Cookies on our website

We use cookies on this website, mainly to provide a secure browsing experience but also to collect statistics on how the website is used. You can find out more about the cookies we set, the information we store and how we use it on the cookies page.



Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

Menu Search

Note to Eskál Vell 2I

[1] bára Boðnar ‘the wave of Boðn <mythical vat> [POEM]’: This is a periphrasis for ‘mead of poetry’, which is used as a metonymical expression for ‘poem’ (see Note to st. 1 [All]). Boðn is one of the three vats in which the giant Suttungr kept the mead of poetry (SnE 1998, I, 4). Frank (1981, 162) thinks it a common noun meaning ‘vessel’ on the basis of etymologically related words in OE and ModIcel. However, the etymology of Boðn is disputed. Kock (1899, 109) relates it to OIcel. boð ‘feast’; Lindroth (1915, 174) relates it to OE byden, MLG boden(e) ‘vat, barrel’. Kock’s suggestion (NN §392), followed by Frank (1981, 162) and Krömmelbein (1983, 173-4), of combining bára Boðnar berg-Saxa into a kenning ‘the wave of the vat [DRINK?] of the mountain-Saxons [GIANTS > POEM]’, is impossible because of its structure: the kenning is overdetermined, i.e. it contains two determinants, Boðn and berg-Saxa. Furthermore the kenning bára Boðnar is attested elsewhere, albeit in the C13th, without the additional determinant ‘giants’, in hrœrik báru Boðnar ‘I stir (i.e. I deliver) the wave of Boðn’ (SigvSt Lv 2/3IV).


  1. Bibliography
  2. NN = Kock, Ernst Albin. 1923-44. Notationes Norrœnæ: Anteckningar till Edda och skaldediktning. Lunds Universitets årsskrift new ser. 1. 28 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  3. Frank, Roberta. 1981. ‘Snorri and the Mead of Poetry’. In Dronke et al. 1981, 155-70.
  4. Krömmelbein, Thomas. 1983. Skaldische Metaphorik. Studien zur Funktion der Kenningsprache in skaldischen Dichtungen des 9. und 10. Jahrhunderts. Hochschulproduktionen 7. Kirchzarten: Burg-Verlag.
  5. SnE 1998 = Snorri Sturluson. 1998. Edda: Skáldskaparmál. Ed. Anthony Faulkes. 2 vols. University College London: Viking Society for Northern Research.
  6. Kock, Axel. 1899. ‘Etymologisch-mythologische Untersuchungen’. IF 10, 90-111.
  7. Lindroth, Hjalmar. 1915. ‘Boðn, Són och Óðreyrir’. MM, 174-7.
  8. Internal references
  9. Not published: do not cite (SigvSt Lv 2IV)


Log in

This service is only available to members of the relevant projects, and to purchasers of the skaldic volumes published by Brepols.
This service uses cookies. By logging in you agree to the use of cookies on your browser.