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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

8. Anonymous Poems, Krákumál, 24 [Vol. 8, 765]

[10] í Skotlandsfjörðum ‘in Scotland’s firths’: This seems the safest translation in the circumstances, given that at this stage of the poem the speaker seems to have moved on from a specific pin-pointing of the locations of his battles. However, according to Mossé (1934, 250), the name Skotlandsfirðir pl., occurring in the ÍF editions of the sagas he cites, refers to the Minch, the strait separating the north-west Scottish Highlands and the northern Inner Hebrides from Lewis and Harris in the Outer Hebrides. The occurrences of the name referred to by Mossé are in Nj chs 85, 158, and 159 (ÍF 12, 205, 460, 462), Gr ch. 4 (ÍF 7, 10), and Mberf chs 8 and 11 (ÍF 28, 219, 224). Further occurrences are in Orkn chs 22, 41, 78 (Skotlandsfjǫrðr sg.) and 101 (ÍF 34, 58, 99, 178, 274). In none of these instances does the ÍF edition give any indication of a specific location for the name; see, however, Anderson (1873, viii (map), 27 n. 1 and 56 n. 2). Whether given a general or a specific application in the present context, the p. n. reference as it occurs here is consistent with the information given in earlier stanzas about the speaker’s exploits in Scotland (possibly, st. 12/3) and the Scottish islands (sts 13/4, 15/3 and perhaps 20/7), as well as in, or off the coast of, northern England (in sts 6/5, 14/4 and perhaps 19/3).


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