Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to Þjsk Sveindr 1I

[2] ǫðlings rǫðla himins ‘of the Lord of the discs of the sky [HEAVENLY BODIES > = God]’: The kenning rǫðla himins is at first sight unsatisfactory, since rǫðull can itself mean ‘sun’ or (in pl.) ‘heavenly bodies’, but rǫðull may have the more specific meaning ‘disc, circle’, deriving from its etymological links with words denoting circular objects (AEW: rǫðull 1). Fidjestøl (1982, 102) thinks this kenning seems young, and it is true that non-mythological kennings for the heavenly bodies (including some using hvél ‘wheel’ as base-word) are more frequent in late, especially Christian, poetry (Meissner 103-4, 378-82), though it is possible that the present stanza is an early instance of this trend.


  1. Bibliography
  2. Meissner = Meissner, Rudolf. 1921. Die Kenningar der Skalden: Ein Beitrag zur skaldischen Poetik. Rheinische Beiträge und Hülfsbücher zur germanischen Philologie und Volkskunde 1. Bonn and Leipzig: Schroeder. Rpt. 1984. Hildesheim etc.: Olms.
  3. AEW = Vries, Jan de. 1962. Altnordisches etymologisches Wörterbuch. 2nd rev. edn. Rpt. 1977. Leiden: Brill.
  4. Fidjestøl, Bjarne. 1982. Det norrøne fyrstediktet. Universitet i Bergen Nordisk institutts skriftserie 11. Øvre Ervik: Alvheim & Eide.


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