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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to ÞKolb Eirdr 13I

[2] Skjǫldungr of renndi ‘Skjǫldungr ... ran’: Line 2 is problematic, and no ideal solution presents itself. (a) Skjǫldungr of is emended from ms. skjǫldungum (as also in Skj B; Skald; ÍF 35) in order to provide the antecedant that rel. sás ‘who’ requires. It is likely that in the process of transmission, an expletive particle um (earlier of) has been reanalysed as the dat. pl. ending of the preceding word, and final -r has been lost, giving Skjǫldungum. Skjǫldungr is a general ruler-heiti, but here and in Ótt Knútdr 10/1 may allude to Knútr’s royal Danish ancestry, and to a tradition of Danish rule in England (Frank 1994b, 110-13). Skjǫldungr is taken in apposition to Knútr (l. 4). As well as being an emendation, skjǫldungr has the drawback that it produces a metrically irregular line, whereas skjǫldungum produces a standard Type D2-line with a single word (simplex or cpd) occupying positions 1-4 (cf. Gade 1995a, 113-14). (b) To retain ms. skjǫldungum would therefore be preferable, yet it has no clear function in the helmingr. Renndi skjǫldungum ‘made princes flee’ would be possible in itself (cf. a similar statement in HSt Rst 20/5-6), but it would conflict with the stanza’s focus on a meeting of two allies; the identity of the skjǫldungar would be unclear; and renndi ‘ran, impelled’ already has a dat. object in langskipum ‘longships’. (c) Skj B’s sá skjǫldungr, es kníði ... ‘that prince who pounded ...’ entails syntactic problems (on which see NN §583; cf. §1853A) as well as the problems noted for interpretation (a).


  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. Gade, Kari Ellen. 1995a. The Structure of Old Norse dróttkvætt Poetry. Islandica 49. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.
  6. ÍF 35 = Danakonunga sǫgur. Ed. Bjarni Guðnason. 1982.
  7. Frank, Roberta. 1994b. ‘King Cnut in the Verse of his Skalds’. In Rumble 1994, 106-24.
  8. Internal references
  9. Rolf Stavnem (ed.) 2012, ‘Hallar-Steinn, Rekstefja 20’ in Diana Whaley (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 1: From Mythical Times to c. 1035. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 1. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 920.
  10. Matthew Townend (ed.) 2012, ‘Óttarr svarti, Knútsdrápa 10’ in Diana Whaley (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 1: From Mythical Times to c. 1035. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 1. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 779.


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