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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to Ótt Knútdr 7I

[2, 4] friðskerðir randa ‘peace-breaker of shields [WARRIOR]’: I. e. ‘destroyer of the well-being of shields’. This is also assumed by previous eds; cf. other kennings referring to a man as a destroyer or damager of shields (Meissner 311). LP: friðskerðir offers the parallel friðskerðir hjǫrva ‘peace-breaker of swords’ in Hfr Lv 12/7, 8V (Hallfr 15; see also Meissner 301), though only one ms. reads frið- there while the majority form is fúr- ‘fire’. (b) A more straightforward kenning friðskerðir ‘peace-breaker’ and a syntactic arrangement into couplets as seen elsewhere in the poem are obtained if randa ‘of shields’ is emended to an instr. dat. sg. rǫndu (cf. ANG §416.2) meaning ‘by/with the shield’ and comparable with sverði ‘by/with the sword’ in st. 9/6. The parallel und skildi ‘under the shield’ in st. 9/1 indicates that Óttarr invokes shields metonymically to indicate aggressive action, not simply defensive. Under either interpretation, the density of allusions to shields in this poem is likely to be a play on Knútr’s dynastic status as a Skjǫldungr: see further Frank (1994b, 111-12).


  1. Bibliography
  2. 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.
  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. ANG = Noreen, Adolf. 1923. Altnordische Grammatik I: Altisländische und altnorwegische Grammatik (Laut- und Flexionslehre) unter Berücksichtigung des Urnordischen. 4th edn. Halle: Niemeyer. 1st edn. 1884. 5th unrev. edn. 1970. Tübingen: Niemeyer.
  5. Frank, Roberta. 1994b. ‘King Cnut in the Verse of his Skalds’. In Rumble 1994, 106-24.
  6. Internal references
  7. Not published: do not cite (Hfr Lv 12V (Hallfr 15))


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