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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Arn Rǫgndr 1II

Diana Whaley (ed.) 2009, ‘Arnórr jarlaskáld Þórðarson, Rǫgnvaldsdrápa 1’ in Kari Ellen Gade (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 2: From c. 1035 to c. 1300. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 2. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 178-80.

Arnórr jarlaskáld ÞórðarsonRǫgnvaldsdrápa
12

Deildisk ‘It fell’

2. deila (verb; °-ld-): share out, deal

notes

[1] deildisk af ‘it fell out’: (a) Af must be an adv. here rather than a prep. since it bears full stress and alliteration. The phrasal verb deilask af is rare, but is attested in Stu, where the meaning is ‘be dealt out, carried on’: Kǫlluðu þeir at lengi mundi vǫrnin deilaz af úti ‘They said that the defence would be carried on for a long time out there’ (Stu 1906-11, I, 191). In the present context, where there is no explicit subject, the meaning could well be ‘it fell out, happened’ (cf. the verb skipta, which also means both ‘divide, deal’ and ‘happen’). (b) Finnur Jónsson in Skj B and Finnbogi Guðmundsson in ÍF 34, 54 n. regard af as a prep. and construe deildisk af aldri svát gǫndlar Njǫrðr… ‘it happened thus in [that period of the jarl’s] life that the warrior…’. But aldri has support from only one branch of the ÓH stemma, and the postulated interruption of af ... aldri by svát, which introduces the next cl., rules out this construal. (c) Kock (NN §§809 and 2710A) construes af as an adv., but does not account satisfactorily for aldri.

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af ‘out’

af (prep.): from

notes

[1] deildisk af ‘it fell out’: (a) Af must be an adv. here rather than a prep. since it bears full stress and alliteration. The phrasal verb deilask af is rare, but is attested in Stu, where the meaning is ‘be dealt out, carried on’: Kǫlluðu þeir at lengi mundi vǫrnin deilaz af úti ‘They said that the defence would be carried on for a long time out there’ (Stu 1906-11, I, 191). In the present context, where there is no explicit subject, the meaning could well be ‘it fell out, happened’ (cf. the verb skipta, which also means both ‘divide, deal’ and ‘happen’). (b) Finnur Jónsson in Skj B and Finnbogi Guðmundsson in ÍF 34, 54 n. regard af as a prep. and construe deildisk af aldri svát gǫndlar Njǫrðr… ‘it happened thus in [that period of the jarl’s] life that the warrior…’. But aldri has support from only one branch of the ÓH stemma, and the postulated interruption of af ... aldri by svát, which introduces the next cl., rules out this construal. (c) Kock (NN §§809 and 2710A) construes af as an adv., but does not account satisfactorily for aldri.

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svát ‘in such a way’

svát (conj.): so that, so as

[1] svát (‘sva at’): so Holm4, 325VII, 325V, Bb, 332ˣ, Flat, R702ˣ, svá́ Holm2, sem 321ˣ, 325III β, þvíat 61, ‘seri’ Tóm

notes

[1] svát ‘in such a way that’: The reading of most mss, though not of main ms. Holm2, this links deildisk af ‘it fell out, happened’ with the succeeding l. of explanation; the Holm2 reading svá fails to do this.

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aldin ‘ancient’

2. aldinn (adj.): old

[1] aldin: ‘alldun’ 325VII, aldri 325V, 61, Bb, Tóm, R702ˣ, aldir Flat

kennings

tíu aldin él þélar grafninga
‘ten ancient blizzards of the file of graven shields ’
   = BATTLES

the file of graven shields → SWORD
ten ancient blizzards of the SWORD → BATTLES

notes

[1] aldin ‘ancient’: (a) This reading, which has by far the strongest ms. authority, is taken here to be n. acc. pl., qualifying the battles expressed by él þélar grafninga ‘blizzards of the graven shields’ file’. Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson reads it thus, and interprets it as ‘in the ancient manner’ (að fornum hætti, ÍF 27, 440 n.). The battles could alternatively be ‘old’ in the sense of being far in the past, cf. forn in expressions such as forn rǫc ‘ancient (long-past) events’, Lok 25/6 (NK 101). To describe battle as ‘old’ has no skaldic parallel, but the remaining possibilities for analysis of the l. are still less satisfactory. (b) The minority variant aldri, if the shorter form of aldrigi ‘never’, would produce the nonsensical statement that the hero never fought ten battles in Russia (Garðar). (c) For further, rejected possibilities, see Whaley 1998, 139.

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él ‘blizzards’

él (noun n.; °; dat. -um): storm

[2] él: éls 61, ‘ęl’ Bb

kennings

tíu aldin él þélar grafninga
‘ten ancient blizzards of the file of graven shields ’
   = BATTLES

the file of graven shields → SWORD
ten ancient blizzards of the SWORD → BATTLES
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grafninga ‘of graven shields’

grafningr (noun m.): graven shield

[2] grafninga: ‘gramninga’ 325VII, Bb, 332ˣ, ‘garfinga’ or ‘garfniga’ 325V, ‘grafningia’ 325III β

kennings

tíu aldin él þélar grafninga
‘ten ancient blizzards of the file of graven shields ’
   = BATTLES

the file of graven shields → SWORD
ten ancient blizzards of the SWORD → BATTLES

notes

[2] grafninga ‘of graven shields’: Grafningr is recorded with the sense ‘(graven) shield’ only here and in Arn Magndr 5; it occurs otherwise as a heiti for ‘snake’ (LP: 1. grafningr, and cf. LP: grafa 5 for p. p. grafinn in the sense ‘carved, engraved, incised’).

