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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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HSt Rst 16I

Rolf Stavnem (ed.) 2012, ‘Hallar-Steinn, Rekstefja 16’ 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. 915.

Hallar-SteinnRekstefja
151617

ræsir ‘the ruler’

ræsir (noun m.): ruler

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hitti ‘encountered’

hitta (verb): meet, encounter

[1] hitti: mátti 54, Bb(100ra), Flat

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rít ‘the shield’

rít (noun f.): shield

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friðr ‘peace’

friðr (noun m.): peace

[2] friðr: frið Bb(100ra), ferð Flat

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sól ‘the sun’

sól (noun f.; °-ar, dat. -u/-; -ir): sun

kennings

sól éla Svǫlnis.
‘the sun of the storms of Svǫlnir. ’
   = SWORD

the storms of Svǫlnir. → BATTLES
the sun of BATTLES → SWORD
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rauð ‘reddened’

rjóða (verb): to redden

notes

[3] rauð ‘[he] reddened’: As in other cases (Ótt Hfl 9/3, Arn Þorfdr 9/1II and Notes) there may be an understood pron. The usage could alternatively be impersonal, hence ‘(the sword) grew red’ or ‘was reddened’ (so NN §1177). In this edn the sword-kenning, also in l. 3, is taken as the object of rauð. Rít ‘shield’ in l. 2 would also supply a logical object to rauð (so Skj B), but that analysis produces a difficult word order (see Note to ll. 1-4).

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Svǫlnis ‘of Svǫlnir’

Svǫlnir (noun m.): Svǫlnir

kennings

sól éla Svǫlnis.
‘the sun of the storms of Svǫlnir. ’
   = SWORD

the storms of Svǫlnir. → BATTLES
the sun of BATTLES → SWORD
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Svǫlnis ‘of Svǫlnir’

Svǫlnir (noun m.): Svǫlnir

kennings

sól éla Svǫlnis.
‘the sun of the storms of Svǫlnir. ’
   = SWORD

the storms of Svǫlnir. → BATTLES
the sun of BATTLES → SWORD
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éla ‘of the storms’

él (noun n.; °; dat. -um): storm

kennings

sól éla Svǫlnis.
‘the sun of the storms of Svǫlnir. ’
   = SWORD

the storms of Svǫlnir. → BATTLES
the sun of BATTLES → SWORD
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éla ‘of the storms’

él (noun n.; °; dat. -um): storm

kennings

sól éla Svǫlnis.
‘the sun of the storms of Svǫlnir. ’
   = SWORD

the storms of Svǫlnir. → BATTLES
the sun of BATTLES → SWORD
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senn ‘at the same time’

senn (adv.): at once

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þrenna ‘three’

þrennr (adj.): three(fold)

[4] þrenna: corrected from ‘(tv)enna’ (?) Bb(112ra), tvenna 54, Bb(100ra), þrennra Flat

notes

[4] þrenna ‘three’: The beginning of the word is unclear in Bb(112ra), but the scribe appears to have corrected tvenna ‘two’ to þrenna ‘three’ (cf. also Flat ‘þrennra’). The three enemy princes are King Óláfr sœnski ‘the Swede’ Eiríksson, the Danish King Sveinn tjúguskegg ‘Fork-beard’ Haraldsson and the Norwegian Eiríkr jarl Hákonarson, and with this helmingr Rst commences the account of the action at Svǫlðr by summarising the events. Presumably the tvenna ‘two’ in 54 and Bb(100ra) refers to the first two attacking fleets, since in those mss the stanza is placed just before the third opponent, Eiríkr jarl, launches his attack; this therefore appears to be an alteration serving the needs of the prose narrative (Heslop 2006a, 386).

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Fimtán ‘fifteen’

fimmtán (num. cardinal): fifteen

kennings

fimtán ýtiblǫkkum Ekkils
‘fifteen surging steeds of Ekkill ’
   = SHIPS

fifteen surging steeds of Ekkill → SHIPS
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fjǫrnis ‘of the helmet’

fjǫrnir (noun m.): helmet

[5] fjǫrnis: fjǫrvíss Bb(99vb)

kennings

Fleygjendr mána fjǫrnis
‘Throwers of the moon of the helmet ’
   = WARRIORS

the moon of the helmet → SWORD
Throwers of the SWORD → WARRIORS

notes

[5] mána fjǫrnis ‘of the moon of the helmet [SWORD]’: This is best taken as a sword-kenning (so Meissner 151; LP: máni), though fleygjendr ‘throwers’, the base-word of the warrior-kenning, might otherwise have indicated a spear-kenning, and máni ‘moon’ is also frequent in shield-kennings due to the analogy of shape. The kenning complements the sword-kenning with sól ‘sun’ as base-word in l. 3. ‘Sun’ and ‘moon’ make suitable base-words of sword-kennings on account of their brightness though not of their shape (for another example, see Anon Geisl 43/8VII).

