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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to Gríml Lv 3VIII (GrL 5)

[6] Hrungnis ‘of Hrungnir <giant>’: Both this and the reading Rögnis are plausible, but 343a’s Hrungnis is probably preferable to the 471 variant, despite the fact that Rögnis provides the line with conventional alliteration (see below). Hrungnir is immediately recognizable as the name of a giant, and there are other examples of giantess-kennings with a word for ‘woman’ as base-word and the pers. n. of a giant as determinant (Meissner 398; GrL 3/2). Hrungnir is the name of a giant whom the god Þórr kills in single combat; the story is narrated in Þjóð Haustl 14-20III and in Skm (SnE 1998, I, 20-2) and mentioned or alluded to in a number of other skaldic and eddic poems. If the reading Hrungnis is retained, the line appears to contain an example of alliteration between <r> and <hr>. There are parallels for this in eddic verse, e.g. Hamð 25/1-2 (NK 273) Þá hraut við | inn reginkunngi ‘Then the one of divine descent/the very wise one roared’. In this case and others, where <hv> appears to alliterate with <v>, some eds think that the initial [h] was weakened, allowing poets to use words beginning with <hr> or <hv> to alliterate with <r> and <v> respectively (cf. Dronke 1969, 240-2; Edd. Min. 86 n.). Sigrdr 15/5-6 (NK 193) may provide an indication that the initial <h> of the name Hrungnir was no longer pronounced or that there was an alternative form of that name or even a different mythic entity named Rungnir: á því hvéli, er snýz | undir reið Rungnis ‘On that wheel that turns beneath the wagon of Rungnir’. Rǫgnir is usually one of the god Óðinn’s names (LP: Rǫgnir), but in a kenning for ‘giant’ in Þjóð Haustl 4/5III it appears to be used in the sense ‘lord, chief’ (see SnE 1998, II, 502 gloss to Rǫgnir). There are examples of erotic relationships between Óðinn and giantesses (e.g. between Óðinn and Gunnlǫð in Hávm 104-10 or between Óðinn and Skaði in Eyv Hál 2I). Hence the expression Rögnis mellur ‘Rǫgnir’s [Óðinn’s] female lovers’ in 471 could be a kenning for ‘giantesses’. This however seems less appropriate in GrL, where the realm of the giants plays a large part, whilst the gods are not mentioned. There is no example for the usage of the simplex rǫgnir ‘lord, ruler’ as a term for ‘giant’. Hence it is unlikely that the expression in 471 should be interpreted as mellur rögnis ‘the female lovers of the ruler’ and as a kenning for ‘giantess’. If the alliterating words in this line are not reyna and Hrungnis then the only alternative is alliteration between the modal verb munu and mellur. In this case the head-stave (mellur) would be in the second lift of the second half-line, rather than in the first lift, and the first nominal form of the second half-line (Hrungnis) would not alliterate. Eddic poetry provides numerous examples of this non-compliance with the ‘rules’ for alliteration (on these ‘rules’ cf. von See 1967, 2, 19-20).

References

  1. Bibliography
  2. 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.
  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. 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.
  5. Dronke, Ursula, ed. and trans. 1969. The Poetic Edda. I: Heroic Poems. Oxford: Clarendon.
  6. SnE 1998 = Snorri Sturluson. 1998. Edda: Skáldskaparmál. Ed. Anthony Faulkes. 2 vols. University College London: Viking Society for Northern Research.
  7. Edd. Min. = Heusler, Andreas and Wilhelm Ranisch, eds. 1903. Eddica Minora: Dichtungen eddischer Art aus den Fornaldarsögur und anderen Prosawerken. Dortmund: Ruhfus. Rpt. Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft.
  8. See, Klaus von. 1967. Germanische Verskunst. Sammlung Metzler 67. Stuttgart: Metzler.
  9. Internal references
  10. 2017, ‘(Introduction to) Anonymous, Gríms saga loðinkinna’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 288.
  11. Not published: do not cite (SkmIII)
  12. Not published: do not cite ()
  13. Not published: do not cite ()
  14. Russell Poole (ed.) 2012, ‘Eyvindr skáldaspillir Finnsson, Háleygjatal 2’ 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. 199.
  15. Not published: do not cite ()
  16. Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.) 2017, ‘Þjóðólfr ór Hvini, Haustlǫng 14’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 453.
  17. Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.) 2017, ‘Þjóðólfr ór Hvini, Haustlǫng 4’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 437.
  18. Beatrice La Farge (ed.) 2017, ‘Gríms saga loðinkinna 3 (Grímr loðinkinni, Lausavísur 2)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 292.

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