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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to Anon (FoGT) 35III

[All]: After st. 35 the prose text offers the view that sts 34-5 present avarp theologie ‘a summary of the Bible’ in two dróttkvætt stanzas. The same use of fjórðungalok appears in both, as well as a similar disposition of kennings. In st. 35 the poet balances the main events, theologically speaking, of Christ’s life on earth before the crucifixion, the subject of st. 34, with the major events that took place after it. Lines 1-2 allude to Christ’s Harrowing of Hell and his Resurrection, which lifts the burden of sin from mankind; ll. 3-4 celebrate his Ascension to heaven, ll. 5-6 the descent of the Holy Spirit to mankind at Pentecost, while ll. 7-8 are about the Last Judgement. The poet’s boast to have encapsulated avarp theologie in two stanzas is well taken. As both Björn Magnússon Ólsen (FoGT 1884, 143 n.) and Longo (FoGT 2004, 214-15) have pointed out, his model was almost certainly various commentaries on the Doctrinale and the Doctrinale itself (Reichling 1893, 177, ll. 2623-6 and nn.), where oliopomenon is said to be a figure in which a series of important events is expressed in few words, and the example is given of a series of short clauses encapsulating the history of the Trojan war.


  1. Bibliography
  2. FoGT 1884 = Björn Magnússon Ólsen, ed. 1884. Den tredje og fjærde grammatiske afhandling i Snorres Edda tilligemed de grammatiske afhandlingers prolog og to andre tillæg. SUGNL 12. Copenhagen: Knudtzon.
  3. FoGT 2004 = Longo, Michele, ed. [2004]. ‘Il Quarto Trattato Grammaticale Islandese: Testo, Traduzione e Commento’. Dottorato di Ricerca in ‘Linguistica Sincronica e Diacronica’ (XV Ciclo). Palermo: Università degli Studi di Palermo, Facoltà di Lettere e Filosofia.
  4. Reichling, Dietrich, ed. 1893. Das Doctrinale des Alexander de Villa-Dei. Monumenta Germaniae paedagogica 12. Berlin: A. Hofmann & Comp. Rpt. 1974. Burt Franklin Research and Source Works Series, Studies in the History of Education 11. New York: Burt Franklin.


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