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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to Þjóð Yt 13I

[14] rjóðr ôttunga ‘the reddener of kinsmen [= Aunn]’: All mss show rjóðr ‘reddener’ here, and this is retained in the present edn (so also Skald; Yt 1925; ÍF 26; Hkr 1991). Konráð Gíslason (1881, 226-9, followed by Finnur Jónsson in Hkr 1893-1901; Yng 1912; Skj B) suggests emending to hrjóðr ‘destroyer’ for semantic reasons, but while neither rjóðr nor the verb rjóða ‘to redden’ occurs elsewhere with a human object, the same is true of hrjóðr and hrjóða ‘to destroy’ (LP, Fritzner: hrjóða, rjóða), and hence emendation to hrjóðr is not justified (ÍF 26). ‘Reddener’ could be interpreted either as ‘he who reddens them in blood’, i.e. who kills (his kinsmen), or as ‘he who sacrifices them’ (so Schück 1905-10, 92-3), and colouring in blood may have been an important aspect of the cult (cf. Ranke 1978). If ‘sacrificer’ were the correct interpretation of rjóðr, the stanza would correspond to the narrative in Hkr (see Context above), and it is further supported by the adj. þrálífr ‘tenacious of life’ (Beyschlag 1950, 30; Krag 1991, 118). HN (2003, 76), by contrast, makes no mention of sacrifice, referring only to the advanced age of the king, here called Auchun, and to his decrepitude, which forces him to drink milk for the last nine years of his life. The similarity to the Greek myth of Kronos has been noted: Guðbrandur Vigfússon (CPB I, 523) and Eitrem (1927) assume an ancient commonality between the myths, while Noreen (Yt 1925) believes the sacrifice legend to be an educated fabrication by Snorri, perhaps a reformation of the Kronos myth. On possible religious-historical contexts of the Aunn legend, which religious historians locate in a periodic ritual king’s sacrifice, see ARG II, 421-2, 456.

References

  1. Bibliography
  2. Skj B = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1912-15b. Den norsk-islandske skjaldedigtning. B: Rettet tekst. 2 vols. Copenhagen: Villadsen & Christensen. Rpt. 1973. Copenhagen: Rosenkilde & Bagger.
  3. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  4. LP = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1931. Lexicon poeticum antiquæ linguæ septentrionalis: Ordbog over det norsk-islandske skjaldesprog oprindelig forfattet af Sveinbjörn Egilsson. 2nd edn. Copenhagen: Møller.
  5. Krag, Claus. 1991. Ynglingatal og Ynglingesaga. En studie i historiske Kilder. Studia Humaniora 2. Oslo: Universitetsforlaget.
  6. CPB = Gudbrand Vigfusson [Guðbrandur Vigfússon] and F. York Powell, eds. 1883. Corpus poeticum boreale: The Poetry of the Old Northern Tongue from the Earliest Times to the Thirteenth Century. 2 vols. Oxford: Clarendon. Rpt. 1965, New York: Russell & Russell.
  7. Fritzner = Fritzner, Johan. 1883-96. Ordbog over det gamle norske sprog. 3 vols. Kristiania (Oslo): Den norske forlagsforening. 4th edn. Rpt. 1973. Oslo etc.: Universitetsforlaget.
  8. ÍF 26-8 = Heimskringla. Ed. Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson. 1941-51.
  9. Hkr 1893-1901 = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1893-1901. Heimskringla: Nóregs konunga sǫgur af Snorri Sturluson. 4 vols. SUGNL 23. Copenhagen: Møller.
  10. Hkr 1991 = Bergljót S. Kristjánsdóttir et al., eds. 1991. Heimskringla. 3 vols. Reykjavík: Mál og menning.
  11. HN = Historia Norwegiæ. In MHN 69-124.
  12. ARG = Vries, Jan de. 1956-7. Altgermanische Religionsgeschichte. 2 vols. 2nd edn. Berlin: de Gruyter.
  13. Konráð Gíslason. 1881. ‘Nogle bemærkninger angående Ynglingatal’. ÅNOH, 185-251.
  14. Yng 1912 = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1912. Ynglingasaga. Copenhagen: Gad.
  15. Yt 1925 = Noreen, Adolf, ed. 1925. Ynglingatal: Text, översättning och kommentar. Stockholm: Lagerström.
  16. Beyschlag, Siegfried. 1950. Konungasögur: Untersuchungen zur Königssaga bis Snorri. Die älteren Übersichtswerke samt Ynglingasaga. Copenhagen: Munksgaard.
  17. Eitrem, Sam. 1927. ‘König Aun in Upsala und Kronos’. In Festskrift til Hjalmar Falk, 30. desember 1927 fra elever, venner og kolleger. Oslo: Aschehoug, 245-61.
  18. Ranke, Kurt. 1978. ‘Blut: §2. Volkskundliches’. In RGA, 2, 78-80.
  19. Schück, Henrik. 1905-10. Studier i Ynglingatal. Uppsala: Berling; Almqvist & Wiksell.
  20. Internal references
  21. Kari Ellen Gade 2009, ‘Heimskringla (Hkr)’ in Kari Ellen Gade (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 2: From c. 1035 to c. 1300. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 2. Turnhout: Brepols [check printed volume for citation].

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