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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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HSt Rst 15I

Rolf Stavnem (ed.) 2012, ‘Hallar-Steinn, Rekstefja 15’ 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. 913.

Hallar-SteinnRekstefja
141516

Ǫr ‘The arrow’

ǫr (noun f.; °dat. -/-u; ǫrvar/ǫrar): arrow < ǫrbjóðr (noun m.)

[1] Ǫr‑: auð‑ 53, ‘Orr‑’ Flat

kennings

Ǫrbjóðr
‘The arrow-offerer ’
   = WARRIOR

The arrow-offerer → WARRIOR

notes

[1] ǫrbjóðr ‘the arrow-offerer [WARRIOR]’: Bjóðr ‘offerer’ is a common base-word in kennings (Meissner 330). Ǫrrjóðr ‘the arrow-reddener [WARRIOR]’, the reading in most ÓT mss, is also feasible.

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bjóðr ‘offerer’

2. bjóðr (noun m.): inviter < ǫrbjóðr (noun m.)

[1] ‑bjóðr: ‑rjóðr 61, 53, 54, Bb(97va)

kennings

Ǫrbjóðr
‘The arrow-offerer ’
   = WARRIOR

The arrow-offerer → WARRIOR

notes

[1] ǫrbjóðr ‘the arrow-offerer [WARRIOR]’: Bjóðr ‘offerer’ is a common base-word in kennings (Meissner 330). Ǫrrjóðr ‘the arrow-reddener [WARRIOR]’, the reading in most ÓT mss, is also feasible.

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átta ‘eight’

átta (num. cardinal): eight

notes

[1, 2] átta ok þrinnum skeiðum ‘eight and three warships’: The numbers of enemy ships are also detailed in the poem: fifteen (st. 16/5), sixty (st. 18/4) and a further five (st. 21/2); see also McDougall and McDougall (1998, 74) on the size of fleets in the battle.

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skeiðum ‘warships’

1. skeið (noun f.; °-ar; -r/-ar/-ir): ship

notes

[1, 2] átta ok þrinnum skeiðum ‘eight and three warships’: The numbers of enemy ships are also detailed in the poem: fifteen (st. 16/5), sixty (st. 18/4) and a further five (st. 21/2); see also McDougall and McDougall (1998, 74) on the size of fleets in the battle.

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ok ‘and’

3. ok (conj.): and, but; also

notes

[1, 2] átta ok þrinnum skeiðum ‘eight and three warships’: The numbers of enemy ships are also detailed in the poem: fifteen (st. 16/5), sixty (st. 18/4) and a further five (st. 21/2); see also McDougall and McDougall (1998, 74) on the size of fleets in the battle.

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þrinnum ‘three’

þrennr (adj.): three(fold)

[2] þrinnum: þrennum 53, Flat

notes

[1, 2] átta ok þrinnum skeiðum ‘eight and three warships’: The numbers of enemy ships are also detailed in the poem: fifteen (st. 16/5), sixty (st. 18/4) and a further five (st. 21/2); see also McDougall and McDougall (1998, 74) on the size of fleets in the battle.

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varð ‘became’

1. verða (verb): become, be

[3] varð: var Bb(97va)

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beita ‘to sail’

2. beita (verb; °-tt-): beat, tack

notes

[3] beita ‘to sail ... to windward’: A technical term; see Jesch (2001a, 174).

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þorði ‘dared’

þora (verb): dare

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brýnn ‘sharp’

brýnn (adj.; °compar. brýnni, superl. brýnstr/brýnastr): ready, swift

[4] brýnn: ‘brynnt’ Flat

notes

[4] brýnn ‘sharp’: Konráð Gíslason (1895-7), followed by Skj B, reads brynn ‘sharp’ to provide an exact rhyme with mynni ‘mouth’, but the hendingar in Rst are not perfectly regular (see Introduction to Rst) and unequal vowel length is found sporadically in hendingar throughout the skaldic corpus (see ‘Normalisation resulting from linguistic changes’ in General Introduction).

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ór ‘out from’

3. ór (prep.): out of

[4] ór Þrándheims: at Svǫlðrar all others

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Þránd ‘of Trond’

Þrándr (noun m.): [Trønde] < Þrándheimr (noun m.): Trøndelag

[4] ór Þrándheims: at Svǫlðrar all others

notes

[4] mynni Þrándheims ‘the mouth of Trondheimsfjorden’: Þrándheimr refers to the region of Trøndelag, and here to the fjord that is its principal waterway, and not to the city now called Trondheim, but formerly Nidaros (ON Niðaróss). This reading is compatible with the seafaring description in the stanza, while at mynni Svǫlðrar ‘to the estuary of Svǫlðr’ in the ÓT mss names the ultimate battle-site of Svǫlðr, and tallies well with a near-identical phrase in Skúli Svǫlðr 2/7III (and see Note). This and other evidence could suggest that Svǫlðr was a river or inlet (see McDougall and McDougall 1998, 74-5). It is not clear which is the original reading.

