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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Alpost 12VII

Ian McDougall (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Allra postula minnisvísur 12’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 868-70.

Anonymous PoemsAllra postula minnisvísur

Tungu tígið meingi
Taddéum fái * gladdan;
var hann með vald og æru
vegligr í guðs reglu.
Í samkundu sendi
sanna ást til manna
postulinn prýdda listum;
plagaz með dýrðir fagrar.
Frómi hier fólk alt inni
fagrt Taddéus minni.

Fái tígið meingi Taddéum * gladdan tungu; hann var með vald og æru vegligr í guðs reglu. Sendi postulinn til manna í samkundu sanna ást prýdda listum; plagaz með fagrar dýrðir. Frómi alt fólk hier inni fagrt minni Taddéus.

Let the distinguished multitude gladden Thaddaeus with their tongue; he was with might and honour magnificent in God’s rule. May the Apostle send to people at our feast true love adorned with virtues; he devotes himself to fair glories. Let all the people herein celebrate a fair memorial toast for Thaddaeus.

Mss: 721(15v)

Readings: [2] fái * gladdan: fái menn gladdan 721

Editions: Skj AII, 511, Skj BII, 562, Skald II, 308, NN §§1762, 2888, 3376C.

Notes: [2] Taddéum (acc.) ‘Thaddaeus’: S. Thaddaeus, mentioned in the lists of the Apostles at Matt. X.3, Mark III.18, is usually identified with the Apostle Jude (see Cross and Livingstone 1983, 764, 1356). In Scandinavian sources he is sometimes referred to as Judas-Thaddaeus, sometimes as Judas (not to be confused with Judas Iscariot, see John XIV.22), sometimes, as here, simply as Thaddaeus. According to tradition, he was martyred in Persia alongside the Apostle Simon, with whom he shares the feast-day of 28 October (cf. Note to 11/3; Kilström 1963, 5-6; Widding, Bekker-Nielsen and Shook 1963, 332; Foote 1976, 170-1; Cormack 1994, 152). — [2] fái * gladdan: Finnur Jónsson (Skj B) and Kock (Skald) omit ms. menn in ‘fái menn gladdan’ to restore a l. of six syllables. — [4] í guðs reglu ‘in God’s rule’: The word regla may here suggest a monastic ‘rule’ or ‘order’ (cf. Fritzner: regla 3; cf. Fritzner IV: munkaregla), a particularly appropriate sense of the word if the poet was a member of a religious order, and composed for a monastic audience. — [5-7] sendi postulinn til manna í samkundu sanna ást... ‘may the Apostle send people at our feast true love...’: Kock (NN §1762) and Meissner (1930, 232) retain the ms. reading sendi, here 3rd pers. sg. pres. subj. of senda, governed by postulinn, which is also to be understood as the subject of plagaz (12/8). Kock compares the use of senda with an abstract object in expressions such as senda miskunn ‘extend, impart mercy’ (Lil 22/3-4), or sendask fárhugi ‘to exchange malicious, hostile thoughts’ (Am 88/2; cf. LP: senda). Finnur Jónsson emends sendi to sýndi. He likewise rejects the most common sense of samkunda ‘gathering, feast’ (cf. Fritzner) and suggests that rather than describing the company assembled to honour the saint, í samkundu refers to an ecclesiastical assembly, the ‘synedrium’ or ‘Sanhedrin’, the supreme council of the Jews, and recalls an event in the life of the Apostle : i sammenkomsten (synedriet?) viste han menneskene sand kærlighed... ‘in the assembly (Sanhedrin?) he showed people true love...’ (Skj B; LP: samkunda). The fact that the Apostle Thaddaeus is not known to have addressed any such assembly makes Finnur’s interpretation implausible. — [6-7] ást prýdda listum ‘love adorned with virtues’: The parallel phrasing of 6/5: postuli prýddr af listum ‘Apostle adorned with virtues’ and 11/4 postuli hlaðinn af kostum ‘the Apostle filled with virtues’ perhaps suggests that prýdda is miswritten for prýddr (or prýddur?), modifying postulinn (l. 6): ‘the Apostle adorned with virtues, accomplishments’. — [8] plagaz með ‘devotes himself to’: Kock (NN §3376C) objects to Finnur Jónsson’s rendering of plagaz með with an extended sense høste ‘to reap (for oneself), be endowed with’ (Skj B) and argues that the verb is doubtless best interpreted ‘to devote oneself to, concern oneself with’, in keeping with the most commonly attested senses of plaga ‘to cultivate’, plagaz ‘be accustomed to’ (cf. Fritzner: plaga 1, 2, and IV plaga 4, cf. Anon Mey 55/7: plagaz hun nú með prúðum sigri ‘she is now furnished with a fine victory’). It might be noted that plaga is attested late in Icel., and is not common before the end of the C13th; cf. the ONorw. cognate plega in Fritzner, and MLG plegen ‘to attend to, cultivate; practise, occupy oneself with; be accustomed or dedicated to’ (cf. Modern German pflegen); see AEW: plaga; Falk-Torp 1960: pleie. — [9] frómi ‘let [all the people] celebrate’: Ms. ‘Frome’; this ed. follows Finnur Jónsson in retaining the ms. reading, which he interprets as frómi, 3rd pers. sg. pres. subj. of a late weak verb fróma ‘to celebrate, honour’ (Skj B; LP: fróma). The verb is regularly attested in rímur, cf. Finnur Jónsson 1926-8: fróma. Kock (NN §2888) and Meissner (1930, 235) propose emendation to fremi, 3rd pers. sg. pres. subj. of fremja ‘to further, promote, practise’: ‘let all the people send forth, pass round a fair memorial toast for Thaddaeus’. Kock compares similar use of fari in 7/9.


  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. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  4. NN = Kock, Ernst Albin. 1923-44. Notationes Norrœnæ: Anteckningar till Edda och skaldediktning. Lunds Universitets årsskrift new ser. 1. 28 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  5. AEW = Vries, Jan de. 1962. Altnordisches etymologisches Wörterbuch. 2nd rev. edn. Rpt. 1977. Leiden: Brill.
  6. 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.
  7. Cormack, Margaret. 1994. The Saints in Iceland: Their Veneration from the Conversion to 1400. Studia Hagiographica 78. Brussels: Société des Bollandistes.
  8. Cross, F. L. and E. A. Livingstone. 1983. The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church. 2nd edn. 4th impression. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 3rd rev. edn 2005 by E. A. Livingstone. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  9. Finnur Jónsson. 1926-8. Ordbog til de af samfund til udg. af gml. nord. litteratur udgivne Rímur samt til de af Dr. O. Jiriczek udgivne Bósarímur. SUGNL 51. Copenhagen: Jørgensen.
  10. 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.
  11. Kilström, B. I. 1963. ‘Judas Taddeus’. KLNM 8, 5-6.
  12. Meissner, Rudolf. 1930. ‘Minnetrinken in Island und in der Auvergne’. In Vogt et al. 1930, .
  13. Fritzner IV = Hødnebø, Finn. 1972. Ordbog over det gamle norske sprog af Dr. Johan Fritzner: Rettelser og tillegg. Oslo, Bergen, Tromsø: Universitetsforlaget.
  14. Internal references
  15. Kirsten Wolf (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Heilagra meyja drápa 55’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 926.
  16. Not published: do not cite ()
  17. Martin Chase (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Lilja 22’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 588-9.

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