Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Eyv Hál 10I l. 3

alnar — of the forearm


alin (noun f.): forearm, ell



[2-3] Njarðar orms alnar ‘of the Njǫrðr <god> of the serpent of the forearm [ARM-RING > MAN]’: (a) Previous eds retain ms. jarðar ‘of the earth’, the reading of all mss, and interpret it as part of an ofljóst expression for ‘fire’ (see Note to l. 2), while taking ǫðlingr orms alnar ‘prince of the serpent of the forearm [ARM-RING > GENEROUS MAN]’ together. However, ǫðlingr ‘prince’ normally stands alone rather than functioning as the base-word of a kenning. An alternative would be to read Jarðar orms alnar ‘of the Jǫrð <goddess> of the serpent of the forearm [ARM-RING > WOMAN]’. However, in either case retaining jarðar entails double alliteration in an even line, which is conventionally proscribed and scarcely to be paralleled in poetry before the late C12th (Poole 2007b, 173). (c) In this edn jarðar is therefore emended to Njarðar. Reduction of final -n in ǫlun and initial N- in Njarðar to single -n- could easily have arisen in transmission. The name Njǫrðr appears to have been especially prone to corruption by scribes; cf. Eyv Lv 2/1, where , F, and other mss have the erroneous norðr. The identity of the person referred to by the kenning remains unclear, but he might be the local magnate responsible for the feast (veizla). The arm-ring is perhaps mentioned pointedly, since such rings are associated not merely with personal affluence but also with ceremonies where pledges and oaths are taken (Olsen 1966, 48-9).



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