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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Eskál Vell 23I

Edith Marold (ed.) 2012, ‘Einarr skálaglamm Helgason, Vellekla 23’ 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. 311.

Einarr skálaglamm HelgasonVellekla
222324

Vinða ‘of the Wends’

Vinðr (noun m.; °; vinðr/-ir): the Wends

[1] Vinða: víga 61, 53, 54, Bb

kennings

myrði Vinða
‘the killer of the Wends ’
   = Hákon jarl

the killer of the Wends → Hákon jarl

notes

[1] myrði Vinða ‘the killer of the Wends [= Hákon jarl]’: This kenning is usually associated with Hákon jarl and interpreted as an allusion either to unknown raids in the Baltic Sea region or to the battle at the Danevirke (see Introduction). Morawiec (2006, 709) doubts any relationship to the battle, because it ended in defeat; however, the poem portrays the events as heroic and victorious acts of the ruler (see sts 26-8). The ÓT ms. tradition has replaced Vinða with víga ‘of the battles’, which yields a periphrasis ‘killer of the battles’ that resists interpretation. Freudenthal (Vell 1865, 60) suggests, implausibly, that this is a reference to Hákon jarl as a peaceable ruler.

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myrði ‘the killer’

myrðir (noun m.): killer

[1] myrði: morði 54, Bb

kennings

myrði Vinða
‘the killer of the Wends ’
   = Hákon jarl

the killer of the Wends → Hákon jarl

notes

[1] myrði Vinða ‘the killer of the Wends [= Hákon jarl]’: This kenning is usually associated with Hákon jarl and interpreted as an allusion either to unknown raids in the Baltic Sea region or to the battle at the Danevirke (see Introduction). Morawiec (2006, 709) doubts any relationship to the battle, because it ended in defeat; however, the poem portrays the events as heroic and victorious acts of the ruler (see sts 26-8). The ÓT ms. tradition has replaced Vinða with víga ‘of the battles’, which yields a periphrasis ‘killer of the battles’ that resists interpretation. Freudenthal (Vell 1865, 60) suggests, implausibly, that this is a reference to Hákon jarl as a peaceable ruler.

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gramr ‘the ruler’

1. gramr (noun m.): ruler

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gerðisk ‘set out’

1. gera (verb): do, make

[3] gerðisk: gjǫrðask 54

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Hlym ‘of the din’

hlymr (noun m.): din < hlymnarfi (noun m.)

[5] Hlym‑: ‘hlum‑’ J1ˣ, ‘hlun‑’ 61, 53, 54, Bb

kennings

Hlífar flagðs hlym-Narfi
‘din-Narfi of the troll-woman of the shield’
   = WARRIOR = Ragnfrøðr?

the troll-woman of the shield → AXE
the din of the AXE → BATTLE
The Narfi of the BATTLE → WARRIOR = Ragnfrøðr?
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Hlym ‘of the din’

hlymr (noun m.): din < hlymnarfi (noun m.)

[5] Hlym‑: ‘hlum‑’ J1ˣ, ‘hlun‑’ 61, 53, 54, Bb

kennings

Hlífar flagðs hlym-Narfi
‘din-Narfi of the troll-woman of the shield’
   = WARRIOR = Ragnfrøðr?

the troll-woman of the shield → AXE
the din of the AXE → BATTLE
The Narfi of the BATTLE → WARRIOR = Ragnfrøðr?
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rarfi ‘’

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Narfi ‘The Narfi’

Narfi (noun m.): Narfi < hlymnarfi (noun m.)Narfi (noun m.): Narfi < hlunnnarfi (noun m.)Narfi (noun m.): Narfi < hlummnarfi (noun m.)

[5] Narfi: ‘‑rarfi’ J1ˣ, ‘‑nar fyr’ 53, 54, Bb

kennings

Hlífar flagðs hlym-Narfi
‘din-Narfi of the troll-woman of the shield’
   = WARRIOR = Ragnfrøðr?

the troll-woman of the shield → AXE
the din of the AXE → BATTLE
The Narfi of the BATTLE → WARRIOR = Ragnfrøðr?

notes

[5] Narfi ‘Narfi <supernatural being>’: Son of the malevolent trickster-god Loki and brother of Hel and the wolf Fenrir (see Note to Yt 7/5-6). Narfi is himself turned into a wolf in the prose epilogue to Lok and in Gylf (SnE 2005, 49). His name therefore seems unsuitable as a base-word of a warrior-kenning praising Hákon jarl, because it cannot be understood as praise, and the kenning may refer to Hákon’s enemy Ragnfrøðr.

