Cookies on our website

We use cookies on this website, mainly to provide a secure browsing experience but also to collect statistics on how the website is used. You can find out more about the cookies we set, the information we store and how we use it on the cookies page.



Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

Menu Search

Þul Fiska 4III

Elena Gurevich (ed.) 2017, ‘Anonymous Þulur, Fiska heiti 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. 856.

Anonymous ÞulurFiska heiti

Þyrsklingr, ufsi,         þorskr, vartari,
grunnungr, gedda,         gjǫlnir, keila,
áll ok karfi,         krabbi, geirsíl,
hár ok goðlax,         hornsíl, ígull.

Þyrsklingr, ufsi, þorskr, vartari, grunnungr, gedda, gjǫlnir, keila, áll ok karfi, krabbi, geirsíl, hár ok goðlax, hornsíl, ígull.

Codling, coalfish, cod, vartari, shallows-dweller, pike, gilled one, tusk, eel and carp, crab, garfish, shark and moonfish, stickleback, sea-urchin.

Mss: R(43v), Tˣ(45v), C(12v), A(19v), B(9r), 744ˣ(75r) (SnE)

Readings: [1] Þyrsklingr: so Tˣ, A, ‘þyrslingr’ R, ‘þysklingr’ C, ‘þ[…]sklingr’ B, ‘Þýsklinngr’ 744ˣ;    ufsi: ‘[…]’ B, ‘ufse’ 744ˣ    [2] vartari: ‘[…]ari’ B, ‘uartari’ 744ˣ    [3] grunnungr gedda: ‘g[…]nnungr g[…]dda’ B, ‘grunnungr gedda’ 744ˣ    [4] gjǫlnir: so Tˣ, A, ‘giolnir’ R, C, ‘gíol[…]’ B, ‘gíolner’ 744ˣ    [5] ok: om. Tˣ;    karfi: krabbi C    [6] krabbi: ‘karbi ok’ C, corrected from ‘krapbi’ A    [7] ok: om.

Editions: Skj AI, 671, Skj BI, 667, Skald I, 332; SnE 1848-87, I, 579-80, II, 480, 564, 623, SnE 1931, 207, SnE 1998, I, 126-7.

Notes: [All]: Of the sixteen heiti for ‘fish’ listed in this stanza, only five occur in poetry, namely þorskr m.  ‘cod’ (l. 2), vartari m. (l. 2), grunnungr m. ‘shallows-dweller’ (l. 3), gedda f. ‘pike’ (l. 3) and áll m. ‘eel’ (l. 5). — [1] ufsi (m.) ‘coalfish’: Ufsi is a large coalfish (see Note to seiðr, st. 2/1 above). — [2] vartari (m.): Lit. ‘warty one’. The referent of this heiti has not been identified. Nordgaard (1912, 62) suggests that vartari may be the term for a kind of vortefisk ‘wart-fish’, possibly ‘sculpin’. Vartari is also the name of the thong that was used to stitch up Loki’s mouth in Old Norse myth (Skm, SnE 1998, I, 43). As a fish-heiti the word is not found elsewhere, unless it is the same word as -vartarir in holtvartarir (Anon (Ldn) 4b/7V (Bárð 6)), a kenning for ‘serpent’, which can be translated either as ‘forest-fish’ or as ‘forest-thong’ (both meanings are suitable as a base-word in this kenning). Based on this kenning-type, Kristensen (1917, 112) argues that vartari might have been included in the list of heiti for ‘fish’ by mistake, i.e. owing to misinterpretation of a base-word that was normally represented both by terms for ‘thong’ (e.g. þvengr) and for ‘fish’. — [3] grunnungr (m.) ‘shallows-dweller’: The name refers to a fish that lives in shallow waters, perhaps a small cod (from grunn ‘shallows’ or grunnr ‘bottom of the sea’, hence lit. ‘groundling’, ModNorw. taretorsk). See Nordgaard (1912, 62). ModIcel. grunnungur is ‘tench’ (Tinca tinca), a freshwater fish of the carp family. — [3] gedda (f.) ‘pike’: Esox lucius, a large carnivorous freshwater fish. — [4] gjǫlnir (m.) ‘gilled one’: A hap. leg. The name is derived from gjǫlnar f. pl. ‘gills of a fish’. According to Bjarni Sæmundsson (1926, 398), ModIcel. gjölnir is a kind of fish, Alepocephalus giardi, i.e. Baird’s smooth-head. — [4] keila (f.) ‘tusk’: See Note to st. 1/2 above. Keila is also a heiti for ‘hen’ (see Note to Þul Hana l. 7). — [6] geirsíl (n.) ‘garfish’: See Note to st. 3/4 above. — [7] hár (m.) ‘shark’: Squalus acanthias, also known as spurdog or piked dogfish. — [7] goðlax (m.) ‘moonfish’: Lit. ‘God-salmon’. Probably the opah, a saltwater fish of the Lampridae family. — [8] hornsíl (n.) ‘stickleback’: Gasterosteus aculeatus, a small fish that lives in freshwater, brackish water and saltwater. — [8] ígull ‘sea-urchin’: Echinus esculentus, ModIcel. ígull. The quantity of the initial vowel ([i:] or [i]) cannot be determined by metre in this line (pace Finnur Jónsson, LP: igull), since a long vowel would result in a line of Type A2l and a short would give a line of Type A2k, both of which are metrical.


  1. Bibliography
  2. SnE 1848-87 = Snorri Sturluson. 1848-87. Edda Snorra Sturlusonar: Edda Snorronis Sturlaei. Ed. Jón Sigurðsson et al. 3 vols. Copenhagen: Legatum Arnamagnaeanum. Rpt. Osnabrück: Zeller, 1966.
  3. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  4. 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.
  5. SnE 1931 = Snorri Sturluson. 1931. Edda Snorra Sturlusonar. Ed. Finnur Jónsson. Copenhagen: Gyldendal.
  6. SnE 1998 = Snorri Sturluson. 1998. Edda: Skáldskaparmál. Ed. Anthony Faulkes. 2 vols. University College London: Viking Society for Northern Research.
  7. Nordgaard, O. 1912. ‘Fiskenavnene i Snorres Edda’. MM, 54-66.
  8. Bjarni Sæmundsson. 1926. Fiskarnir (Pisces Islandiæ). Íslenzk dýr I. Reykjavík: Bókaverslun Sigfúsar Eymundssonar.
  9. Kristensen, Marius. 1917. ‘Nogle fiskenavne fra Eddas nafnaþulur’. MM, 111-12.
  10. Internal references
  11. Not published: do not cite (SkmIII)
  12. Not published: do not cite (Anon (Ldn) 4IV)
  13. Elena Gurevich 2017, ‘(Introduction to) Anonymous, Hana heiti’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 947.
  14. Not published: do not cite (Anon (Ldn) 4bV (Bárð [?]))

Log in

This service is only available to members of the relevant projects, and to purchasers of the skaldic volumes published by Brepols.
This service uses cookies. By logging in you agree to the use of cookies on your browser.


Stanza/chapter/text segment

Use the buttons at the top of the page to navigate between stanzas in a poem.

Information tab

Interactive tab

The text and translation are given here, with buttons to toggle whether the text is shown in the verse order or prose word order. Clicking on indiviudal words gives dictionary links, variant readings, kennings and notes, where relevant.

Full text tab

This is the text of the edition in a similar format to how the edition appears in the printed volumes.

Chapter/text segment

This view is also used for chapters and other text segments. Not all the headings shown are relevant to such sections.