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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to Þul Óðins 2III

[3] Fráríðr: This cpd is not attested elsewhere in skaldic poetry, but it is attested in the rímur (Finnur Jónsson 1926-8: Fráríðr). The first element may be derived from the adj. frár ‘quick, vigorous’. That adj. never occurs in connection with riding (CVC: frár), however, and frá- is more convincingly connected with the adv. frá ‘away’. If so, Fráríðr is an antonym to Atríðr (st. 1/3 above; cf. Falk 1924, 10-11). Thus the name would translate as ‘one who rides away’. Attempts have been made to explain the pair Atríðr-Fráríðr as a reflection of archaic beliefs according to which the god of the dead is coming from and travelling back to the Other World on horseback (e.g. in Bdr 2 (NK 277) Óðinn is said to ride Sleipnir to the realm of Death, Niflheliar til ‘to Niflhel’). Cf. also the kenning for Hel, Gnô glitnis ‘the Gná <goddess> of the Glitnir <horse>’, in Þjóð Yt 7/3I (see Note there and glitnir in Þul Hesta 1/3) and the Saami god of the dead, Rota, who resembles Óðinn in many respects (see von Unwerth 1911, 79), as well as folk-tales about the helhäst ‘death-horse’ (Turville-Petre 1964, 57). According to Turville-Petre (loc. cit.), close association between horses and death is suggested by archaeological evidence (hundreds of horses have been found buried in graves throughout Scandinavia). See Note to ÚlfrU Húsdr 10/2, 3.


  1. Bibliography
  2. CVC = Cleasby, Richard, Gudbrand Vigfusson [Guðbrandur Vigfússon] and W. A. Craigie. 1957. An Icelandic-English Dictionary. 2nd edn. Oxford: Clarendon.
  3. Turville-Petre, Gabriel. 1964. Myth and Religion of the North. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson.
  4. 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.
  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. Unwerth, Wolf von. 1911. Untersuchungen über Totenkult und Ódinnverehrung bei Nordgermanen und Lappen: Mit Excursen zur altnordischen Literaturgeschichte. Germanistische Abhandlungen 37. Breslau: M. & H. Marcus.
  8. Internal references
  9. Elena Gurevich (ed.) 2017, ‘Anonymous Þulur, Hesta heiti 1’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 935.
  10. Not published: do not cite ()
  11. Edith Marold (ed.) 2012, ‘Þjóðólfr ór Hvini, Ynglingatal 7’ 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. 19.
  12. Edith Marold (ed.) 2017, ‘Úlfr Uggason, Húsdrápa 10’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 420.


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