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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to Sigv Nesv 3I

[2] Karlhǫfða ‘Karlhǫfði (“Man-head”)’: Viking Age ships were most often named after animals (Jesch 2001a, 136-7). Snorri (ÍF 27, 59) explains Karlhǫfði as being named after a king’s head figurehead carved by King Óláfr himself, which set a fashion for rulers’ ships. Jesch (2001a, 137) inclines instead to the suggestion of Paasche (1914, 13) that the ship-name was influenced by Óláfr’s royal model Charlemagne (ON Karlamagnús).


  1. Bibliography
  2. Jesch, Judith. 2001a. Ships and Men in the Late Viking Age: The Vocabulary of Runic Inscriptions and Skaldic Verse. Woodbridge: Boydell.
  3. ÍF 26-8 = Heimskringla. Ed. Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson. 1941-51.
  4. Paasche, Fredrik. 1914. Kristendom og kvad: En studie i norrøn middelalder. Christiania (Oslo): Aschehoug. Rpt. in Paasche 1948, 29-212.
  5. Internal references
  6. Not published: do not cite (RunVI)


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