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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to Anon (Ragn) 5VIII (Ragn 35)

[5] við lási lúðra ‘with our ships at anchor’: Lit. ‘at the locking-up of floating vessels’. The basic meaning of lúðr m. appears to be ‘hollowed-out tree-trunk’, from which it develops varied meanings (so Kock NN §1468; Christiansen 1952, 102, 105-6), e.g. ‘wooden stand for a millstone; cylinder-shaped wind instrument; hollowed-out wooden container; cradle’ (Fritzner: lúðr). The first three of Fritzner’s meanings but not the fourth are accepted by Holtsmark (1946). An important and contentious occurrence of the word lúðr is in Vafþr 35/6 (NK 51), where it is said that the giant Bergelmir var á lúðr um lagiðr ‘was placed on a lúðr’. Snorri’s interpretation (in SnE 2005, 11, cf. 121) of the word, seemingly as an ark on which Bergelmir escaped drowning, is questioned by Holtsmark, following Fritzner, and she assumes the meaning ‘wind-instrument’ in the present context, proposing the emendation of lási m. dat. sg. to láti, dat. sg. of læti n. pl. ‘noise’, thus giving: við láti lúðra ‘to the sound of trumpets’. However, others have envisaged nautical associations in the Vafþr context. Christiansen (1952, 105) suggests, if not ‘boat’, then a bench within a boat on which the giant was laid. Olsen (1964, 16-17 and 17 n.) accepts the meaning ‘millstone stand’ in Vafþr, but suggests that the meaning there is that Bergelmir was placed on such a stand which was then placed on a ship and abandoned to the waves; he compares Baldr’s funeral ship (SnE 2005, 46) and Scyld Scefing’s abandonment to the waves as a child in Beowulf, ll. 6-7, 45-6. See further Lorenz (1984, 152-56). Discussing in relation to Scyld Scefing the word lúðr as used in Vafþr and by Snorri, Fulk (1989, 316, 318) grants it the meaning ‘floating vessel’. Taking into account the synecdochic tendency of much skaldic diction (not least where ships are concerned, see Lie 1952, 46-50; cf. Þul Skipa 1-10III and the first Note to 36/6, below), the present ed., with Kock (NN §1468), favours the meaning ‘ship’ for lúðr here.


  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. Fritzner = Fritzner, Johan. 1883-96. Ordbog over det gamle norske sprog. 3 vols. Kristiania (Oslo): Den norske forlagsforening. 4th edn. Rpt. 1973. Oslo etc.: Universitetsforlaget.
  4. 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.
  5. Lie, Hallvard. 1952. ‘Skaldestil-studier’. MM, 1-92. Rpt. in Lie 1982, 109-200.
  6. SnE 2005 = Snorri Sturluson. 2005. Edda: Prologue and Gylfaginning. Ed. Anthony Faulkes. 2nd edn. University College London: Viking Society for Northern Research.
  7. Olsen, Magnus. 1964. Edda- og skaldekvad. Forarbeider til kommentar. VII. Gudedikt. Avhandlingar utgitt av Det Norske Videnskaps-Akademi i Oslo II. Hist.-filos. kl. new ser. 5. Oslo: Universitetsforlaget.
  8. Christiansen, Hallfrid. 1952. ‘Det nørrone ord lúðr’. MM, 101-06.
  9. Fulk, Robert D. 1989. ‘An Eddic Analogue to the Scyld Scefing Story’. Review of English Studies new ser. 40, 313-22.
  10. Holtsmark, Anne. 1946. ‘Det norrøne ordet lúðr’. MM, 9-65. Rpt. in Holtsmark 1956b, 66-80.
  11. Lorenz, Gottfried, ed. 1984. Snorri Sturluson: Gylfaginning. Texte, Übersetzung, Kommentar. Texte zur Forschung 48. Darmstadt: Wissenschaftlichen Buchgesellschaft.
  12. Internal references
  13. Elena Gurevich (ed.) 2017, ‘Anonymous Þulur, Skipa 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. 861.
  14. Not published: do not cite ()
  15. Not published: do not cite ()


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