Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Sigv ErfÓl 4I l. 8

efsa — to be cut


efsa (verb): [to be cut]


[8] efsa: ofsa Holm2, J2ˣ, 321ˣ, ‘hnefsa’ 61, 325VII, Bb, Flat, Tóm, efla 325V


[5, 8] hann bað efsa skǫr firum með hjǫrvi ‘he ordered men’s hair to be cut with the sword’: The image of hair-cutting noted by Kock (NN §658) here and in st. 6 (cf. also st. 14) may be a form of humiliating punishment (see Ebel 1999, 240). It is also doubtless a euphemism for beheading. Efsa is recorded only here. Kock compares OE efesian ‘clip, shear, cut’, and the fact that Sigvatr spent time in England and is known for his lexical resourcefulness makes OE influence possible.



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