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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to Þjóð Yt 18I

[5] ok Ljósham* ‘and Ljóshamr (“the Light-skinned”)’: Emendation is necessary, since the line is too short in the K transcripts (ok ljós) but too long in the J transcripts and LaufE (ok ljóshǫmum). (a) The emendation adopted here produces a cpd that appears to be a nickname of Yngvarr (as proposed by Eggert Ó. Brím 1895, 12-13), an endingless dat. sg. (see LP: hamr) standing in apposition to hilmi ‘the ruler’ (so Noreen, Yt 1925). The nickname is of a common type: a bahuvrihi or exocentric nominal cpd characterising a person by a distinctive feature, cf. blátǫnn ‘Blue-tooth’ or hvítbeinn ‘White-bone’, and evidence that Yngvarr had a nickname based on ljós- ‘light, bright’ is found in HN (2003, 78): Ynguar, qui cognominatus est Canutus ‘Ynguar, who is nicknamed Canutus’. Canutus comes from Lat. canus ‘whitish-gray’ (HN 2003, 137), and cf. Yngvarr’s nickname inn hári ‘Grey-haired’ in the Ættartala in Flat (1860-8, I, 26). Other emendations are less satisfactory. (b) Finnur Jónsson (Hkr 1893-1901, I; Skj B) eliminates ok against all the mss. (c) Eggert Ó. Brím’s suggestion (1895, 12-13) of ljóshárum ‘the light-haired’ also goes against the ms. evidence. (d) The more extensive emendation of the line to ok ljóthamr ‘and ugly-skinned’ preferred by Kock (NN §1917) and Åkerlund (1939, 105), conceived as an adj. associated with eistneskr herr ‘Estonian force’, is to be rejected, because it ignores ljós, attested in all mss, and the attestation of Yngvarr’s nickname in HN .


  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. NN = Kock, Ernst Albin. 1923-44. Notationes Norrœnæ: Anteckningar till Edda och skaldediktning. Lunds Universitets årsskrift new ser. 1. 28 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. Hkr 1893-1901 = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1893-1901. Heimskringla: Nóregs konunga sǫgur af Snorri Sturluson. 4 vols. SUGNL 23. Copenhagen: Møller.
  6. HN = Historia Norwegiæ. In MHN 69-124.
  7. Eggert Ó. Brím. 1895. ‘Bemærkninger angående en del vers i “Noregs konungasögur” (Reykjavík 1892)’. ANF 11, 1-32.
  8. Yt 1925 = Noreen, Adolf, ed. 1925. Ynglingatal: Text, översättning och kommentar. Stockholm: Lagerström.
  9. HN 2003 = Ekrem, Inger and Lars Boje Mortensen, eds. 2003. Historia Norwegie. Trans. Peter Fisher. Copenhagen: Museum Tusculanum Press and University of Copenhagen.
  10. Åkerlund, Walter. 1939. Studier över Ynglingatal. Skrifta utgivna av Vetenskaps-Societeten i Lund 23. Lund: Gleerup.
  11. Internal references
  12. Diana Whaley 2012, ‘Flateyjarbók (Flat)’ 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, pp. clxi-clxii.
  13. Kari Ellen Gade 2009, ‘Laufás Edda (LaufE)’ 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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