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

8. Gríms saga loðinkinna 5 (Grímr loðinkinni, Lausavísur, 3) — Grímr [Vol. 8, 294]

[6] Hrungnis ‘of Hrungnir <giant>’: Both this and the reading Rögnis are plausible, but 343a’s Hrungnis is probably preferable to the 471 variant, despite the fact that Rögnis provides the line with conventional alliteration (see below). Hrungnir is immediately recognizable as the name of a giant, and there are other examples of giantess-kennings with a word for ‘woman’ as base-word and the pers. n. of a giant as determinant (Meissner 398; GrL 3/2). Hrungnir is the name of a giant whom the god Þórr kills in single combat; the story is narrated in Þjóð Haustl 14-20III and in Skm (SnE 1998, I, 20-2) and mentioned or alluded to in a number of other skaldic and eddic poems. If the reading Hrungnis is retained, the line appears to contain an example of alliteration between <r> and <hr>. There are parallels for this in eddic verse, e.g. Hamð 25/1-2 (NK 273) Þá hraut við | inn reginkunngi ‘Then the one of divine descent/the very wise one roared’. In this case and others, where <hv> appears to alliterate with <v>, some eds think that the initial [h] was weakened, allowing poets to use words beginning with <hr> or <hv> to alliterate with <r> and <v> respectively (cf. Dronke 1969, 240-2; Edd. Min. 86 n.). Sigrdr 15/5-6 (NK 193) may provide an indication that the initial <h> of the name Hrungnir was no longer pronounced or that there was an alternative form of that name or even a different mythic entity named Rungnir: á því hvéli, er snýz | undir reið Rungnis ‘On that wheel that turns beneath the wagon of Rungnir’. Rǫgnir is usually one of the god Óðinn’s names (LP: Rǫgnir), but in a kenning for ‘giant’ in Þjóð Haustl 4/5III it appears to be used in the sense ‘lord, chief’ (see SnE 1998, II, 502 gloss to Rǫgnir). There are examples of erotic relationships between Óðinn and giantesses (e.g. between Óðinn and Gunnlǫð in Hávm 104-10 or between Óðinn and Skaði in Eyv Hál 2I). Hence the expression Rögnis mellur ‘Rǫgnir’s [Óðinn’s] female lovers’ in 471 could be a kenning for ‘giantesses’. This however seems less appropriate in GrL, where the realm of the giants plays a large part, whilst the gods are not mentioned. There is no example for the usage of the simplex rǫgnir ‘lord, ruler’ as a term for ‘giant’. Hence it is unlikely that the expression in 471 should be interpreted as mellur rögnis ‘the female lovers of the ruler’ and as a kenning for ‘giantess’. If the alliterating words in this line are not reyna and Hrungnis then the only alternative is alliteration between the modal verb munu and mellur. In this case the head-stave (mellur) would be in the second lift of the second half-line, rather than in the first lift, and the first nominal form of the second half-line (Hrungnis) would not alliterate. Eddic poetry provides numerous examples of this non-compliance with the ‘rules’ for alliteration (on these ‘rules’ cf. von See 1967, 2, 19-20).


© 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.