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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to Þjóð Yt 9I

[10, 11-12] temja svalan hest vers Signýjar ‘tame the cool horse of the lover of Signý [= Hagbarðr > GALLOWS]’: The image is comparable to the widespread expression ‘ride the gallows’; cf. st. 12/5-6 and, with similar use of the verb temja ‘tame’, Eyv Hál 4/1-4; cf. also OE þæt his byre rīde giong on galgan ‘that his son should ride, young, on the gallows’ (Beowulf ll. 2445-6, Beowulf 2008, 84), and Early ModGer. ir müst den galgen raiten ‘you must ride the gallows’ (Keller 1853, 428; cf. also Amira 1922, 100). The determinant of the kenning, vers Signýjar ‘the lover of Signý’, is based on the Danish legend of Hagbarðr, who was hanged by his lover’s father. The story is known from Saxo Grammaticus (Saxo 2005, I, 7, 7, 1-17, pp. 464-77) and forms the basis for several skaldic kennings (Meissner 435).


  1. Bibliography
  2. Meissner = Meissner, Rudolf. 1921. Die Kenningar der Skalden: Ein Beitrag zur skaldischen Poetik. Rheinische Beiträge und Hülfsbücher zur germanischen Philologie und Volkskunde 1. Bonn and Leipzig: Schroeder. Rpt. 1984. Hildesheim etc.: Olms.
  3. Beowulf 2008 = Fulk, Robert D., Robert E. Bjork and John D. Niles, eds. 2008. Klaeber’s Beowulf and the Fight at Finnsburg. 4th rev. edn of Beowulf and the Fight at Finnsburg, ed. Fr. Klaeber. Toronto, Buffalo and London: University of Toronto Press.
  4. Saxo 2005 = Friis-Jensen, Karsten, ed. 2005. Saxo Grammaticus: Gesta Danorum / Danmarkshistorien. Trans. Peter Zeeberg. 2 vols. Copenhagen: Det danske sprog- og litteraturselskab & Gads forlag.
  5. Amira, Karl von. 1922. Die germanischen Todesstrafen: Untersuchungen zur Rechts- und Religionsgeschichte. Abhandlungen der Bayerischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, Philosophisch-Philologische und Historische Kl. 31.3. . München: Verlag der Bayerischen Akademie der Wissenschaften.
  6. Keller, Adelbert. 1853. Fastnachtspiele aus dem fünfzehnten Jahrhundert. Stuttgart: Litterarischer Verein.
  7. Internal references
  8. Russell Poole (ed.) 2012, ‘Eyvindr skáldaspillir Finnsson, Háleygjatal 4’ 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. 202.
  9. Not published: do not cite ()


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