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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, 8] niðja Játmundar ‘the kinsman of Eadmund’: The Eadmund referred to here could be one of three: Æthelred’s son Eadmund Ironside (king of Wessex 1016), Æthelred’s grandfather Eadmund (king of England 939-46), or Eadmund, king of East Anglia (martyred by vikings in 869). Óttarr uses a similar phrase, ættniðr Játmundar ‘descendant of Eadmund’, in Knútdr 7/5-6, where the person so designated is Eadmund Ironside, so the Eadmund who is the determinant of the kenning there must be one of the other, older Eadmunds. In the present case, ÍF 27 assumes that the Eadmund referred to must be Eadmund Ironside, and points out that niðr does not always mean ‘descendant’ and can simply mean ‘relative’. But it is at least as likely that it is Æthelred’s grandfather who is invoked here.


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