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grafninga ‘of graven shields’

grafningr (noun m.): graven shield

[2] grafninga: ‘gramninga’ 325VII, Bb, 332ˣ, ‘garfinga’ or ‘garfniga’ 325V, ‘grafningia’ 325III β

kennings

tíu aldin él þélar grafninga
‘ten ancient blizzards of the file of graven shields ’
   = BATTLES

the file of graven shields → SWORD
ten ancient blizzards of the SWORD → BATTLES

notes

[2] grafninga ‘of graven shields’: Grafningr is recorded with the sense ‘(graven) shield’ only here and in Arn Magndr 5; it occurs otherwise as a heiti for ‘snake’ (LP: 1. grafningr, and cf. LP: grafa 5 for p. p. grafinn in the sense ‘carved, engraved, incised’).

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þélar ‘of the file’

þél (noun f.; °; -ar): file

[2] þélar: ‘þelaz’ 321ˣ, ‘þęlar’ Bb

kennings

tíu aldin él þélar grafninga
‘ten ancient blizzards of the file of graven shields ’
   = BATTLES

the file of graven shields → SWORD
ten ancient blizzards of the SWORD → BATTLES
Close

þélar ‘of the file’

þél (noun f.; °; -ar): file

[2] þélar: ‘þelaz’ 321ˣ, ‘þęlar’ Bb

kennings

tíu aldin él þélar grafninga
‘ten ancient blizzards of the file of graven shields ’
   = BATTLES

the file of graven shields → SWORD
ten ancient blizzards of the SWORD → BATTLES
Close

gǫndlar ‘of battle’

1. gǫndull (noun m.): battle

[3] gǫndlar: gunnar 325V, 332ˣ, Flat, R702ˣ, 325III β, ‘gunnlar’ 61, ‘go᷎nlar’ Bb

kennings

gunnbráðr Njǫrðr gǫndlar
‘the war-hasty Njǫrðr of battle ’
   = WARRIOR = Rǫgnvaldr

the war-hasty Njǫrðr of battle → WARRIOR = Rǫgnvaldr

notes

[3] Njǫrðr gǫndlar ‘Njǫrðr <god> of battle [WARRIOR]’: Although the main ms. Holm2 has ‘nioðr’ or ‘moðr’, Njǫrðr is clearly correct, forming a warrior-kenning also used in the contemporary ÞSjár Þórdr 4I. Gǫndul is a valkyrie name, but since ‘Njǫrðr of the valkyrie’ would be unsatisfactory, it is here probably an appellative meaning ‘battle’, as also in the C12th Hst Rst 32I.

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Njǫrðr ‘Njǫrðr’

Njǫrðr (noun m.): Njǫrðr

[3] Njǫrðr: so Holm4, 325VII, 325V, 61, Bb, Tóm, 332ˣ, Flat, ‘nioðr’ or ‘moðr’ Holm2, ‘ar’ 321ˣ, vǫrðr R702ˣ, 325III β

kennings

gunnbráðr Njǫrðr gǫndlar
‘the war-hasty Njǫrðr of battle ’
   = WARRIOR = Rǫgnvaldr

the war-hasty Njǫrðr of battle → WARRIOR = Rǫgnvaldr

notes

[3] Njǫrðr gǫndlar ‘Njǫrðr <god> of battle [WARRIOR]’: Although the main ms. Holm2 has ‘nioðr’ or ‘moðr’, Njǫrðr is clearly correct, forming a warrior-kenning also used in the contemporary ÞSjár Þórdr 4I. Gǫndul is a valkyrie name, but since ‘Njǫrðr of the valkyrie’ would be unsatisfactory, it is here probably an appellative meaning ‘battle’, as also in the C12th Hst Rst 32I.

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Gǫrðum ‘Russia’

Garðar (noun m.): Russia

[3] Gǫrðum: ‘go᷎rdu’ Flat

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gunn ‘the war’

gunnr (noun f.): battle < gunnbráðr (adj.): [battle-hasty]

kennings

gunnbráðr Njǫrðr gǫndlar
‘the war-hasty Njǫrðr of battle ’
   = WARRIOR = Rǫgnvaldr

the war-hasty Njǫrðr of battle → WARRIOR = Rǫgnvaldr
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bráðr ‘hasty’

bráðr (adj.; °compar. -ari, superl. -astr): quick(ly) < gunnbráðr (adj.): [battle-hasty]

[4] ‑bráðr: ‑bráð Bb

kennings

gunnbráðr Njǫrðr gǫndlar
‘the war-hasty Njǫrðr of battle ’
   = WARRIOR = Rǫgnvaldr

the war-hasty Njǫrðr of battle → WARRIOR = Rǫgnvaldr
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tíu ‘ten’

tíu (num. cardinal): ten

kennings

tíu aldin él þélar grafninga
‘ten ancient blizzards of the file of graven shields ’
   = BATTLES

the file of graven shields → SWORD
ten ancient blizzards of the SWORD → BATTLES
Close

Interactive view: tap on words in the text for notes and glosses

After the battle of Stiklestad (Stiklastaðir), Rǫgnvaldr Brúsason journeys eastwards and stays, together with Haraldr Sigurðarson, at the court of King Jaroslav (Jarizleifr) in north-west Russia (Garðaríki). In ÓH, the st. is simply prefaced by a loose paraphrase referring to Rǫgnvaldr’s long service and his many battles there as landvarnarmaðr ‘commander of defensive forces’. Orkn gives a fuller account and specifies that Rǫgnvaldr fought ten pitched battles in Novgorod (Hólmgarðr).

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