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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to Eskál Vell 3I

[3] Óðrœris ‘of Óðrœrir <mythical vat>’: In Skm (SnE 1998, I, 4) this is the name of one of the three vats in which the giant Suttungr stores the mead of poetry before Óðinn steals it. But de Vries (ARG II, 72) and Frank (1981, 162) may be right to interpret Óðrœrir as the mead of poetry itself, which is certainly plausible with respect to the name’s origins (see below). On the basis of the ms. spellings, several eds have chosen Óðreris (SnE 1848-87, I; SnE 1931; SnE 1998), others Óðrøris (Skj B; LP). But Björn Magnússon Ólsen (1915b, 82) and Lindroth (1915, 176) are justified in choosing Óðrœris in light of the name’s composition. It is a cpd of óðr ‘soul, poem’ and hrœra ‘to move’, but scholars diverge on the interpretation. Two suggestions are (a) ‘that which moves the soul’ (LP: Óðrørir; North 1991, 47) or (b) ‘he who stirs, mixes poetry’ (Björn Magnússon Ólsen 1915b, 83; LP: hrœra 2). (c) However, in view of the generic meaning of hrœra, ‘to move’, the sense ‘that which sets the poem in motion’ is preferable. This would suggest that Óðrœrir denoted ‘mead of poetry’ at the time it was coined. It is unclear what the two further instances of Óðrœrir (Hávm 107/4, 140/6) denote, but they seem to indicate ‘mead of poetry’ rather than the vat from the myth (cf. S-G I, 129, 140). It seems that already Einarr skálaglamm uses Óðrœrir as the name of the vat.


  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. SnE 1848-87 = Snorri Sturluson. 1848-87. Edda Snorra Sturlusonar: Edda Snorronis Sturlaei. Ed. Jón Sigurðsson et al. 3 vols. Copenhagen: Legatum Arnamagnaeanum. Rpt. Osnabrück: Zeller, 1966.
  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. Frank, Roberta. 1981. ‘Snorri and the Mead of Poetry’. In Dronke et al. 1981, 155-70.
  6. SnE 1931 = Snorri Sturluson. 1931. Edda Snorra Sturlusonar. Ed. Finnur Jónsson. Copenhagen: Gyldendal.
  7. SnE 1998 = Snorri Sturluson. 1998. Edda: Skáldskaparmál. Ed. Anthony Faulkes. 2 vols. University College London: Viking Society for Northern Research.
  8. S-G = Gering, Hugo. 1927-31. Kommentar zu den Liedern der Edda. Nach dem Tode des Verfassers herausgegeben von B. Sijmons. I: Götterlieder. II: Heldenlieder. Halle: Buchhandlung des Waisenhauses.
  9. ARG = Vries, Jan de. 1956-7. Altgermanische Religionsgeschichte. 2 vols. 2nd edn. Berlin: de Gruyter.
  10. North, Richard. 1991. Pagan Words and Christian Meanings. Costerus n.s. 81. Amsterdam: Rodopi.
  11. Björn Magnússon Ólsen. 1915b. ‘Till Eddakvadene’. ANF 31, 52-95.
  12. Lindroth, Hjalmar. 1915. ‘Boðn, Són och Óðreyrir’. MM, 174-7.
  13. Internal references
  14. Not published: do not cite (SkmIII)
  15. Not published: do not cite ()


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