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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to ESk Lv 6II

[7, 8] breiðr barmr ‘the broad rim’: I.e. the upper strakes in the ship-side, but cf. ModIcel. barmur ‘bosom’, ModNorw. barm ‘breast’ (see AEW: barmr 1). It is tempting to take this wording as an intended pun on the physical attributes of the ‘precious burden’ of the ship. See such fem. nicknames as knarrarbringaknǫrr-breasted’, i.e. ‘with breasts like the prow of a ship’ (Finnur Jónsson 1907, 214-15). However, barmr is not attested in the meaning ‘bosom, breast’ until after the Reformation (see Jesch 2001a, 141 n. 43). See also Note to Bǫlv Hardr 2/8.


  1. Bibliography
  2. AEW = Vries, Jan de. 1962. Altnordisches etymologisches Wörterbuch. 2nd rev. edn. Rpt. 1977. Leiden: Brill.
  3. Jesch, Judith. 2001a. Ships and Men in the Late Viking Age: The Vocabulary of Runic Inscriptions and Skaldic Verse. Woodbridge: Boydell.
  4. Finnur Jónsson. 1907. ‘Tilnavne i den islandske oldlitteratur’. ÅNOH, 161-381.
  5. Internal references
  6. Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2009, ‘Bǫlverkr Arnórsson, Drápa about Haraldr harðráði 2’ in Kari Ellen Gade (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 2: From c. 1035 to c. 1300. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 2. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 288-9.


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