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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to Þul Óðins 4III

[1] Hléfǫðr: This cpd is not found elsewhere, which is also the case with the variant reading Hleifruðr (‘Hleífrudr’) in B. The LaufE mss have (normalised) Hléfróðr. The B variant is adopted in Skj B and Skald (but rejected in LP: Hléfǫðr). According to von Friesen (1900, 197), the form Hleifruðr could have resulted from reinterpretation of *Hleiforðr (= OE hlāford ‘lord, master’) in analogy with other Óðinn-names ending in ‑uðr (e.g. Geiguðr, Dǫrruðr). The reading Hléfǫðr, on the other hand, is supported by a number of Óðinn-names with the second element -fǫðr (reinterpreted as ‘father’; see Note to st. 1/4 above), as well as by other names with the first element Hlé-: e.g. the Óðinn-name Hléfreyr in st. 5/3 below, the giant-name Hlébarðr in Hárb 20/5, Hlévangr, a dwarf-name in Vsp 15/4, the f. pers. n. Hlédís gyðia ‘Hlédís the sorceress’ in Hyndl 13/4 (NK 290), etc. The meaning of this Hlé- element is disputed. According to Falk (1924, 17-18), hlé- may be identical either with hlé n. ‘lee, shelter protecting from bad weather’ (hence Hléfǫðr means ‘lee-father’) or with the name of the sea-god Hlér, also used as a term for ‘sea’ (hence ‘a storm-quieting god’). He suggests that the name might refer to Óðinn as a sea-god, since he is known for taking on the names and functions of other gods. In LP: Hléfǫðr, however, hlé- is interpreted as ‘famous’ (cf. the runic name Hlewagastiʀ in the Gallehus inscription (Run DR 12VI (KJ43)), whose first part is often connected with the adj. hléðr ‘famous’). On this heiti, see also Strandberg (2008, 109-11).


  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. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Falk, Hjalmar. 1924. Odensheite. Skrifter utg. av Videnskapsselskapet i Kristiania. II. Hist.-filos. kl. 1924, 10. Kristiania (Oslo): Dybwad.
  7. Friesen, Otto von. 1900. ‘Till tolkningen af Tune-stenen’. ANF 16, 191-200.
  8. Strandberg, Mathias. 2008. ‘On the Etymology of Compounded Old Icelandic Óðinn names with the Second Component -fǫðr’. SI 59, 93-120.
  9. Internal references
  10. Not published: do not cite ()
  11. Not published: do not cite ()
  12. Not published: do not cite ()
  13. Kari Ellen Gade 2009, ‘Laufás Edda (LaufE)’ in Kari Ellen Gade (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 2: From c. 1035 to c. 1300. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 2. Turnhout: Brepols [check printed volume for citation].


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