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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Sigv Lv 3I l. 8

linns — of the serpent’s


linnr (noun m.): snake


[8] linns: ‘Lins’ 972ˣ, lands 61, ‘linn(z)’(?) 325XI 2 l


[8] blóða linns ‘of the serpent’s brother [SERPENT]’: Blóða ‘brother’ adds nothing to the kenning, just as bróðir adds nothing to bróðir gera ‘brother of the wolf/wolves [WOLF]’ (Anon Krm 16/3VIII in AM 6 folˣ), and brœðr adds nothing semantically to brœðr bergrisa ‘giant’s brothers [GIANTS]’ (Grott 9/7, NK 298). The use of ‘brother’ may serve to mark a change of number in some instances including the Grott example, and blóða here could be regarded as gen. pl. In support of that Meissner 239 has several examples of gen. pl. linna ‘of snakes’ as the determinant of gold-kennings, but on the other hand kennings of this type are at least partly motivated by legends of a lone dragon guarding treasure, notably Fáfnir. At all events, linns must not be thought to refer to an earthworm (as by Jón Skaptason 1983, 312-13); linnr alone may refer to a dragon: see LP: 1. linnr.



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