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fjǫrnis ‘of the helmet’

fjǫrnir (noun m.): helmet

[5] fjǫrnis: fjǫrvíss Bb(99vb)

kennings

Fleygjendr mána fjǫrnis
‘Throwers of the moon of the helmet ’
   = WARRIORS

the moon of the helmet → SWORD
Throwers of the SWORD → WARRIORS

notes

[5] mána fjǫrnis ‘of the moon of the helmet [SWORD]’: This is best taken as a sword-kenning (so Meissner 151; LP: máni), though fleygjendr ‘throwers’, the base-word of the warrior-kenning, might otherwise have indicated a spear-kenning, and máni ‘moon’ is also frequent in shield-kennings due to the analogy of shape. The kenning complements the sword-kenning with sól ‘sun’ as base-word in l. 3. ‘Sun’ and ‘moon’ make suitable base-words of sword-kennings on account of their brightness though not of their shape (for another example, see Anon Geisl 43/8VII).

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mána ‘of the moon’

máni (noun m.; °-a): moon

[5] mána: so 53, manna all others

kennings

Fleygjendr mána fjǫrnis
‘Throwers of the moon of the helmet ’
   = WARRIORS

the moon of the helmet → SWORD
Throwers of the SWORD → WARRIORS

notes

[5] mána fjǫrnis ‘of the moon of the helmet [SWORD]’: This is best taken as a sword-kenning (so Meissner 151; LP: máni), though fleygjendr ‘throwers’, the base-word of the warrior-kenning, might otherwise have indicated a spear-kenning, and máni ‘moon’ is also frequent in shield-kennings due to the analogy of shape. The kenning complements the sword-kenning with sól ‘sun’ as base-word in l. 3. ‘Sun’ and ‘moon’ make suitable base-words of sword-kennings on account of their brightness though not of their shape (for another example, see Anon Geisl 43/8VII).

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mána ‘of the moon’

máni (noun m.; °-a): moon

[5] mána: so 53, manna all others

kennings

Fleygjendr mána fjǫrnis
‘Throwers of the moon of the helmet ’
   = WARRIORS

the moon of the helmet → SWORD
Throwers of the SWORD → WARRIORS

notes

[5] mána fjǫrnis ‘of the moon of the helmet [SWORD]’: This is best taken as a sword-kenning (so Meissner 151; LP: máni), though fleygjendr ‘throwers’, the base-word of the warrior-kenning, might otherwise have indicated a spear-kenning, and máni ‘moon’ is also frequent in shield-kennings due to the analogy of shape. The kenning complements the sword-kenning with sól ‘sun’ as base-word in l. 3. ‘Sun’ and ‘moon’ make suitable base-words of sword-kennings on account of their brightness though not of their shape (for another example, see Anon Geisl 43/8VII).

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fleygjendr ‘Throwers’

fleygjandi (noun m.): flinger

[6] fleygjendr: ‘fley(gn)dr’(?) 53

kennings

Fleygjendr mána fjǫrnis
‘Throwers of the moon of the helmet ’
   = WARRIORS

the moon of the helmet → SWORD
Throwers of the SWORD → WARRIORS
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renndu ‘steered’

2. renna (verb): run (strong)

[6] renndu: ‘ren rendu’ Bb(99vb)

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Ekkils ‘of Ekkill’

Ekkill (noun m.): Ekkill

[7] Ekkils: ‘eskils’ Bb(99vb)

kennings

fimtán ýtiblǫkkum Ekkils
‘fifteen surging steeds of Ekkill ’
   = SHIPS

fifteen surging steeds of Ekkill → SHIPS

notes

[7] ýtiblǫkkum Ekkils ‘surging steeds of Ekkill <sea-king> [SHIPS]’: This line comprising a ship-kenning is carved on a rune-stick of c. 1300 from Bergen (Run B57VI). The base-word is in the dat. case (blǫkkum ‘steeds’) as in the poem, and the line may well derive from there.

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ýti ‘surging’

ýtir (noun m.): giver < ýtiblakkr (noun m.)

