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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to Þul Sverða 9III

[1] fǫlvir (m.) ‘pale one’: Fǫlvir is attested only in the present þula. Based on the other heiti in ll. 1-3 of this stanza, we should expect it to have the active meaning ‘pale-maker’ (i.e. ‘killer’; see Note to fylvingr ‘pale-maker’, st. 7/1). The difficulty, however, is that a verb *fǫlva ‘make pale’ (from the adj. fǫlr ‘pale’) does not exist, unless it was created by the þulur compiler and coined especially for this list. According to Falk (1914b, 50), the heiti is a new formation from the adj. fǫlr ‘pale’, a colour that is frequently used to describe weapons (cf. OE fealuhilte sweord ‘the yellow-hilted sword’ in The Battle of Maldon (l. 166; Pope 2001, 20) and fǫlvir oddar ‘pale points’ in HHund I 53/3 (NK 138). The variant fǫlnir has a parallel among the hawk-heiti (Veðrfǫlnir lit. ‘one growing pale in the storm’, Þul Hauks 2/4).


  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. Falk, Hjalmar. 1914b. Altnordische Waffenkunde. Videnskapsselskapets skrifter, II. Hist.-filos. kl. 1914, 6. Kristiania (Oslo): Dybwad.
  4. Pope, John C., ed. 2001. Eight Old English Poems. 3rd rev. edn by Robert D. Fulk. New York and London: Norton & Company.
  5. Internal references
  6. Elena Gurevich (ed.) 2017, ‘Anonymous Þulur, Hauks heiti 2’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 943.


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