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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to Rv Lv 30II

[4] ‘miðhæfi’: This is not an ON word (and is duly not recorded in Fritzner, while LP paraphrases the saga explanation). Summaries of possible Gk expressions it could represent can be found in ÍF 34, 233-4 n. 4 and McDougall 1987-8, 219-20. These suggestions depend of course on the location of Imbólum (see Note to l. 8 below) and whether the language spoken there was Gk. CVC suggests an expression that means ‘go away’, while Sigfús Blöndal (1978, 155-6) advocates a suggestion that it means ‘do not cross’, which may be relevant to Erlingr’s situation on the gangplank, but is less likely for the more general custom.


  1. Bibliography
  2. LP = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1931. Lexicon poeticum antiquæ linguæ septentrionalis: Ordbog over det norsk-islandske skjaldesprog oprindelig forfattet af Sveinbjörn Egilsson. 2nd edn. Copenhagen: Møller.
  3. CVC = Cleasby, Richard, Gudbrand Vigfusson [Guðbrandur Vigfússon] and W. A. Craigie. 1957. An Icelandic-English Dictionary. 2nd edn. Oxford: Clarendon.
  4. 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.
  5. ÍF 34 = Orkneyinga saga. Ed. Finnbogi Guðmundsson. 1965.
  6. Sigfús Blöndal. 1978. The Varangians of Byzantium: An Aspect of Byzantine Military History. Trans. and rev. Benedikt S. Benedikz. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. First published 1954 as Væringja saga. Reykjavík: Ísafoldarprentsmiðja.
  7. McDougall, Ian. 1987-8. ‘Foreigners and Foreign Languages in Iceland’. SBVS 22, 180-233.


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