[7] ýti‑: úti 54, Bb(99vb)

kennings

fimtán ýtiblǫkkum Ekkils
‘fifteen surging steeds of Ekkill ’
   = SHIPS

fifteen surging steeds of Ekkill → SHIPS

notes

[7] ýtiblǫkkum Ekkils ‘surging steeds of Ekkill <sea-king> [SHIPS]’: This line comprising a ship-kenning is carved on a rune-stick of c. 1300 from Bergen (Run B57VI). The base-word is in the dat. case (blǫkkum ‘steeds’) as in the poem, and the line may well derive from there.

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blǫkkum ‘steeds’

1. blakkr (noun m.): horse < ýtiblakkr (noun m.)

kennings

fimtán ýtiblǫkkum Ekkils
‘fifteen surging steeds of Ekkill ’
   = SHIPS

fifteen surging steeds of Ekkill → SHIPS

notes

[7] ýtiblǫkkum Ekkils ‘surging steeds of Ekkill <sea-king> [SHIPS]’: This line comprising a ship-kenning is carved on a rune-stick of c. 1300 from Bergen (Run B57VI). The base-word is in the dat. case (blǫkkum ‘steeds’) as in the poem, and the line may well derive from there.

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Óláfr ‘Óláfr’

Óláfr (noun m.): Óláfr

[8] Óláfr: so 54, Ólaf Bb(112ra), ‘Ol’ 53, Bb(99vb), Flat

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veg ‘the path’

1. vegr (noun m.; °-s/-ar, dat. -i/-; -ar/-ir, gen. -a/-na, acc. -a/-i/-u): way, path, side

[8] veg sólar: om. 53

kennings

veg sólar …
‘the path of the sun … ’
   = SKY

the path of the sun … → SKY
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sólar ‘of the sun’

sól (noun f.; °-ar, dat. -u/-; -ir): sun

[8] veg sólar: om. 53

kennings

veg sólar …
‘the path of the sun … ’
   = SKY

the path of the sun … → SKY
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Interactive view: tap on words in the text for notes and glosses

The embedding of the stanza in ÓT varies across mss, but in 54 and Bb(99vb-100ra), the second helmingr is cited as Hallar-Steinn’s account of the Swedes attacking Ormr inn langi with fifteen ships. The first is cited later, when the Swedes have suffered heavy losses.

In ÓT the helmingar are separated and in 54 and Bb(99vb-100ra) they are in reverse order; cf. Context above. — [1-4]: Hitti ‘encountered’ in l. 1, the reading of the main ms., is adopted here, and at líta ‘to see’ in l. 2 is taken with the rest of that line. The ÓT reading mátti ‘was able to’ in l. 1 is adopted instead by Finnur Jónsson (Skj B) and Kock (Skald; NN §1177) and taken with at líta ‘to see’. Otherwise, however, Finnur Jónsson and Kock differ over the interpretation of ll. 1-4. (a) Skj B has Raunskjótt mátti ræsir at líta senn þrenna dǫglinga; sól Svǫlnis éla rauð rít; vasa friðr ‘Very rapidly the ruler was able to see three princes at the same time; the sun of Svǫlnir’s storms [BATTLES > SWORD] reddened the shield; there was no peace’. However, this involves assigning the words of l. 2 to three different clauses (cf. Gade 1995a, 216) and assumes that the verb rauð ‘reddened’ is preceded by its object as well as part of its subject, which is possible but not usual (see Note to st. 7/1-4). (b) These problems are avoided by taking rít ‘shield’ with vasa friðr, as in the present edn, hence sól Svǫlnis éla rauð; rít vasa friðr ‘the sun of Svǫlnir’s storms was reddened; there was no peace for the shield’; Kock (NN §1177) favours this, citing the contemporary parallel ÞGísl Búdr 7/7 hauks vasat friðr fjǫllum ‘there was no peace for the mountains of the hawk [ARMS]’. Rauð ‘reddened’ is taken by Kock as impersonal; see Note to l. 3. — [5-7]: The fleet of fifteen ships is clearly identified as that of the Swedes in the ÓT context, and this matches the continuous text of Bb(112ra), which puts the Swedish attack first (st. 17/5 sœnskr herr ‘Swedish army’), followed by the Danish (st. 18/5 danskr herr ‘the Danish army’). ÓT (1958-2000, II, 263, 265) confirms that Hallar-Steinn’s poem describes Óláfr sœnski engaging first with Óláfr Tryggvason’s ships, but explains that Snorri Sturluson and most others say that it was the Danish king who launched the first attack. — [8]: For this line of the refrain, see Note to st. 9/8.

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