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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to Þhorn Gldr 2I

[5, 8] mœtir vébrautar ‘attender of the standard-road [BATTLEFIELD > WARRIOR]’: (a) This interpretation appears less problematic than the alternatives, although the kenning is slightly unusual in that warrior-kennings with mœtir ‘meeter, attender’ as base-word normally use a word for ‘battle’ rather than ‘battlefield’ as the determinant (see Meissner 298). On the interpretation of vébraut as ‘battlefield’, see Note to st. 1/1-4. Several eds add to this kenning tanna lagar ‘of the teeth of the sea [STONES]’, but none gives a credible interpretation of the resulting vébraut tanna lagar. (b) One interpretation takes it to be a sword-kenning ‘holy path of the teeth of the sea [STONE (= whetstone) > SWORD]’ (ÓT 1892, 345; Hkr 1893-1901, IV). (c) In another view it is a kenning for ‘gold’: ‘teeth of the sea [STONES] of the standard-road [SEA > GOLD]’. Here the mœtir ‘enemy’ of ‘gold’ is interpreted as ‘generous ruler’ (Reichardt 1928, 20-1, followed by Faulkes in SnE 1998, I, 214). However, this supposed gold-kenning deviates from the rules of kenning formation in several ways (see Finnur Jónsson 1929b, 135-6). (d) Kock (NN §231) emends lagar tanna to íugtanna ‘of the bear’, combines it with mœtir, and views the resulting ‘confronter of the bear’ as a reference to a youthful adventure of Haraldr hárfagri. However, the emendation itself and the resulting interpretation are improbable. (e) ÍF 26 (followed by Hkr 1991) conjoins mœtir and Nǫkkva, referring to a Nǫkkvi who is named in HHárf (ÍF 26, 103) as a king of Naumdalr (Namdalen) who participates in a rebellion against Haraldr. However, this is highly unlikely because the supposed king is probably an extrapolation from this stanza on Snorri’s part.


  1. Bibliography
  2. NN = Kock, Ernst Albin. 1923-44. Notationes Norrœnæ: Anteckningar till Edda och skaldediktning. Lunds Universitets årsskrift new ser. 1. 28 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  3. 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.
  4. ÍF 26-8 = Heimskringla. Ed. Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson. 1941-51.
  5. Hkr 1893-1901 = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1893-1901. Heimskringla: Nóregs konunga sǫgur af Snorri Sturluson. 4 vols. SUGNL 23. Copenhagen: Møller.
  6. Hkr 1991 = Bergljót S. Kristjánsdóttir et al., eds. 1991. Heimskringla. 3 vols. Reykjavík: Mál og menning.
  7. SnE 1998 = Snorri Sturluson. 1998. Edda: Skáldskaparmál. Ed. Anthony Faulkes. 2 vols. University College London: Viking Society for Northern Research.
  8. Reichardt, Konstantin. 1928. Studien zu den Skalden des 9. und 10. Jahrhunderts. Palaestra 159. Leipzig: Mayer & Müller.
  9. ÓT 1892 = Eggert Ó. Brím, ed. 1892. Saga Óláfs Tryggvasonar. Reykjavík: Ísafoldarprentsmiðja.
  10. Finnur Jónsson. 1929b. ‘Skjaldekvad’. ANF 45, 127-49.
  11. Internal references
  12. Not published: do not cite (HHárfII)


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