Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to Þjsk Lv 5I

[6] fíl ǫldu ‘the elephant of the wave [SHIP]’: The word fíll ‘elephant’ is believed to be of ultimately Turkish or Persian origin (AEW: fíll). Elephants occur elsewhere in the skaldic corpus only in C13th poetry (LP: fíll), and this kenning may also be late (ÍF 9, xcviii). Ship-kennings with exotic animals as base-words are rare. The only other certain example is léon bôru ‘lion of the billow’, which is also from a stanza unique to ÞorlJ, but attributed to King Sveinn tjúguskegg (Svtjúg Lv 1/8; Arn Hryn 2/1II has an uncertain example). This could suggest that the two stanzas were composed by the same person, who was thus probably not Þorleifr (see also Almqvist 1965-74, I, 193, 198).


  1. Bibliography
  2. AEW = Vries, Jan de. 1962. Altnordisches etymologisches Wörterbuch. 2nd rev. edn. Rpt. 1977. Leiden: Brill.
  3. 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.
  4. ÍF 9 = Eyfirðinga sǫgur. Ed. Jónas Kristjánsson. 1956.
  5. Almqvist, Bo. 1965-74. Norrön niddiktning: Traditionshistoriska studier i versmagi. I: Nid mot furstar. II: Nid mot missionärer: Senmedeltid nidtraditioner. Stockholm: Almqvist & Wiksell.
  6. Internal references
  7. Not published: do not cite (ÞorlJI)
  8. Matthew Townend (ed.) 2012, ‘Sveinn tjúguskegg Haraldsson, Lausavísa 1’ in Diana Whaley (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 1: From Mythical Times to c. 1035. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 1. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 379.
  9. Diana Whaley (ed.) 2009, ‘Arnórr jarlaskáld Þórðarson, Hrynhenda, Magnússdrápa 2’ in Kari Ellen Gade (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 2: From c. 1035 to c. 1300. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 2. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 184-5.


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