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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to Bragi Rdr 8III

[1-2] ósk-Rôn ofþerris æða ‘the desiring-Rán <goddess> of the excessive drying of veins [VALKYRIE = Hildr]’: Bragi immediately establishes through this kenning Hildr’s destructive and predatory, almost cannibalistic, qualities. Óskmær ‘desire [i.e. ‘desired’ or ‘desiring’] maiden’ occurs as a term for a valkyrie (Oddrgr 16/3; LT: ósk-mær), and the similarity of the cpd ósk-Rôn strongly indicates Hildr’s role as a valkyrie (cf. Marold 1983, 103). Further, it compares Hildr to Rán (lit. ‘plunder’), wife of the sea-deity Ægir and a personification of the sea’s destructive power. The kenning suggests that Hildr wants to destroy all the men in her power by bleeding them dry with wounds. Kock (NN §2205B) makes the suggestion that this kenning alludes to Hildr as a curer, stemming the men’s bleeding wounds, but this seems improbable in the context of Bragi’s generally negative presentation of her.


  1. Bibliography
  2. NN = Kock, Ernst Albin. 1923-44. Notationes Norrœnæ: Anteckningar till Edda och skaldediktning. Lunds Universitets årsskrift new ser. 1. 28 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  3. LT = La Farge, Beatrice and John Tucker. 1992. Glossary to the Poetic Edda, based on Hans Kuhn’s Kurzes Wörterbuch. Skandinavistische Arbeiten 15. Heidelberg: Winter.
  4. Marold, Edith. 1983. Kenningkunst: Ein Beitrag zu einer Poetik der Skaldendichtung. Quellen und Forschungen zur Sprach- und Kulturgeschichte der germanischen Völker, new ser. 80. Berlin: de Gruyter.
  5. Internal references
  6. Not published: do not cite ()


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