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heims ‘heimsfjorden’

heimr (noun m.; °-s, dat. -i/-; -ar): home, abode; world < Þrándheimr (noun m.): Trøndelag

[4] ór Þrándheims: at Svǫlðrar all others

notes

[4] mynni Þrándheims ‘the mouth of Trondheimsfjorden’: Þrándheimr refers to the region of Trøndelag, and here to the fjord that is its principal waterway, and not to the city now called Trondheim, but formerly Nidaros (ON Niðaróss). This reading is compatible with the seafaring description in the stanza, while at mynni Svǫlðrar ‘to the estuary of Svǫlðr’ in the ÓT mss names the ultimate battle-site of Svǫlðr, and tallies well with a near-identical phrase in Skúli Svǫlðr 2/7III (and see Note). This and other evidence could suggest that Svǫlðr was a river or inlet (see McDougall and McDougall 1998, 74-5). It is not clear which is the original reading.

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mynni ‘the mouth’

mynni (noun n.; °-s; gen. -a): mouth

[4] mynni: so 61, minni all others

notes

[4] mynni Þrándheims ‘the mouth of Trondheimsfjorden’: Þrándheimr refers to the region of Trøndelag, and here to the fjord that is its principal waterway, and not to the city now called Trondheim, but formerly Nidaros (ON Niðaróss). This reading is compatible with the seafaring description in the stanza, while at mynni Svǫlðrar ‘to the estuary of Svǫlðr’ in the ÓT mss names the ultimate battle-site of Svǫlðr, and tallies well with a near-identical phrase in Skúli Svǫlðr 2/7III (and see Note). This and other evidence could suggest that Svǫlðr was a river or inlet (see McDougall and McDougall 1998, 74-5). It is not clear which is the original reading.

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Ormr ‘Ormr’

ormr (noun m.; °-s, dat. -i; -ar): serpent

notes

[5, 6] Ormr inn langi skreið ‘Ormr inn langi (“the Long Serpent”) slithered’: Óláfr’s famous warship; see also Note to st. 18/2, and see Hókr Eirfl 3/4. The ‘snake’ metaphor is extended into the verb.

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skreið ‘slithered over’

skríða (verb): creep, glide

notes

[5, 6] Ormr inn langi skreið ‘Ormr inn langi (“the Long Serpent”) slithered’: Óláfr’s famous warship; see also Note to st. 18/2, and see Hókr Eirfl 3/4. The ‘snake’ metaphor is extended into the verb.

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knúði ‘thrust’

knýja (verb): press forward, urge, drive

[5] knúði: so 61, 53, Flat, kníðu Bb(112ra), gnúði 54, gnúðu Bb(97va)

notes

[5] knúði ‘thrust’: 3rd pers. sg. pret. indic. of knýja; the older form kníða seems to be preserved in 3rd pers. pl. pret. indic. kníðu in Bb(112ra): see LP: knýja.

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ǫlna ‘of fish’

ǫln (noun f.; °alnar; alnar/alnir): mackerel

[6] ǫlna: so all others, ‘ótna’ Bb(112ra)

kennings

vang ǫlna;
‘the field of fish; ’
   = SEA

the field of fish; → SEA

notes

[6] ǫlna ‘of fish’: The species is uncertain; LP: ǫlunn and CVC: ölun suggest mackerel.

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vang ‘the field’

1. vangr (noun m.): field, plain

[6] vang: so 61, 53, 54, Bb(97va), vagns Bb(112ra), menn Flat

kennings

vang ǫlna;
‘the field of fish; ’
   = SEA

the field of fish; → SEA
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inn ‘inn’

2. inn (art.): the

notes

[5, 6] Ormr inn langi skreið ‘Ormr inn langi (“the Long Serpent”) slithered’: Óláfr’s famous warship; see also Note to st. 18/2, and see Hókr Eirfl 3/4. The ‘snake’ metaphor is extended into the verb.

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langi ‘langi (‘the Long Serpent’)’

langr (adj.; °compar. lengri, superl. lengstr): long

notes

[5, 6] Ormr inn langi skreið ‘Ormr inn langi (“the Long Serpent”) slithered’: Óláfr’s famous warship; see also Note to st. 18/2, and see Hókr Eirfl 3/4. The ‘snake’ metaphor is extended into the verb.

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prúð ‘the valiant’

prúðr (adj.; °superl. -astr): magnificent, proud

[7] prúð: prúðr Flat

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stýrði ‘steered’

stýra (verb): steer, control

[7] stýrði: so all others, stúrði Bb(112ra)

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vas ‘was’

2. vera (verb): be, is, was, were, are, am

[8] vas (‘var’): er all others

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ríkstr ‘the mightiest’

ríkr (adj.): mighty, powerful, rich

[8] ríkstr: ‘rikaszstr’ 53

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

The sea battle in the vicinity of Svǫlðr is about to begin and King Óláfr is approaching the island with his eleven ships.

The departure of Óláfr and his fleet marks the beginning of the sequence of stanzas (sts 15-23) depicting his final battle at Svǫlðr (c. 1000). For the battle, see also Hfr ErfÓl 1-24, Skúli SvǫlðrIII, Stefnir Lv 1 (cf. OSnorr Lv), Eþsk Couplet, Hókr Eirfl, ÞKolb Eirdr 8, and the non-contemporary Anon Óldr 17-24; see further the entry on Óláfr Tryggvason in ‘Ruler biographies’ in Introduction to this volume. — [8]: For this line of the refrain, see Note to st. 9/8.

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