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hlífar ‘of the shield’

hlíf (noun f.; °-ar; -ar): shield, defence

kennings

Hlífar flagðs hlym-Narfi
‘din-Narfi of the troll-woman of the shield’
   = WARRIOR = Ragnfrøðr?

the troll-woman of the shield → AXE
the din of the AXE → BATTLE
The Narfi of the BATTLE → WARRIOR = Ragnfrøðr?
Close

hlífar ‘of the shield’

hlíf (noun f.; °-ar; -ar): shield, defence

kennings

Hlífar flagðs hlym-Narfi
‘din-Narfi of the troll-woman of the shield’
   = WARRIOR = Ragnfrøðr?

the troll-woman of the shield → AXE
the din of the AXE → BATTLE
The Narfi of the BATTLE → WARRIOR = Ragnfrøðr?
Close

hlífar ‘of the shield’

hlíf (noun f.; °-ar; -ar): shield, defence

kennings

Hlífar flagðs hlym-Narfi
‘din-Narfi of the troll-woman of the shield’
   = WARRIOR = Ragnfrøðr?

the troll-woman of the shield → AXE
the din of the AXE → BATTLE
The Narfi of the BATTLE → WARRIOR = Ragnfrøðr?
Close

fladz ‘’

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flagðs ‘of the troll-woman’

flagð (noun n.): troll-woman

[6] flagðs: ‘fladz’ 325VIII 1

kennings

Hlífar flagðs hlym-Narfi
‘din-Narfi of the troll-woman of the shield’
   = WARRIOR = Ragnfrøðr?

the troll-woman of the shield → AXE
the din of the AXE → BATTLE
The Narfi of the BATTLE → WARRIOR = Ragnfrøðr?
Close

flagðs ‘of the troll-woman’

flagð (noun n.): troll-woman

[6] flagðs: ‘fladz’ 325VIII 1

kennings

Hlífar flagðs hlym-Narfi
‘din-Narfi of the troll-woman of the shield’
   = WARRIOR = Ragnfrøðr?

the troll-woman of the shield → AXE
the din of the AXE → BATTLE
The Narfi of the BATTLE → WARRIOR = Ragnfrøðr?
Close

flagðs ‘of the troll-woman’

flagð (noun n.): troll-woman

[6] flagðs: ‘fladz’ 325VIII 1

kennings

Hlífar flagðs hlym-Narfi
‘din-Narfi of the troll-woman of the shield’
   = WARRIOR = Ragnfrøðr?

the troll-woman of the shield → AXE
the din of the AXE → BATTLE
The Narfi of the BATTLE → WARRIOR = Ragnfrøðr?
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lagði ‘pulled up’

leggja (verb): put, lay

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Jalks ‘of Jálkr’

jalkr (noun m.): [Jálkr]

kennings

ǫndur Jalks
‘the ski of Jálkr ’
   = SHIP

the ski of Jálkr → SHIP

notes

[7, 8] ǫndur Jalks ‘the ski of Jálkr <sea-king> [SHIP]’: Jálkr appears several times as a name for Óðinn (LP: Jalkr), but it seems to be used here as a name of a sea-king, cf. Hást Lv 3/8IV.

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við ‘alongside’

2. við (prep.): with, against

[7] við: var 61, 53, 54, Bb

notes

[7] við ǫndurt fylki ‘alongside the front of the host’: Fylki is here regarded as referring not to a region, but to a ‘host’ (cf. LP: fylki 1). It could, however, be interpreted as a regional term, and then the phrase would mean the outermost part of a fylki, cf. Icel. Ǫndvert nes (giving the p. n. Öndverðarnes) and Ǫndurð-eyrr (ÍF 26, 247 n.). But that is less likely, as fylki does not refer to a landscape feature like nes ‘headland’.

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ǫndyrt ‘’

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ǫndurt ‘the front’

ǫndurr (noun m.; °-s): front, onset

[7] ǫndurt: ‘ondvert’ 53, ‘ondyrt’ 54, Bb

notes

[7] við ǫndurt fylki ‘alongside the front of the host’: Fylki is here regarded as referring not to a region, but to a ‘host’ (cf. LP: fylki 1). It could, however, be interpreted as a regional term, and then the phrase would mean the outermost part of a fylki, cf. Icel. Ǫndvert nes (giving the p. n. Öndverðarnes) and Ǫndurð-eyrr (ÍF 26, 247 n.). But that is less likely, as fylki does not refer to a landscape feature like nes ‘headland’.

