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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to Sigv Austv 2I

[2] karfa ‘vessel’: The term occurs only here in the skaldic corpus, and its meaning is elusive (Jesch 2001a, 135). Snorri identifies this as an eikjukarfi ‘ferry-boat’, an interpretation that Finnur Jónsson (1932, 11) defends against Noreen’s suggestion (1922a, 70-1) that it was actually a rather substantial vessel, one with at least six pair of oars, better suited to crossing a large lake than a river. It is not improbable that karfa here is intended to be comically grandiose: see Beckman (1923, 322); Beckman (1934, 213); and cf. rǫnn ‘mansions, great halls’ in reference to cottages (Ótt Lv 3/2, a vísa possibly by Sigvatr).


  1. Bibliography
  2. Jesch, Judith. 2001a. Ships and Men in the Late Viking Age: The Vocabulary of Runic Inscriptions and Skaldic Verse. Woodbridge: Boydell.
  3. Beckman, Nat. 1923. ‘Til Sigvats Austrfararvísur’. ANF 39, 321-32.
  4. Beckman, Nat. 1934. ‘Ytterligare om Sigvats Austrfararvísur’. ANF 50, 197-217.
  5. Finnur Jónsson. 1932. Austrfararvísur. Avhandlinger utgitt av Det Norske Videnskaps-Akademi i Oslo, II. Hist.-filos. kl.1931, 1. Oslo: Dybwad.
  6. Internal references
  7. R. D. Fulk (ed.) 2012, ‘Óttarr svarti, Lausavísur 3’ in Diana Whaley (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 1: From Mythical Times to c. 1035. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 1. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 788.


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