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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to Gamlkan Has 3VII

[7] þollar viggs súða ‘trees of the steed of planking [SHIP > SEAFARERS]’: Súð f. (here in gen. pl. súða) is a term for the overlapping planks that form the hull of a clinker-built ship (Jesch 2001a, 139-40). Although the word occurs several times as a heiti for ‘ship’ (see LP: súð), this is its only occurrence as part of a ship-kenning. Jón Helgason (1935-6, 253), presumably influenced by the uniqueness of the kenning and its apparent tautology, objected to Finnur Jónsson’s transcription of B in Skj A: ‘The first word is written suda in the manuscript, and there is a hole over the u. The possibility that what was there was sūda = sunda must thus be considered’. Kock (NN §2926) and Black (1971, 340 and 141) adopt this suggestion and emend to sunda gen. sg. of sund ‘a body of water’, taking the kenning to be þollar viggs sunda ‘trees of the steed of the water’. Although there is indeed a hole in B, it is considerably above and to the left of súða, and does not interfere with the text at this point. It is not conceivable that a nasal stroke, which would be expected to sit very close to the letter and extend over its full width, has been lost here. B’s súða is therefore retained in this edn.


  1. Bibliography
  2. Skj A = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1912-15a. Den norsk-islandske skjaldedigtning. A: Tekst efter håndskrifterne. 2 vols. Copenhagen: Villadsen & Christensen. Rpt. 1967. 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. 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.
  5. Jesch, Judith. 2001a. Ships and Men in the Late Viking Age: The Vocabulary of Runic Inscriptions and Skaldic Verse. Woodbridge: Boydell.
  6. Black, Elizabeth L. 1971. ‘Harmsól: an edition’. B. Litt. thesis. University of Oxford.
  7. Jón Helgason. 1935-6. ‘Til skjaldedigtningen’. APS 10, 250-64.


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