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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to Þjóð Yt 26I

[6] ofsa ‘powerfully’: Ofsa has been interpreted variously: (a) As a p. n. Ofsi/Upsi (Hkr 1893-1901, IV; Yng 1912; Skj B; LP: 1. Upsi). This interpretation requires the reading ok ‘and’ to be selected in l. 8, since it would connect the two place names Ofsa/Upsa and Vestmarir/-marr. The Flat version is to be understood this way. However, a place called Ofsa/Upsa cannot be shown to have existed, and the reading ok creates syntactic difficulties (see Note to l. 8 of Vestmari). (b) Many authors (from Bugge 1871b, 388 to the present edn) instead view ofsa as a noun, ‘with violence, force, tyranny’, hence ‘powerfully’. (c) Because the noun ofsi normally has negative connotations, Noreen (1912a, 15) suggests linking ofsa with the adj. víðri to create a phrase meaning ‘exceedingly far’ which he compares to ofsaharðr ‘exceedingly powerful’, ofsamikill ‘exceedingly large’ and ofsaþrútuligr ‘exceedingly arrogant’. However, these examples are compounds; to read ofsavíðri as a cpd would result in a tmesis, and even to read ofsa víðri as a phrase would split the line ofsa forðum. Either way the result is stylistically untenable for Yt.


  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. 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.
  4. Hkr 1893-1901 = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1893-1901. Heimskringla: Nóregs konunga sǫgur af Snorri Sturluson. 4 vols. SUGNL 23. Copenhagen: Møller.
  5. Yng 1912 = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1912. Ynglingasaga. Copenhagen: Gad.
  6. Bugge, Sophus. 1871b. ‘Om Skæreid i Skiringssal’. HT(N) 1, 385-8.
  7. Noreen, Adolf. 1912a. ‘Till Ynglingatal’. In Xenia Lideniana: Festskrift tillägnad Prof. Evald Lidén på hans femtioårsdag, den 3 oktober 1912. Stockholm: Norstedt, 1-15.
  8. Internal references
  9. 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.
  10. Edith Marold with the assistance of Vivian Busch, Jana Krüger, Ann-Dörte Kyas and Katharina Seidel, translated from German by John Foulks 2012, ‘(Introduction to) Þjóðólfr ór Hvini, Ynglingatal’ 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. 3.


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