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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to Hfr Hákdr 5III

[3] barrhaddaða ‘foliage-haired’: Barr n. means both ‘barley’ and ‘pine-needles’. Finnur Jónsson (LP: barrhaddaðr) favours the latter, with reference to the dense evergreen forests of Norway (cf. Tindr’s Hákdr 7/7, 8I, which calls Norway mǫrk heiðins dóms ‘forest of heathendom’), but ‘barley’ would fit well with the fertility theme and is commoner in skaldic verse. Possibly the ambiguity is deliberate, as Davidson (1983, 502) and Dronke (1997, 413-14) suggest. The conceit of plants as the hair of the land is a common one, perhaps drawing on the myth of the primeval giant Ymir (Gylf, SnE 2005, 11-12; Grí 40). Ms. R’s meaningless ‘biarr’ is presumably a scribal error.


  1. Bibliography
  2. 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.
  3. Davidson, Daphne L. 1983. ‘Earl Hákon and his Poets’. D. Phil. thesis. Oxford.
  4. SnE 2005 = Snorri Sturluson. 2005. Edda: Prologue and Gylfaginning. Ed. Anthony Faulkes. 2nd edn. University College London: Viking Society for Northern Research.
  5. Dronke, Ursula, ed. and trans. 1997. The Poetic Edda. II: Mythological Poems. Oxford: Clarendon.
  6. Internal references
  7. Not published: do not cite (GylfIII)
  8. Not published: do not cite ()


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