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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to Þul Sjóvar 1III

[4] lagastafr (m.) ‘waters’ foundation’: In R and this obscure cpd is treated as two words, lǫgr and ‘stop’ which must be incorrect, since lagastafr is also known from Alv 24/5 and 32/5 (NK 127, 129), where it is given as a name for both ‘sea’ and ‘barley’ (bygg) in the language of the elves (álfar). This polysemy is difficult to understand, and it has been suggested that the name possibly refers to the components of beer prepared from water and barley, and hence means ‘water/drink-substance’ (from lǫgr ‘liquid’ and stafr ‘substance’; Güntert 1921, 147-8). However, stafr never occurs in this sense. Thus the meaning is perhaps rather ‘liquid-foundation’, referring to the sea as a source of all sorts of water (Grundlage der Flüssigkeiten; see Kommentar III, 353-6 for a detailed discussion of this heiti).


  1. Bibliography
  2. NK = Neckel, Gustav and Hans Kuhn (1899), eds. 1983. Edda: Die Lieder des Codex Regius nebst verwandten Denkmälern. 2 vols. I: Text. 5th edn. Heidelberg: Winter.
  3. Kommentar = von See, Klaus et al. 1997-. Kommentar zu den Liedern der Edda. 6 vols (continuing). Heidelberg: Winter.
  4. Güntert, Hermann. 1921. Von der Sprache der Götter und Geister. Halle (Saale): Niemeyer.
  5. Internal references
  6. Not published: do not cite ()


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