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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to Anon Mey 9VII

[All]: The Apostles James the Great and John are said to be the sons of Zebedee in gospel accounts (Matt. IV.21 and Mark I.19). The notion that John (and therefore James) was the son of the Virgin Mary’s sister is found in many medieval sources and was well known in Iceland; cf. this poem, st. 10/1 and Gamlkan Jóndr 3/1, where John is also called Christ’s systrungr ‘sister’s son, cousin whose mothers are sisters’; see also Jón4 1874, 466 and I, 56.


  1. Bibliography
  2. = Kålund, Kristian and Natanael Beckman. 1908-18. Alfræði íslenzk: Islandsk encyklopædisk litteratur. 3 vols. SUGNL 37, 41 and 45. Copenhagen: Møller.
  3. Jón4 1874 = Jóns saga postula. In Unger 1874, 466-934, 47033-51322.
  4. Internal references
  5. Beatrice La Farge (ed.) 2007, ‘Gamli kanóki, Jónsdrápa 3’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 135-6.


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