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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to GunnLeif Merl II 35VIII (Bret 35)

[All]: See Note to II 31 [All]. The verbs describing the action of the battle are chosen with regard to the base-words of each sword-kenning in ll. 1-4, creating a metaphorical congruence between them; thus ‘dogs’ growl and the ‘wolf’ bites. The substantivised adj. gramr ‘the cruel one’ (l. 5), taken here as a sword-heiti, is said to break men’s breasts, with the rib-cage possibly in mind. In ll. 7-10 the sword-kennings again show a congruence between base-word and verb; the ‘flame’ topples heads, represented as tall buildings being engulfed by fire, and, using similar imagery, ‘strongholds’ are smashed to pieces. It is possible that Gunnlaugr had mythological referents in mind when he wrote of ‘dogs’ (garmar, l. 2) and a wolf (freki, lit. ‘greedy one’ or ‘bold one’, l. 3), because Garmr is the name of a mythical dog in eddic poetry (Vsp 44/1, 58/1; cf. SnE 2005, 34, 59), while Freki is the name of one of Óðinn’s wolves (SnE 2005, 32; Þul Vargs 1/5III; cf. Vsp 44/2). Gramr (l. 5) may also be reminiscent of the name of the hero Sigurðr’s sword (cf. Reg prose (NK 177) and Þul Sverða 1/5III

References

  1. Bibliography
  2. NK = Neckel, Gustav and Hans Kuhn (1899), eds. 1983. Edda: Die Lieder des Codex Regius nebst verwandten Denkmälern. 2 vols. I: Text. 5th edn. Heidelberg: Winter.
  3. SnE 2005 = Snorri Sturluson. 2005. Edda: Prologue and Gylfaginning. Ed. Anthony Faulkes. 2nd edn. University College London: Viking Society for Northern Research.
  4. Internal references
  5. Elena Gurevich (ed.) 2017, ‘Anonymous Þulur, Vargs heiti 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. 903.
  6. Elena Gurevich (ed.) 2017, ‘Anonymous Þulur, Sverða heiti 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. 790.
  7. Not published: do not cite ()
  8. Not published: do not cite ()

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