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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to Bragi Rdr 3III

[8] of barmar Erps ‘the brothers of Erpr [= Hamðir and Sǫrli]’: This kenning for Hamðir and Sǫrli depends upon a knowledge of the role played by a third brother, Erpr, in the lead-up to their attack on Jǫrmunrekkr. Erpr ‘the Dark-brown One’, the son of Jónakr by a different mother (inn sundrmœðri, Hamð 13/1, NK 271), offers to help his brothers kill Jǫrmunrekkr as an arm helps a leg, but his cryptically phrased offer is scornfully refused, Hamðir and Sǫrli killing him on the road. According to both Hamð and Skm, this fratricidal act means that they cannot succeed in killing Jǫrmunrekkr outright. Bragi’s use in this kenning of the poetic noun barmi, meaning a child fed at the same breast as another, is deeply ironic.


  1. Bibliography
  2. NK = Neckel, Gustav and Hans Kuhn (1899), eds. 1983. Edda: Die Lieder des Codex Regius nebst verwandten Denkmälern. 2 vols. I: Text. 5th edn. Heidelberg: Winter.
  3. Internal references
  4. Not published: do not cite (SkmIII)
  5. Not published: do not cite ()


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