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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to Eil Þdr 3III

[2] farmr arma meinsvarra ‘the cargo of the arms [LOVER] of the harm-woman [= Angrboða > = Loki]’: This kenning must be the sentence’s subject. Its base-word, ‘lover’, is expressed by another kenning, ‘cargo of the arms’. Similar to this are farmr arma Gunnlaðar ‘cargo of the arms [LOVER] of Gunnlǫð <giantess> [= Óðinn]’ Steinþ Frag 1/2 and farmr arma Sigvinjar ‘cargo of the arms [LOVER] of Sigyn <goddess> [= Loki]’ Þjóð Haustl 7/2. These examples show that determinants in this type of kenning must be the name of a female being. This edn follows Kock’s (NN §2106) suggestion that meinsvarans (so all mss) should instead read meinsvarrans ‘of the harm-woman’, from mein n. ‘harm’ and the weak m. noun svarri ‘woman’. This woman must be the giantess Angrboða, with whom Loki begot the three monsters that threaten the world (Fenrisúlfr, Miðgarðsormr and Hel; Gylf, SnE 2005, 27). This kenning fits very well here, because Loki is also the source of the evil awaiting Þórr and Þjálfi (see st. 1). That Loki’s advice is based on his incautiousness in venturing into giantland and being forced to bring Þórr to Geirrøðr without his weapons, is only related by Snorri (SnE 1998, I, 24) and has to be left out of consideration here. The only problem is that all mss have ‘meinsvarans’, i.e. the word contains the def. art. ‑ns which Kock (ibid.) assumes was a later insertion. This edn therefore normalises to meinsvarra in keeping with editorial practice. Other eds have sought to supplement farmr arma differently: farmr arma hapts meinsvarans ‘cargo of the arms of the god of false witness [= Geirrøðr > = Gjálp and Greip]’ (Sveinbjörn Egilsson 1851, 15); farmr arma hapts galdrs ‘cargo of the arms of the deity of magic [= Sigyn > = Loki]’ (Finnur Jónsson 1900b, 378; Skj B); farmr arma hapts sóknar ‘cargo of the arms of the deity of battle [= Sigyn > = Loki]’ (Guðmundur Finnbogason 1924, 174); farmr arma Meinsvárangs ‘cargo of the arms of Meinsvárangr <giant> [GIANTESS]’ (Reichardt 1948, 340; Davidson 1983, 575); farmr arma hapts sóknar meinsvárans ‘cargo of the arms of the barrier to the trial for bearing false witness [= Syn > = Þórr]’ (Kiil 1956, 100-1). Kock (NN §445) interprets this last kenning as ‘cargo of the arms of the deity of revenge for bearing false witness’ [= Vôr > = Loki]. All of these proposals fall short because they either contain arbitrary syntactic constructions or require ad hoc assumptions about mythology.


  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. NN = Kock, Ernst Albin. 1923-44. Notationes Norrœnæ: Anteckningar till Edda och skaldediktning. Lunds Universitets årsskrift new ser. 1. 28 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  4. SnE 1998 = Snorri Sturluson. 1998. Edda: Skáldskaparmál. Ed. Anthony Faulkes. 2 vols. University College London: Viking Society for Northern Research.
  5. Davidson, Daphne L. 1983. ‘Earl Hákon and his Poets’. D. Phil. thesis. Oxford.
  6. SnE 2005 = Snorri Sturluson. 2005. Edda: Prologue and Gylfaginning. Ed. Anthony Faulkes. 2nd edn. University College London: Viking Society for Northern Research.
  7. Finnur Jónsson. 1900b. ‘Þórsdrápa Eilífs Goðrúnarsonar’. Oversigt over det Kgl. Danske videnskabernes selskabs forhandlinger 1900, 369-410.
  8. Kiil, Vilhelm. 1956. ‘Eilífr Goðrúnarson’s Þórsdrápa’. ANF 71, 89-167.
  9. Reichardt, Konstantin. 1948. ‘Die Thórsdrápa des Eilífr Goðrúnarson: Textinterpretation’. PMLA 63, 329-91.
  10. Sveinbjörn Egilsson. 1851. Tvö brot af Haustlaung og Þórsdrápa. Reykjavík: Prentað á kostnað skólasjóðsins.
  11. Guðmundur Finnbogason. 1924. ‘Um Þórsdrápu. Nokkrar athugasemdir’. Skírnir, 172-81.
  12. Internal references
  13. Not published: do not cite (GylfIII)
  14. R. D. Fulk (ed.) 2017, ‘Steinþórr, Fragment 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. 390.
  15. Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.) 2017, ‘Þjóðólfr ór Hvini, Haustlǫng 7’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 441.


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