Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to Hókr Eirfl 2I

[5] hreina húnlagar ‘the reindeer of the mast-top-liquid [SEA > SHIPS]’: (a) The sea-kenning húnlagar ‘of the mast-top-liquid’ is somewhat awkward, because lǫgr (gen. lagar) in itself means ‘sea’, but it can also mean ‘liquid, fluid’ (see NN §556 and Heggstad et al. 2008: lǫgr 3) and is taken in that sense here. For húnn ‘mast-top’, see Note to Þul Skipa 7/1III and Jesch (2001a, 160). (b) Finnur Jónsson (Skj B) splits up the compound húnlagar and renders the full kenning as lagar húnhreina (i.e. húnhreina lagar ‘mast-top-reindeer of the sea [SHIPS]’). Such a tmesis is unprecedented in the corpus of Old Norse poetry.


  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. Jesch, Judith. 2001a. Ships and Men in the Late Viking Age: The Vocabulary of Runic Inscriptions and Skaldic Verse. Woodbridge: Boydell.
  5. Internal references
  6. Elena Gurevich (ed.) 2017, ‘Anonymous Þulur, Skipa heiti 7’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 871.


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