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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to Hókr Eirfl 6I

[5, 6] hallands hafvita ‘of the diminisher of the ocean-beacon [GOLD > GENEROUS MAN = Eiríkr]’: This kenning is problematic. Hafvita ‘of the ocean-beacon’ (l. 5) can only be a kenning for ‘gold’ functioning as the determinant of a another kenning (or qualifying another noun), and the only apparent candidate for a base-word is hallands (l. 6), a word that can either denote the (then) Danish district of Halland or mean ‘of the rocky, mountainous land’. (a) Finnur Jónsson (Skj B; following Konráð Gíslason 1892, 144) emends to hallendr (m. nom. pl.), a nomen agentis from the verb halla ‘pour out, lean to one side’ (see LP: halla), which he construes as the subject of hǫfðu ‘had’ (l. 5). Kock (Skald) adopts that emendation, but argues (NN §1975) that hallendr is used in the more general sense ‘diminishers’ (-förminskare). (b) Because all mss have a form of this word that ends in a gen. sg. ‑s, Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson (ÍF 26; followed by ÍF 29 and, tentatively, the present edn), takes hallands as the gen. sg. of the agent noun hallandi (cf. the pl. hallendr above). The usual gen. sg. form of that noun is hallanda, but forms ending in ‑nds are attested in compounds (see ANG §422 Anm. 4). (c) Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson also suggests tentatively that hallands could mean ‘of the rocky land [NORWAY]’ which could qualify gram ‘lord’ (l. 6) and refer to Óláfr as king of Norway. If so, the gold-kenning hafvita ‘of the ocean-beacon’ can only be construed with skeiðum ‘with warships’ (l. 8), i.e. skeiðum hafvita ‘with warships of gold’, but that interpretation is at best tenuous.


  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. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  4. NN = Kock, Ernst Albin. 1923-44. Notationes Norrœnæ: Anteckningar till Edda och skaldediktning. Lunds Universitets årsskrift new ser. 1. 28 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  5. 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.
  6. ANG = Noreen, Adolf. 1923. Altnordische Grammatik I: Altisländische und altnorwegische Grammatik (Laut- und Flexionslehre) unter Berücksichtigung des Urnordischen. 4th edn. Halle: Niemeyer. 1st edn. 1884. 5th unrev. edn. 1970. Tübingen: Niemeyer.
  7. ÍF 26-8 = Heimskringla. Ed. Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson. 1941-51.
  8. ÍF 29 = Ágrip af Nóregskonunga sǫgum; Fagrskinna—Nóregs konungatal. Ed. Bjarni Einarsson. 1985.
  9. Konráð Gíslason, ed. 1892. Udvalg af oldnordiske skjaldekvad, med anmærkninger. Copenhagen: Gyldendal.


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