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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

1. Anonymous Poems, 3. Óláfs drápa Tryggvasonar, 1 [Vol. 1, 1033]

[4] hverrar ættar aldar ‘of every family of men’: (a) Although slightly overloaded, this phrase is comparable with other collocations of ætt with a gen. meaning ‘men’, including Hfr Lv 7/1, 3V (Hallfr 10) ǫll ætt aldar ‘the whole family of men’ (and see LP: ætt 2). Coupled with yfirhildingr ‘overlord’, it forms a God-kenning which resembles others designating God as ruler of mankind (Meissner 370, also 372). However, as a determinant which is not itself a kenning, hverrar ættar aldar is unusual, and the whole expression could be regarded as a looser genitival construction rather than a kenning. (b) Gullberg (1875) takes hverrar ættar as gen. object of mætti (dat. of môttr m. ‘power’), so ‘power over every family’, but this is a less compelling expression of divine omnipotence.

references

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