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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to Anon Nkt 1II

[6-8] ef þeir virðar eru færi, an verit hǫfðu ‘if those men are fewer than they have been’: The sense must be that the poet’s current audience is smaller than it was before. It is tempting to connect this rather obscure reference with the manndauðr mikill ‘great dying of people’, which, according to the Icel. annals, took place in 1192 (Storm 1888, s. a. 1192, p. 61). Between mid-October 1192 and the end of May 1193, more than 2000 people died of illness and hunger in the Northern Quarter of Iceland. Jón’s daughter, Solveig, also died in 1193. Alternatively, þeir virðar ‘those men’ could refer to the poets (þeim greppum, l. 3), and taken to mean that there were fewer poets who, at this time, were able to compose encomia. Hence it was the obligation of those poets who still possessed that skill, to entertain people.


  1. Bibliography
  2. Storm, Gustav, ed. 1888. Islandske annaler indtil 1578. Christiania (Oslo): Det norske historiske kildeskriftfond. Rpt. 1977. Oslo: Norsk-historisk kjeldeskrift-institutt.


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