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fylki ‘of the host’

fylki (noun n.): county

notes

[7] við ǫndurt fylki ‘alongside the front of the host’: Fylki is here regarded as referring not to a region, but to a ‘host’ (cf. LP: fylki 1). It could, however, be interpreted as a regional term, and then the phrase would mean the outermost part of a fylki, cf. Icel. Ǫndvert nes (giving the p. n. Öndverðarnes) and Ǫndurð-eyrr (ÍF 26, 247 n.). But that is less likely, as fylki does not refer to a landscape feature like nes ‘headland’.

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ǫndut ‘’

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ǫndr ‘’

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ǫndur ‘the ski’

andr (noun m.; °; andrar): ski

[8] ǫndur: ‘ꜹndr’ J1ˣ, ‘ondvt’ 53

kennings

ǫndur Jalks
‘the ski of Jálkr ’
   = SHIP

the ski of Jálkr → SHIP

notes

[7, 8] ǫndur Jalks ‘the ski of Jálkr <sea-king> [SHIP]’: Jálkr appears several times as a name for Óðinn (LP: Jalkr), but it seems to be used here as a name of a sea-king, cf. Hást Lv 3/8IV.

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forf ‘’

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†fꜹrf† ‘…’

varp (noun n.; °; dat. *-um): °net; kast (med fiskenet); fangst; bølgegang; ?kant, ?broderi (cf. Mörður Árnason 2007 varp sb. n. def. 3); ?

[8] †fꜹrf†: ‘þorf’ F, ‘forf’ 325VIII 1, ‘vorp’ 61, 53, 54, Bb

notes

[8] fꜹrf ‘…’: So far no interpretation of the ms. readings (fǫrf, vorpþǫrf) has been conclusive. Most previous interpreters assume that the word formed an expression for ‘ship’ in conjunction with ǫndur Jalks ‘ski of Jálkr <sea-king>’. Specific suggestions have been: (a) Fǫr Jalks ǫndurs ‘the vehicle of the Jálkr of the ski [= Ullr > SHIP]’ (Konráð Gíslason 1895-7, I, 152), to which Finnur Jónsson (Hkr 1893-1901, IV) objects because of the short syllable fǫr. (b) Eggert Ó. Brím (ÓT 1892, 375) interprets þǫrf as an adv. in the sense of þarflega ‘as it was necessary’, but does not comment on the grammatical form. (c) Kock (NN §§404, 2244) suggests two configurations of the three words ǫndurr ‘ski’, fors ‘of the wave/waterfall’ and Jalks ‘of Jálkr/sea-king’ that could yield a ship-kenning, but in both the word fors ‘waterfall’ is superfluous.

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at ‘towards’

3. at (prep.): at, to

[8] at: af F, á 53, 54, Bb

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

Hákon jarl takes the entire host south toward Staðr (Stadlandet) and learns that King Ragnfrøðr has moved into Sogn with his forces. Learning of this, he heads there, lands, stakes out the battlefield and positions his troops on it.

[1-4]: Many suggestions have been made for the interpretation of this helmingr, which consists of two main clauses. (a) The construal above is the most straightforward, and is adopted in ÍF 26 and Hkr 1991. A difficulty here is that síðan ‘then’ (l. 2) would seem to imply that having created mannfall ‘slaughter’, Hákon readied himself for a further battle, although only two (in the north of Sunnmøre and in Sogneforden) are recounted in the prose sources and Ragnfrøðr is said to have fled from Norway after the battle in Sogn (Hkr, ÍF 26, 247; Fsk, ÍF 29, 115), leaving Hákon in control. Possibly the meaning is that Hákon was always ready for battle, or conceivably that the gramr ‘ruler’ is Ragnfrøðr, who was preparing for more strife (cf. Note to ll. 5-8). (b) It is perhaps in order to obviate this difficulty that most interpreters construe the first clause as Gramr varð fyr Vinða myrði við annan styr ‘The ruler encountered the killer of the Wends in a second battle’. En and síðan (l. 2) are then construed with the second clause: en síðan gerðisk mest víðfrægt mannfall at morði ‘and then an immense, widely renowned slaughter arose in battle’ (Fms 12; Vell 1865, 60; Hkr 1893-1901, IV; Konráð Gíslason 1895-7, I, 149-50; Skj B). This produces a better narrative sequence but assumes extreme fragmentation in l. 2: víðfrægt, en, gramr, síðan.

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