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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

1. 3. Þorbjǫrn hornklofi, 2. Haraldskvæði (Hrafnsmál), 15 [Vol. 1, 109]

[3] ítr* ‘excellent’: (a) Ms. ítra is here emended to ítr so that it may qualify ógnflýtir ‘war-hastener [WARRIOR]’, as suggested by Jón Helgason (1946, 137). (b) The syntax is decidedly strained when ms. ítra is construed as m. acc. pl. with íþróttarmenn ‘men of skills’ (l. 4; so Skj B) or as f. acc. sg. with fold ‘land’ (l. 2), especially in view of the simple syntax that characterises the rest of the stanzas. (c) Kock (FF §56) proposes analysing ítra as a substantival m. gen. pl. dependent on ógnflýtir ‘war-hastener’, together giving the sense ‘warrior of warriors’, i.e. best of warriors. Alternatively, Jón Helgason (1946, 137) mentions the possibility of interpreting ógnflýtir ítra as ‘causer of terror to chieftains’, ascribing to ógn- its fundamental sense ‘terror’ rather than the transferred sense ‘war’ that it usually has in verse. Yet these proposals face the difficulty that ítr is nowhere else used as a substantive, and both produce more than usually elliptical sense.


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