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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

3. 28. Hallfreðr vandræðaskáld Óttarsson (biog. vol. 1), Hákonardrápa, 3 [Vol. 3, 218]

[1] gǫtvar geirrotu ‘garments of spear-downpour [BATTLE > MAIL-SHIRTS]’: The same kenning occurs in Egill Lv 17/5V (Eg 24). The second element of the cpd could alternatively be Róta (or Rota), a valkyrie-name, so ‘spear-Róta’ (cf. geir-Skǫgul; LP: geir-Róta); ‘garments of Róta’ is then an armour-kenning. The valkyrie-name is only attested once outside kennings, in a context where Rota/Róta is portrayed acting together with the valkyrie Guðr/Gunnr, whose name means ‘battle’, in Gylf (SnE 2005, 30), while rota f. ‘rainshower’ is better attested, appearing e.g. in a list of missile-heiti in Skm’s prose (SnE 1998, I, 67). The common noun -rotu ‘of downpour’ is more in keeping with the extended ‘weather’ metaphor; most previous eds, however, print -Rótu. The length of the root vowel, [o] or [o:], cannot be determined, and both forms are possible metrically. 


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