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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to Sigv Nesv 7I

[8] heiðþegum ‘retainers’: The correct reading is difficult to establish (see Jesch 2001a, 235-7 for full discussion). The word heið is explained by the comment in SnE that heiðfé heitir máli ok gjǫf er hǫfðingjar gefaheið-money is the name of the wages and gift that chieftains give’ (SnE 1998, I, 81; cf. LP: 2. heið f.). The alternative reading heimdregum ‘stay-at-homes’ can be explained as stigmatising those who did not support the king. But possibly some other word has been garbled in all witnesses. Jesch (loc. cit.) proposes heimþegum ‘persons given a home’, a comitatus term that occurs in Danish runic inscriptions; it is not attested in the skaldic corpus or OWN but given Sigvatr’s lexical eclecticism elsewhere he might well have used such a word.


  1. Bibliography
  2. 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.
  3. Jesch, Judith. 2001a. Ships and Men in the Late Viking Age: The Vocabulary of Runic Inscriptions and Skaldic Verse. Woodbridge: Boydell.
  4. SnE 1998 = Snorri Sturluson. 1998. Edda: Skáldskaparmál. Ed. Anthony Faulkes. 2 vols. University College London: Viking Society for Northern Research.
  5. Internal references
  6. Edith Marold 2017, ‘Snorra Edda (Prologue, Gylfaginning, Skáldskaparmál)’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols [check printed volume for citation].


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