skaldic

Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

Menu Search

Note to Eyv Lv 4I

[5] -spenni ‘-grasper’: In order to explain this agentive (NN §1057B; ÍF 26; LP: auðspennir), eds have assumed a sense of ‘destroy’ for the verb spenna. But occurrences in the senses of ‘consume, use up, waste’ (hence possibly ‘destroy’) are restricted to a few late attestations in homiletic contexts (Fritzner: II. spenna 2) and appear to represent a development from OE (ā)spendan ‘spend, consume, exhaust’ or other WGmc derivatives of Lat. expendere ‘to spend’ (cf. AEW: spenna 4). Meanwhile, spenna as used in skaldic kennings is most probably from an entirely different etymon (< Gmc *spannian), with a sense of ‘cause to span, embrace, encompass’. From the large mass of attestations it is clear that the semantic range of this spenna covers the concepts ‘clasp, span, enclose, embrace, grasp, catch, gain’ (CVC: spenna; Fritzner: I. spenna; AEW: spenna 2). The basis for the kenning is therefore probably that the successful warlord and his following grasp or seize valuable items, e.g. weapons, from the opposing forces as plunder (cf. Gsind Hákdr 4/3, Anon Liðs 3/7, Sigv Nesv 10/1-4; Price 2000a).

References

  1. Bibliography
  2. NN = Kock, Ernst Albin. 1923-44. Notationes Norrœnæ: Anteckningar till Edda och skaldediktning. Lunds Universitets årsskrift new ser. 1. 28 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  3. AEW = Vries, Jan de. 1962. Altnordisches etymologisches Wörterbuch. 2nd rev. edn. Rpt. 1977. Leiden: Brill.
  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. CVC = Cleasby, Richard, Gudbrand Vigfusson [Guðbrandur Vigfússon] and W. A. Craigie. 1957. An Icelandic-English Dictionary. 2nd edn. Oxford: Clarendon.
  6. Fritzner = Fritzner, Johan. 1883-96. Ordbog over det gamle norske sprog. 3 vols. Kristiania (Oslo): Den norske forlagsforening. 4th edn. Rpt. 1973. Oslo etc.: Universitetsforlaget.
  7. ÍF 26-8 = Heimskringla. Ed. Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson. 1941-51.
  8. Price, Neil. 2000a. ‘“Laid Waste, Plundered, and Burned”: Vikings in Frankia’. In Fitzhugh et al. 2000, 116-26.
  9. Internal references
  10. Russell Poole (ed.) 2012, ‘Guthormr sindri, Hákonardrápa 4’ 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. 162.
  11. Russell Poole (ed.) 2012, ‘Anonymous Poems, Liðsmannaflokkr 3’ 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. 1019.
  12. Russell Poole (ed.) 2012, ‘Sigvatr Þórðarson, Nesjavísur 10’ 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. 571.

Close

Log in

This service is only available to members of the relevant projects, and to purchasers of the skaldic volumes published by Brepols.
This service uses cookies. By logging in you agree to the use of cookies on your browser.

Close