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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Eil Þdr 8III l. 4

njarð — of the strength


njarð- ((prefix)): [strength]



[3, 4] njótr njarðgjarðar ‘the user of the strength-belt [= Þórr]’: This Þórr-kenning must be understood in relation to the prose of Skm (SnE 1998, I, 24-5), according to which Loki was prevailed upon to make Þórr enter the land of giants without his hammer or belt. Gríðr, a giantess and mother of Óðinn’s son Víðarr, lends him a belt of strength (megingjǫrð) along with iron gloves and a staff. The tmesis njarð-gjarðar is unavoidable here. Mohr (1940, 220-1) suggested the cpd njarðrôð, which he took to mean ‘useful assistance’: gatat njarðrôð gjarðar ‘he had no useful assistance from the belt’. This leaves njótr without a determinant, however. The first element of the cpd, njarð-, is not attested as a simplex, but the cpd njarðláss ‘strong, unbreakable lock’ (LP) confirms that it means ‘power, strength’. Like the name of the god Njǫrðr, njarð- ‘strength’ may derive from Gmc *nerþ- (cf. also the name of the goddess Nerthus; see Tacitus, Germania 1967, 441, 450-1), which is related to OIr. nert- ‘strength’ (AEW: Njǫrðr).



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