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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to Keth Lv 9VIII (Ket 14)

[1] Hjálmr … Stafnglámr: The names of the two vikings. Hjálmr means ‘Helmet’; Stafnglámr is attested only in Ket and as a cognomen in Ǫrv (see Lind 1905-15, 943; Lind 1920-1, 354). The first part of the cpd Stafnglámr means ‘stem’ (stafn) in the prow (or stern) of a ship; the second part (-glámr) may be etymologically related to words designating various luminous or shining objects (such as the moon, an eye, horse with a white spot) or meaning ‘stare’ (AEW: glámr; ÍO: gláma). The cpd could be understood as a kenning for ‘shield’, viz. ‘the shining object of the prow’; both names then designate defensive weapons, helmet and shield, and point to the protective role these vikings are supposed to be playing by backing Ketill up. LP: Stafnglámr understands the name to designate someone who keeps a sharp look-out in the prow of a ship. Kahle (1910, 197) regards Stafnglamr (with short a in glamr) as the correct form and considers glamr etymologically related to glam n. ‘noise’; he translates the name Stafnglamr as ‘Stem-noise’, a reference to the noise of waves through which a ship moves.


  1. Bibliography
  2. AEW = Vries, Jan de. 1962. Altnordisches etymologisches Wörterbuch. 2nd rev. edn. Rpt. 1977. Leiden: Brill.
  3. 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.
  4. ÍO = Ásgeir Blöndal Magnússon. 1989. Íslensk orðsifjabók. Reykjavík: Orðabók Háskólans.
  5. Lind, Eric Henrik. 1920-1. Norsk-isländska personbinamn från medeltiden: samlade ock utgivna med forkläringar. Uppsala: Lundequist.
  6. Lind, Eric Henrik. 1905-15. Norsk-isländska dopnamn ock fingerade namn från medeltiden. Uppsala: Lundequist and Leipzig: Harrassowitz.
  7. Kahle, Bernhard. 1910. ‘Die altwestnordischen Beinamen bis etwa zum Jahre 1400. Ergänzungen und Nachträge zu Finnur Jónssons Tilnavne i den islandske oldlitteratur’. ANF 26, 142-202, 227-60.
  8. Internal references
  9. 2017, ‘(Introduction to) Anonymous, Ǫrvar-Odds saga’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 804.
  10. 2017, ‘(Introduction to) Anonymous, Ketils saga hœngs’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 548.


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