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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to Ólhv Frag 4III

[All]: Björn Magnússon Ólsen identifies a close parallel to this in a Latin commentary (the Admirantes gloss on Alexander of Villa Dei’s Doctrinale (c. 1199); cf. Introduction to Anon (FoGT)) on the figure of prolepsis (Thurot 1868, 267): Aquilae volaverunt, iste ab oriente, ille ab occidente ‘The eagles flew, one from the east, the other from the west’. The Admirantes gloss is C13th, but the example ultimately derives from Priscian’s discussion of syntax (Keil 1855-80, III, 125). The strong similarity, describing two birds associated with battle flying from different locations, suggests that Óláfr composed this on the model of the Latin example. The half-stanza nevertheless has an authentically mythological flavour: Huginn and Muninn are Óðinn’s ravens, as described in Gylf (SnE 2005, 32), and the fornyrðislag metre of this stanza is in keeping with eddic poetry on similar subjects. The source of the section in Gylf was likely Grí 20 (NK 61): Huginn oc Muninn | fliúga hverian dag | iǫrmungrund yfir; | óomc ec of Hugin, | at hann aptr né komið, | þó siámc meirr um Munin ‘Huginn and Muninn fly every day over the vast expanse; I fear for Huginn that he will not come back, but I am more afraid for Muninn’. The present helmingr is not included in Skj and Skald.


  1. Bibliography
  2. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  3. 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.
  4. SnE 2005 = Snorri Sturluson. 2005. Edda: Prologue and Gylfaginning. Ed. Anthony Faulkes. 2nd edn. University College London: Viking Society for Northern Research.
  5. Keil, Heinrich, ed. 1855-80. Grammatici Latini. 8 vols. Leipzig: Teubner.
  6. Thurot, Charles, ed. 1868. Notices et extraits des manuscrits de la Bibliothèque impériale et autres bibliothèques. Vol. 22, Part 2. Paris: Impremerie impériale.
  7. Internal references
  8. Not published: do not cite (GylfIII)
  9. Not published: do not cite ()
  10. Margaret Clunies Ross 2017, ‘(Introduction to) Anonymous, Stanzas from the Fourth Grammatical Treatise’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 570.


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