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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to Arn Hryn 4II

[4] girzku reiði ‘Russian tackle’: The adj. girzkr can mean ‘Greek, Byzantine’, but it also occurs as a doublet of gerzkr with the sense ‘Russian, from Garðar’, as, probably, in st. 9/8, where Hr reads ‘girzkum’ and Flat ‘gerzskum’ (see also Fritzner: girzkr). ‘Russian’ may be more appropriate here since Magnús is sailing from Russia. Ms. skrúði ‘ornamentation’ would add a supernumary member to the alliterative sequence on sk- and would fail to produce aðalhending with skeiðar. Emendation to the synonymous reiði seems justifiable especially since st. 9/1 affords a definite instance of the scribe of Hr (or its archetype) displacing the original rhyme-word by a synonym. The emendation was first proposed by Konráð Gíslason (1877, 54). Reiði can refer either to the whole of a ship’s equipment or else specifically to the rigging; see Fritzner: reiði and Jesch 2001a, 165. Jesch (2001a, 165) points out that, while it may be that Russian tackle was special, the Norwegians who fetched Magnús from Russia (Garðar) may simply have needed to re-rig their ship for the return voyage.


  1. Bibliography
  2. Jesch, Judith. 2001a. Ships and Men in the Late Viking Age: The Vocabulary of Runic Inscriptions and Skaldic Verse. Woodbridge: Boydell.
  3. Fritzner = Fritzner, Johan. 1883-96. Ordbog over det gamle norske sprog. 3 vols. Kristiania (Oslo): Den norske forlagsforening. 4th edn. Rpt. 1973. Oslo etc.: Universitetsforlaget.
  4. Konráð Gíslason. 1877. Om helrim i förste og tredje linie af regelmæssigt ‘dróttkvætt’ og ‘hrynhenda’. Indbydelsesskrift til Kjøbenhavns universitets aarsfest til erindring om kirkens reformation. Copenhagen: Schultz.


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