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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to Anon Krm 4VIII

[5] upp í Ívu ‘up the Ífa <river>’: This name is spelt Ífu by Rafn (1826), Pfeiffer (1860), Wisén (1886-9) and Valdimar Ásmundarson (Krm 1891). The combination of adv. and prep. indicates, together with the word á ‘river’ in l. 8, that a river is here in question, although it cannot be identified. A river of the same name, also unidentified, is mentioned in OStór 7/8, and may also be referred to in Egill Lv 26/1V (Eg 33); see Note there. Bugge (in Rygh 1897-1936, VIII, 179), sees Ífa f. as related to the word ýr m. ‘yew (tree)’, and as originally the name of the river, now named Frøysåna, that runs past the farms named Ivedal and Iveland in the Iveland county of the Nedenes province (now Aust-Agder) in south-eastern Norway, the first element in these two farm names being formed, according to Bugge, from Ífu, the gen. sg. of the river-name. Olsen on the other hand (in Rygh 1897-1936, X, 56-7), sees these two farm names, and Ivesdal in Stavanger (now Rogaland), as more probably containing nouns (ívi n. or ívir m.) referring to yew-trees as such. He also derives Ífing f., the name of the mythical river which, according to Vafþr 16/1-3, divides the realm of the gods from that of the giants, and which never freezes, from the same root. An alternative possibility, mentioned by Olsen (cf. also ÍO: Ífa, Ífing), is that the river-names are related to MHG ifer, ModGer. Eifer ‘zeal, fervour’, and that the idea of a river with a fiercely flowing current lies behind them. The ‘modo’, ‘moþo’ readings of 1824b and give the form móðu (acc. sg. of móða f. ‘(large, sluggish) river’). However, this reading can be excluded because it does not provide a second alliterating stave on the fifth syllable of an odd line (Gade 1995a, 4).


  1. Bibliography
  2. Gade, Kari Ellen. 1995a. The Structure of Old Norse dróttkvætt Poetry. Islandica 49. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.
  3. Wisén, Theodor, ed. 1886-9. Carmina Norrœnæ: Ex reliquiis vetustioris norrœnæ poësis selecta, recognita, commentariis et glossario instructa. 2 vols. Lund: Ohlsson.
  4. ÍO = Ásgeir Blöndal Magnússon. 1989. Íslensk orðsifjabók. Reykjavík: Orðabók Háskólans.
  5. Pfeiffer, Friedrich. 1860. Altnordisches Lesebuch. Leipzig: T. O. Weigel.
  6. Krm 1891 = 2nd edn (pp. 225-8) of Krm as ed. in Valdimar Ásmundarson 1885-9, I.
  7. Rafn, Carl Christian, ed. 1826. Krakas Maal eller Kvad om Kong Ragnar Lodbroks Krigsbedrifter og Heltedød efter en gammel Skindbog og flere hidtil ubenyttede Haandskrifter med dansk, latinsk og fransk oversættelse, forskjellige Læsemaader, samt kritiske og philologiske Anmærkninger. Copenhagen: Jens Hostrup Schultz; London: John and Arthur Arch.
  8. Internal references
  9. Not published: do not cite (Egill Lv 26V (Eg 33))
  10. Not published: do not cite ()
  11. Peter Jorgensen (ed.) 2017, ‘Orms þáttr Stórólfssonar 7 (Ásbjǫrn, Ævikviða 4)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 611.


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