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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to Eyv Lv 5I

[5, 6, 7] Ála galtar éldraugr ‘the log of the storm of the boar of Áli <legendary king> [(lit. storm-log of the boar of Áli) HELMET > BATTLE > WARRIOR]’: This solution is based upon that of Finnur Jónsson (Hkr 1893-1901, IV; Skj B), which is followed, with variations, by most eds. The ‘boar of Áli’ is understood as ‘helmet’, since Hildigǫltr or Hildisvín ‘battle-boar’ was the name of the helmet belonging to king Áli of Norway (Hkr 1893-1901, IV; Skj B; cf. ÍF 26, 190 n.), which later passed to Aðils of Sweden (Skm, SnE 1998, I, 58; cf. a comparable allusion to the hostilities between Aðils and Hrólfr kraki at Fýrisvellir in Eyv Lv 8.) There is an element of ofljóst here, since the battle-kenning equates to hildr ‘battle’, and together with galtar (gen. sg. of gǫltr ‘boar’) forms a counterpart to Hildigǫltr. Editors differ as to the exact analysis of the kenning (and see Note to l. 6 draugr for a further complication). The analysis above is favoured in ÍF 26, ÍF 29 and Hkr 1991, while Finnur Jónsson and seemingly Kock (NN §2217) take él Ála ‘storm of Áli’ as the battle-kenning and the gǫltr ‘boar’ of battle as the helmet. The ofljóst works more straightforwardly on this analysis, but the structure of the inverted kenning is more problematic. Gǫltr and other words for ‘boar’ are found in other expressions for ‘helmet’, though Meissner expresses reservations about their status as kennings (Meissner 164). Boar images on helmets are attested from pre-Viking Age Sweden and from Anglo-Saxon England (see Beowulf 2008, 12, 135-7; Mitchell et al. 1998, 189).


  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. 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.
  5. ÍF 26-8 = Heimskringla. Ed. Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson. 1941-51.
  6. Hkr 1893-1901 = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1893-1901. Heimskringla: Nóregs konunga sǫgur af Snorri Sturluson. 4 vols. SUGNL 23. Copenhagen: Møller.
  7. Hkr 1991 = Bergljót S. Kristjánsdóttir et al., eds. 1991. Heimskringla. 3 vols. Reykjavík: Mál og menning.
  8. Beowulf 2008 = Fulk, Robert D., Robert E. Bjork and John D. Niles, eds. 2008. Klaeber’s Beowulf and the Fight at Finnsburg. 4th rev. edn of Beowulf and the Fight at Finnsburg, ed. Fr. Klaeber. Toronto, Buffalo and London: University of Toronto Press.
  9. SnE 1998 = Snorri Sturluson. 1998. Edda: Skáldskaparmál. Ed. Anthony Faulkes. 2 vols. University College London: Viking Society for Northern Research.
  10. ÍF 29 = Ágrip af Nóregskonunga sǫgum; Fagrskinna—Nóregs konungatal. Ed. Bjarni Einarsson. 1985.
  11. Internal references
  12. Not published: do not cite (SkmIII)
  13. Not published: do not cite (RunVI)
  14. Russell Poole (ed.) 2012, ‘Eyvindr skáldaspillir Finnsson, Lausavísur 8’ 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. 226.


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