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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to Anon Líkn 9VII

[7] ljóss ‘bright’: Adj. Skj B construes as gen. sg. of ljós ‘light’, taking it as base-word in a sword-kenning eggmóts ljós ‘light of edge-meeting [BATTLE > SWORD]’ (ll. 7, 6) (so also Guðrún Nordal 2001, 293). Skj B further emends vísi ‘prince’ (l. 7) to vísum ‘wise’, agreeing with dat. pl. árum ‘messengers, men’. Sveinbjörn Egilsson followed by Rydberg forms a cpd vísiljós(s), defined in LP (1860) as ignis praenuntiativus ‘announcing fire’ (from vísa ‘to show, demonstrate’), again as a base-word in a sword-kenning. Both of these readings have the advantage of dispensing with the somewhat awkward shift from pl. árum to sg. vísi, both referring to the same unspecified person, but necessity of emendation in the one and the somewhat unlikely compound vísiljós in the other make both undesirable. The present reading favours that of Kock (NN §1391) who follows the ms.; the only difference is that he translates vísi ljóss as förståndig hövding ‘intelligent, wise chieftain’ whereas the adj. usually refers to physical appearance. Vísi ‘prince’ is construed here to have generalised reference, ‘a person’.


  1. Bibliography
  2. Skj B = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1912-15b. Den norsk-islandske skjaldedigtning. B: Rettet tekst. 2 vols. Copenhagen: Villadsen & Christensen. Rpt. 1973. Copenhagen: Rosenkilde & Bagger.
  3. NN = Kock, Ernst Albin. 1923-44. Notationes Norrœnæ: Anteckningar till Edda och skaldediktning. Lunds Universitets årsskrift new ser. 1. 28 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  4. LP (1860) = Sveinbjörn Egilsson, ed. 1860. Lexicon poeticum antiquæ linguæ septentrionalis. Copenhagen: Societas Regia antiquariorum septentrionalium.
  5. Guðrún Nordal. 2001. Tools of Literacy: The Role of Skaldic Verse in Icelandic Textual Culture of the Twelfth and Thirteenth Centuries. Toronto, Buffalo and London: University of Toronto Press.


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