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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to Arn Hryn 2II

[2] hnikaði ‘drove against’: Ms. hnika (inf. or 3rd pers. pl. pres. indic.) does not fit into the syntax of the couplet, and the best solution is to emend to the past sg. form. (So Finnur Jónsson in Skj B, and see Konráð Gíslason and Eiríkur Jónsson 1895-7, II, 66-7 for a metrical objection to the alternative emendation, to hnikar ‘drives against’.) That hnika belonged to the first weak, or a-stem, conjugation is inferred from modern usage (e.g. Sigfús Blöndal 1920-4: hnika) and from the Óðinn-heiti Hnikuðr (Þul Óðins 1/8III and Grí 48, NK 67), variant to the commoner Hnikarr. The verb is not recorded elsewhere in ON, and yet its meaning can be established. In ModIcel. it can either be intransitive, meaning ‘move, sway’, or else it can govern a dat. object and mean ‘move’. In Blöndal’s two examples the object is something heavy, which suggests that hnikaði in Arnórr’s l. could mean ‘drive, thrust against’. The related ON verb hnekkja ‘throw back, thwart’ supports this. For a sceptical view of this and similar forms, see Kuhn 1939, 180-4.


  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. Sigfús Blöndal. 1920-4. Islandsk-dansk ordbog / Íslensk-dönsk orðabók. Reykjavík, Copenhagen and Kristiania (Oslo): Verslun Þórarins B. Þorlákssonar / Aschehoug.
  4. 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.
  5. Kuhn, Hans (1899). 1939. ‘Westgermanisches in der altnordischen Verskunst’. BGDSL 63, 178-236. Rpt. in Kuhn (1899) 1969-78, I, 485-527.
  6. Internal references
  7. Elena Gurevich (ed.) 2017, ‘Anonymous Þulur, Óðins nǫfn 1’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 732.
  8. Not published: do not cite ()


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