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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to Þul Kvenna I 1III

[6] ristill (m.) ‘gentlewoman’: Like some other heiti for ‘woman’ in this list (svanni, svarri, sprakki and svarkr) the word is a m. noun. In Skm (SnE 1998, I, 107), ristill is a term for a woman ‘of independent character’ (skǫruglyndr). Other than in this stanza and in 25/6 the word occurs in Old Norse poetry only twice and only in late poems, the earliest from C14th (see Anon Mey 27/3VII; see also Kommentar III, 590). The heiti is used quite frequently in the rímur (Finnur Jónsson 1926-8: ristill). The origin of ristill is obscure and several explanations have been suggested: from rist f. ‘instep of the foot’ (AEW: ristill 2); from the strong verb rísta ‘carve’, and thus a female rune carver (so Sturtevant 1952, 1151); from the strong verb rísa ‘rise’ (ÍO: ristill 3).


  1. Bibliography
  2. AEW = Vries, Jan de. 1962. Altnordisches etymologisches Wörterbuch. 2nd rev. edn. Rpt. 1977. Leiden: Brill.
  3. Finnur Jónsson. 1926-8. Ordbog til de af samfund til udg. af gml. nord. litteratur udgivne Rímur samt til de af Dr. O. Jiriczek udgivne Bósarímur. SUGNL 51. Copenhagen: Jørgensen.
  4. ÍO = Ásgeir Blöndal Magnússon. 1989. Íslensk orðsifjabók. Reykjavík: Orðabók Háskólans.
  5. Kommentar = von See, Klaus et al. 1997-. Kommentar zu den Liedern der Edda. 6 vols (continuing). Heidelberg: Winter.
  6. SnE 1998 = Snorri Sturluson. 1998. Edda: Skáldskaparmál. Ed. Anthony Faulkes. 2 vols. University College London: Viking Society for Northern Research.
  7. Sturtevant, Albert Morey. 1952. ‘Etymological Comments on Certain Old Norse Proper Names in the Eddas’. PMLA 67, 1145-62.
  8. Internal references
  9. (forthcoming), ‘ Snorri Sturluson, Skáldskaparmál’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. . <> (accessed 20 September 2021)
  10. Kirsten Wolf (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Heilagra meyja drápa 27’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 908-9.
  11. Not published: do not cite ()


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