. This interpretation is adopted by Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson (ÍF 28, 58 n.). (b) Finnur Jónsson in Skj B and Kock in Skald, on the other hand, emend to gen. pl. Sknunga, which they take with gramr, hence ‘monarch of Skánungar’.


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