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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

1. 28. Hallfreðr vandræðaskáld Óttarsson, 2. Erfidrápa Óláfs Tryggvasonar, 7 [Vol. 1, 411]

[1] myrði Vinða ‘the murderer of Wends [?= Óláfr]’: This kenning is ambiguous in its reference (compare Ohlmarks 1958, 446 with von See 1977a, 116). (a) ÓT’s prose suggests the referent here is Óláfr, and we do see him harrying the Wends in Hfr Óldr 1/5-8. According to ÓTOdd (ÍF 25, 312, 367) and, to a lesser degree, Fsk (ÍF 29, 147), the Wends supported Óláfr at Svǫlðr, which does not confirm a view of Óláfr as ‘the murderer of the Wends’, but the other early prose sources, Ágr and HN, speak only of Óláfr making unsuccessful attempts to raise Wendish or Slavic troops. Possibly this and similar skaldic allusions to hostility to the Wends are rather generic, referring to raiding of Slav territories on the Baltic, perhaps around the mouth of the Oder (see Morawiec 2006). (b) The kenning may denote Eiríkr jarl, since the same kenning is used of his father Hákon jarl in Eskál Vell 23/1. It also occurs in relation to Svǫlðr in Hókr Eirfl 6/7, where the referent is probably Óláfr but could be Eiríkr, and it is applied to the Danish king Haraldr blátǫnn ‘Blue-tooth’ in Anon (ÓTHkr) 1/3. However, it is unusual for Óláfr’s enemies to be the focus of the stanza; e.g. in st. 17 Eiríkr is referred to, but only in tandem with Óláfr.


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