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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to Ólhelg Lv 4I

[4] aurborðs ‘for the plank [ship]’: Lit. ‘gravel-plank’, apparently the strake of a ship’s hull that ‘rests on the ground when a ship is beached’ (Jesch 2001a, 141, cf. LP: aurborð), hence ‘ship’ by pars pro toto. (a) This is taken here as an adverbial gen. dependent on the comp. adj. vandfœrra ‘harder to pass’ (cf. NS §136-8). It could alternatively be an adverbial gen. of place, ‘on the ship’. (b) Finnur Jónsson takes aurborðs together with eyjar varbliks to obtain ‘island (eyjar) of the glitter (-bliks) of the landing-place (var-) of the ship (aurborðs) [SEA > GOLD > WOMAN]’ (Skj B; LP: 1. aurborð, ey, varblik). This is also possible. Kock’s construal (NN §597) is similar, though since he understands var- as ‘oar-stroke, wake’, aurborðs ‘(ship’s) plank’ is superfluous in the kenning.


  1. Bibliography
  2. Skj B = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1912-15b. Den norsk-islandske skjaldedigtning. B: Rettet tekst. 2 vols. Copenhagen: Villadsen & Christensen. Rpt. 1973. Copenhagen: Rosenkilde & Bagger.
  3. NN = Kock, Ernst Albin. 1923-44. Notationes Norrœnæ: Anteckningar till Edda och skaldediktning. Lunds Universitets årsskrift new ser. 1. 28 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  4. LP = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1931. Lexicon poeticum antiquæ linguæ septentrionalis: Ordbog over det norsk-islandske skjaldesprog oprindelig forfattet af Sveinbjörn Egilsson. 2nd edn. Copenhagen: Møller.
  5. Jesch, Judith. 2001a. Ships and Men in the Late Viking Age: The Vocabulary of Runic Inscriptions and Skaldic Verse. Woodbridge: Boydell.
  6. NS = Nygaard, Marius. 1906. Norrøn syntax. Kristiania (Oslo): Aschehoug. Rpt. 1966.


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