Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to Þjóð Yt 22I

[5-6] hlífi-Nauma hallvarps ‘the protecting Nauma <goddess> of the cairn [= Hel]’: Hel, goddess of death, also features in st. 7. Nauma appears to be a goddess or giantess, whose name occurs as the base-word in woman-kennings: see Note to Ótt Lv 3/8. The gen. hallvarps ‘of the cairn’ is to be understood as the object of the verbal element hlífi ‘protecting’ which is attached to Nauma. The hap. leg. hallvarp, lit. ‘stone-throwing’ is best interpreted as ‘heap of stones, cairn’ (so Wadstein 1895a, 76 and subsequent eds); Falk (1923, 78) compares New Norw. varp, verp ‘heap of stones commemorating an event, cairn’. Although no other source associates Hel with a cairn, such an association is plausible given the use of cairns in burials or as commemorative monuments.


  1. Bibliography
  2. Wadstein, Elis. 1895a. ‘Bidrag till tolkning och belysning av skalde- ock Edda-dikter. I. Till tolkningen av Ynglingatal’. ANF 11, 64-92.
  3. Falk, Hjalmar. 1923. Review of Rudolf Meissner. 1921. Die Kenningar der Skalden. Bonn and Leipzig: Schroeder. ANF 41, 59-89.
  4. Internal references
  5. R. D. Fulk (ed.) 2012, ‘Óttarr svarti, Lausavísur 3’ 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. 788.


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