This interface will soon cease to be publicly available. Use the new interface instead. Click here to switch over now.

Cookies on our website

We use cookies on this website, mainly to provide a secure browsing experience but also to collect statistics on how the website is used. You can find out more about the cookies we set, the information we store and how we use it on the cookies page.

Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

login: password: stay logged in: help

Note to stanza

1. Anonymous Poems, 2. Liðsmannaflokkr, 8 [Vol. 1, 1025]

[1, 4] ekkja, sús býr í steini, mun líta út ‘the widow who lives in stone will look out’: De Vries (1964-7, I, 282) found the motif of the woman watching the fighting men from her window suspect, as suggestive of later romance tournaments, but Sigv Austv 12 and ÞjóðA Har 2II, datable to around c. 1019 and c. 1062 respectively, are very similar and Sigvatr is probably borrowing from the present stanza (Hofmann 1955, 83; Poole 1987, 284). The statement that the ekkja lives ‘in stone’ locates her in stone-walled London (cf. the corresponding reference to Ulfcytel in st. 6/7-8). The word ekkja strictly means ‘widow’ (AEW: ekkja 1), though in poetry it can have the extended meaning of ‘woman’ in general (LP: ekkja 2). The most prominent widow in England at this period would have been Æthelred’s queen Emma (Stafford 1978, 36) and since Knútr later married her she could with considerable relevance be associated with him in the present stanza (Poole 1987, 290). Alternatively, this could be an example of the generic woman whose role in skaldic poetry is to admire (or suffer from) masculine triumphs (cf. Fidjestøl 1976a; Frank 1990a).


© 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 Those users who have been given access to as yet unpublished material are further reminded that they may not use, publish or otherwise manipulate such material except with the express permission of the individual editor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.