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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to Eil Þdr 21III

[2] hógbrotningi skógar ‘with the handy weapon of the forest’: The only other attestation of the word brotningr is a sword-heiti in the þulur (Þul Sverða 7/3). In Þdr, this word could be interpreted in two ways. (a) Brotningr could be a heiti for ‘sword’, made from pieces of a broken sword (Falk 1914b, 48; LP: brotningr), and mean ‘weapon’ (adopted in the present edn). ‘Weapon of the forest’ could refer to a staff of wood and be synonymous with Gríðarvǫlr (see Note to st. 10/8), as most eds believe (Sveinbjörn Egilsson 1851, 20; Finnur Jónsson 1900b, 401; SnE 1998, II, 315). (b) Some scholars (Sveinbjörn Egilsson 1851, 20; Kiil 1956, 164; Reichardt 1948, 390), however, regard brotningr as a derivation of the weak verb brotna ‘break’ (intransitive), a fragment; if so, the translation of hógbrotningr skógar is ‘broken-off twig’ and would characterise Þórr’s weapon as an improvised weapon. In this case, identification with Gríðarvǫlr is rather unlikely. Davidson (1983, 534) suggests that nesta mein (interpreted as ‘provisions of harm’) and hógbrotningr skógar both refer to the hammer Mjǫlnir, which is not persuasive.


  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. Falk, Hjalmar. 1914b. Altnordische Waffenkunde. Videnskapsselskapets skrifter, II. Hist.-filos. kl. 1914, 6. Kristiania (Oslo): Dybwad.
  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. Finnur Jónsson. 1900b. ‘Þórsdrápa Eilífs Goðrúnarsonar’. Oversigt over det Kgl. Danske videnskabernes selskabs forhandlinger 1900, 369-410.
  7. Kiil, Vilhelm. 1956. ‘Eilífr Goðrúnarson’s Þórsdrápa’. ANF 71, 89-167.
  8. Reichardt, Konstantin. 1948. ‘Die Thórsdrápa des Eilífr Goðrúnarson: Textinterpretation’. PMLA 63, 329-91.
  9. Sveinbjörn Egilsson. 1851. Tvö brot af Haustlaung og Þórsdrápa. Reykjavík: Prentað á kostnað skólasjóðsins.
  10. Internal references
  11. Edith Marold with the assistance of Vivian Busch, Jana Krüger, Ann-Dörte Kyas and Katharina Seidel, translated from German by John Foulks 2017, ‘(Introduction to) Eilífr Goðrúnarson, Þórsdrápa’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 68.
  12. Elena Gurevich (ed.) 2017, ‘Anonymous Þulur, Sverða heiti 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. 802.


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