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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to Þul Óðins 2III

[1] Fjǫlnir: This is the name of one of the Yngling kings, Fjǫlnir, son of Freyr (see Þjóð Yt 1/4I and Note). Most likely the name was transferred to Óðinn because in Norway Óðinn usurped the place of Yngvi-Freyr as the ancestor of the Ynglingar. The origin of this name is uncertain. (a) Noreen (1892, 198) argues that Fjǫlnir was applied to Óðinn owing to the name’s association with the strong verb fela ‘hide, conceal’ and hence it possibly alludes to the myth of the mead of poetry. (b) Finnur Jónsson (LP: Fjǫlnir) interprets the name as ‘one who takes many shapes’ or ‘one who knows much’ (from fjǫl n. ‘much’). The latter explanation may find support in Reg 18/7 (NK 178), where Óðinn says that he was called Hnikarr when in battle, but now his names are Fengr or Fjǫlnir (Feng eða Fiǫlni); see Fengr in l. 2. (c) Falk (1924, 9) suggests that Fjǫlnir may be a contracted form of Fjǫlsviðr ‘very wise one’. The name is also mentioned in Grí 47/5 and Gylf (SnE 2005, 8, 22) (see Note to Hnikuðr in st. 1/8), and it is common in skaldic kennings.


  1. Bibliography
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. SnE 2005 = Snorri Sturluson. 2005. Edda: Prologue and Gylfaginning. Ed. Anthony Faulkes. 2nd edn. University College London: Viking Society for Northern Research.
  5. Falk, Hjalmar. 1924. Odensheite. Skrifter utg. av Videnskapsselskapet i Kristiania. II. Hist.-filos. kl. 1924, 10. Kristiania (Oslo): Dybwad.
  6. Noreen, Adolf. 1892. ‘Mytiska beståndsdelar i Ynglingatal’. In Uppsalastudier tillegnade Sophus Bugge på hans 60-åra födelsedag den 5 januari 1893. Uppsala: Almqvist & Wiksell, 194-225.
  7. Internal references
  8. Not published: do not cite (GylfIII)
  9. Not published: do not cite ()
  10. Not published: do not cite ()
  11. Edith Marold (ed.) 2012, ‘Þjóðólfr ór Hvini, Ynglingatal 1’ 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. 9.


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