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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to Hókr Eirfl 5I

[7] Sóti Sifjar ‘the Sóti <horse> of Sif <goddess> [WOLF]’: Sóti is the name of a horse (see Anon Þorgþ I 1/6III and Note there), and, since it is evidently the base-word of a kenning for ‘wolf’ here we should expect the determinant to be the name of, or a heiti for, a ‘troll-woman’ or ‘giantess’ (Meissner 124-5). Finnur Jónsson (Skj B) accordingly adds the determinant fjarðmývils ‘of the fjord-lump [ROCK]’ (l. 5) and construes Sóti Sifjar fjarðmývils ‘the Sóti of the Sif of the fjord-lump [ROCK > GIANTESS > WOLF]’. While that interpretation yields a perfectly acceptable wolf-kenning, it results in an unprecedented tripartite Type C-line (l. 5) and leaves trǫð ‘path’ (l. 6) without a determinant. Kock (NN §558) adopts the variant sævar ‘of the sea’ (so 310, 61, Bb, Flat; 54 has ‘sæfar’) as a determinant in a ship-kenning. He translates Sóti sævar vas lítt svangr as mager var ej havets häst ‘the horse of the sea was not lean’ without further comment. It is not clear how a ship can be ‘not lean’ (or ‘not hungry’), and both FskAˣ and Holm18 have Sifjar, which must be regarded as the lectio difficilior. Not much is known about the goddess Sif, wife of Þórr (see ARG II, 124; Note to Þul Kvenna II 1/4III), but it is doubtful whether she was of giant lineage. According to Snorri (Gylf, SnE 2005, 5), Þórr met Sif in the northern hemisphere, and he adds that Engi kann at segja ætt Sifjar ‘Nobody knows the lineage of Sif’. Hence it could be that Halldórr nodded here or, alternatively, that he had other and different information about Sif (cf. his nickname ókristni ‘Un-Christian’).


  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. Meissner = Meissner, Rudolf. 1921. Die Kenningar der Skalden: Ein Beitrag zur skaldischen Poetik. Rheinische Beiträge und Hülfsbücher zur germanischen Philologie und Volkskunde 1. Bonn and Leipzig: Schroeder. Rpt. 1984. Hildesheim etc.: Olms.
  5. SnE 2005 = Snorri Sturluson. 2005. Edda: Prologue and Gylfaginning. Ed. Anthony Faulkes. 2nd edn. University College London: Viking Society for Northern Research.
  6. ARG = Vries, Jan de. 1956-7. Altgermanische Religionsgeschichte. 2 vols. 2nd edn. Berlin: de Gruyter.
  7. Internal references
  8. Not published: do not cite (GylfIII)
  9. Elena Gurevich (ed.) 2017, ‘Anonymous Þulur, Þorgrímsþula I 1’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 670.
  10. Elena Gurevich (ed.) 2017, ‘Anonymous Þulur, Kvenna heiti ókend 1’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 960.


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