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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to Anon Liðs 7I

[7-8]: (a) The interpretation adopted here yields a standard man-kenning (cf. Meissner 297). The fierce fighting around the circumvallation is being compared with a tussle between an elk and its would-be captor. Elk-hunting was a time-honoured pursuit in medieval Norway and Sweden and the prey was sometimes driven into steep-sided pits or trenches (Nedkvitne 1993, 307-8), whose resemblance to a moat may have triggered this comparison. A related simile occurs in Grettis saga (ÍF 7, 44) when Grettir protests that there is no need to hold on to him as though he were a wild dog (sem ólmum hundi). (b) Alternatively, elg Rennandi ‘elk of Rennandi / the river’ would form a natural ship-kenning. This is adopted in Skj B, leaving kennir syn elds as a man-kenning which is put in quotation marks to indicate a problem, but kennir elds would form a warrior-kenning ‘master of the sword’, with eldr as a sword-heiti (LP: eldr 7, and see Note to Hfr ErfÓl 6/4), and syn/Syn could be explained as above. (c) Kock (NN §906) reads Syn elds together (see Note to l. 6 Syn), leaving elg Rennandi ‘ship’ as both object to heldi ‘were holding’ and implied determinant of a man-kenning, with kennir ‘master, knower’ as its base-word, but this double construction is highly dubious.


  1. Bibliography
  2. Skj B = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1912-15b. Den norsk-islandske skjaldedigtning. B: Rettet tekst. 2 vols. Copenhagen: Villadsen & Christensen. Rpt. 1973. Copenhagen: Rosenkilde & Bagger.
  3. NN = Kock, Ernst Albin. 1923-44. Notationes Norrœnæ: Anteckningar till Edda och skaldediktning. Lunds Universitets årsskrift new ser. 1. 28 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  4. Meissner = Meissner, Rudolf. 1921. Die Kenningar der Skalden: Ein Beitrag zur skaldischen Poetik. Rheinische Beiträge und Hülfsbücher zur germanischen Philologie und Volkskunde 1. Bonn and Leipzig: Schroeder. Rpt. 1984. Hildesheim etc.: Olms.
  5. 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.
  6. ÍF 7 = Grettis saga Ásmundarsonar. Ed. Guðni Jónsson. 1936.
  7. Nedkvitne, Arnvid. 1993. ‘Hunting’. In MedS, 307-8.
  8. Internal references
  9. Kate Heslop (ed.) 2012, ‘Hallfreðr vandræðaskáld Óttarsson, Erfidrápa Óláfs Tryggvasonar 6’ in Diana Whaley (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 1: From Mythical Times to c. 1035. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 1. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 409.


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