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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to Hharð Gamv 2II

[4] vengis (n. gen. sg.) ‘of the cabin’: According to Falk, this was most likely a cabin in the stern of a ship (cf. ModNorw. dialects væng ‘ship-cabin’; see Falk 1912, 10; LP: vengi 3; Fritzner: vængr). Alternatively, Haraldr, who had served in the Byzantine army, could refer to structures aboard Byzantine ships, either castles or the berth for commanders in the stern, surrounded by a round tent (see Pryor and Jeffreys 2006, 227-38, 448). Otherwise, the word is attested poetically in the meaning ‘pillow’ (LP: vengi 1) or ‘plain, field’ (LP: vengi 2). Jesch (2001a, 153-4) suggests that vengis ‘of the plain’ is a half-kenning for ‘sea’ (hjǫrtr vengis ‘the stag of the sea’, i.e. ‘ship’).


  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. Jesch, Judith. 2001a. Ships and Men in the Late Viking Age: The Vocabulary of Runic Inscriptions and Skaldic Verse. Woodbridge: Boydell.
  4. Falk, Hjalmar. 1912. Altnordisches Seewesen. Wörter und Sachen 4. Heidelberg: Winter.
  5. Fritzner = Fritzner, Johan. 1883-96. Ordbog over det gamle norske sprog. 3 vols. Kristiania (Oslo): Den norske forlagsforening. 4th edn. Rpt. 1973. Oslo etc.: Universitetsforlaget.
  6. Pryor, John H. and Elizabeth M. Jeffreys. 2006. The Age of the Dromon: The Byzantine Navy ca 500-1204. The Medieval Mediterranean People, Economies and Cultures, 400-1500. Leiden and Boston: Brill.


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