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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

1. 38. Óttarr svarti, 1. Hǫfuðlausn, 13 [Vol. 1, 757]

[6] friðlands ‘a land of peace’: There is clearly some paradoxical play at work in ll. 5-6: how can entry into a friðland involve fundr ‘fighting’ that is harðr ‘hard’? ÍF 27 attempts to reconcile the paradox by translating friðland as ‘a pacified land’ (followed by ÍF 29 and ÍF 35), while Poole translates as ‘the country friendly to him [i.e. Æthelred]’ (1980, 274). Poole’s interpretation seems more apposite. As the ASC makes clear, following Sveinn’s death Æthelred com … ham to his agenre þeode, 7 he glædlice fram him eallum onfange<n> wæs ‘came home to his own people and was gladly received by them all’ (Cubbin 1996, 59). On the term friðland see further Fell (1982-3, 95-7), who argues it has a positive legal sense based on interpersonal or diplomatic relations rather than simply the absence of warfare.


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