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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to Anon Líkn 26VII

[3-4] hnigstöfum hljóms hjörva ‘bowing-staves of swords’ din [BATTLE > WARRIORS]’: The identical battle-kenning (hjörva hljómr) occurs previously in Tindr Hákdr 10/5-6I (C10th). LP finds the hnig- element of hnigstafr ‘bowing-stave’ problematic, having no particular transitive meaning as LP (1860) had posited (praelium inclinare faciens ‘causing the battle to bend’); LP suggests something like ‘those who themselves move or cause movement’ in battle. But hnig- is from intrans. hníga ‘to bow down, sink, fall (gently)’, the p.p. of which (hniginn) often means ‘bent with age’ or ‘fallen in battle’ (cf. Lat. occubitus). Here, however, the allusion is likely to be to men bowing before God or the Cross.


  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. LP (1860) = Sveinbjörn Egilsson, ed. 1860. Lexicon poeticum antiquæ linguæ septentrionalis. Copenhagen: Societas Regia antiquariorum septentrionalium.
  4. Internal references
  5. Russell Poole (ed.) 2012, ‘Tindr Hallkelsson, Hákonardrápa 10’ 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. 354.


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