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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Hfr ErfÓl 6I

Kate Heslop (ed.) 2012, ‘Hallfreðr vandræðaskáld Óttarsson, Erfidrápa Óláfs Tryggvasonar 6’ 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. 409.

Hallfreðr vandræðaskáld ÓttarssonErfidrápa Óláfs Tryggvasonar
567

Herskerðir ‘army-diminisher’

herskerðir (noun m.): [army-diminisher]

kennings

Herskerðir
‘The army-diminisher ’
   = RULER

The army-diminisher → RULER

notes

[1] herskerðir ‘the army-diminisher [RULER]’: The close parallel herskerðandi ‘army-diminisher’ GunnlI Lv 13/7V (Gunnl 22), cited in Meissner 341, is an emendation, but cf. skerðir Engla ‘diminisher of the English’ Egill Lv 11/7V (Eg 16).

Close

harðan ‘the hard’

harðr (adj.; °comp. -ari; superl. -astr): hard, harsh

kennings

harðan stofn svarðar
‘the hard stump of the scalp ’
   = HEAD

the hard stump of the scalp → HEAD
Close

suafðar ‘’

Close

svarðar ‘of the scalp’

svǫrðr (noun m.; °svarðar, dat. sverði; sverðir, acc. svǫrðu): scalp

[3] svarðar: ‘suafdar’ 54, Bb

kennings

harðan stofn svarðar
‘the hard stump of the scalp ’
   = HEAD

the hard stump of the scalp → HEAD

notes

[3] svarðar ‘of the scalp’: (a) This is a long-established emendation of ms. ‘suafdar’, already adopted in Árni Magnússon’s copy of this stanza in 761bˣ. It provides a conventional kenning for ‘head’, stofn svarðar ‘stump of the scalp’, cf. strǫnd svarðar ‘shore of the scalp’ RvHbreiðm Hl 32/8III, hjalmstofn ‘helmet-stump’ GSúrs Lv 34/8V(Gísl 37). It also supplies conventionally positioned hendingar, as the viðrhending (second part of an internal rhyme) is sverð-, the penultimate syllable in the line, rather than stofn, the third (see Kuhn 1983, 85). (b) ‘Suafdar’ in both mss is not readily explained. It could be the f. nom./acc. pl. of the p. p. of svefja ‘to lull to sleep’, or perhaps some other derivative of the root *seu- (AEW: svefn), referring to sleep, putting to sleep, or killing (cf. Note to Þul Óðins 4/3III on the Óðinn-name Sváfnir), but no solution along these lines fits the syntax, semantics and metre of the helmingr as preserved, and the emendation stands.

Close

stofn ‘stump’

stofn (noun m.; °-s, dat. -i; -ar): pole, tree-stump

kennings

harðan stofn svarðar
‘the hard stump of the scalp ’
   = HEAD

the hard stump of the scalp → HEAD
Close

sunnr ‘in the south’

sunnr (adv.): south

Close

eld ‘sword’

eldr (noun m.; °-s, dat. -i/-(HómÍsl¹‰(1993) 24v²⁴); -ar): fire < eldviðr (noun m.): sword-tree

kennings

kunnum eldviðum
‘of famous sword-trees ’
   = WARRIORS

famous sword-trees → WARRIORS

notes

[4] kunnum eldviðum ‘of famous sword-trees [WARRIORS]’: Finnur Jónsson in Skj B emends kunnum to gunnar ‘of battle’ to produce eldviðum gunnar ‘men’, presumably with viðum ‘trees’ as base-word and eld- gunnar ‘fire of battle [SWORD]’ as determinant. However, eldr ‘fire’ is among the sword-heiti in Þul Sverða 8/2III, and can mean ‘sword’ in warrior- and battle-kennings, though the examples are mainly in later poetry (see Meissner 76, who suggests that eldr in these expressions is a synonym for brandr m. ‘flame, sword’). Emendation is therefore unnecessary (so also Krijn 1931, 54).

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viðum ‘trees’

1. viðr (noun m.; °-ar, dat. -i/-; -ir, acc. -u/-i): wood, tree < eldviðr (noun m.): sword-tree

kennings

kunnum eldviðum
‘of famous sword-trees ’
   = WARRIORS

famous sword-trees → WARRIORS

notes

[4] kunnum eldviðum ‘of famous sword-trees [WARRIORS]’: Finnur Jónsson in Skj B emends kunnum to gunnar ‘of battle’ to produce eldviðum gunnar ‘men’, presumably with viðum ‘trees’ as base-word and eld- gunnar ‘fire of battle [SWORD]’ as determinant. However, eldr ‘fire’ is among the sword-heiti in Þul Sverða 8/2III, and can mean ‘sword’ in warrior- and battle-kennings, though the examples are mainly in later poetry (see Meissner 76, who suggests that eldr in these expressions is a synonym for brandr m. ‘flame, sword’). Emendation is therefore unnecessary (so also Krijn 1931, 54).

Close

kunnum ‘of famous’

kunna (verb): know, can, be able

kennings

kunnum eldviðum
‘of famous sword-trees ’
   = WARRIORS

famous sword-trees → WARRIORS

notes

[4] kunnum eldviðum ‘of famous sword-trees [WARRIORS]’: Finnur Jónsson in Skj B emends kunnum to gunnar ‘of battle’ to produce eldviðum gunnar ‘men’, presumably with viðum ‘trees’ as base-word and eld- gunnar ‘fire of battle [SWORD]’ as determinant. However, eldr ‘fire’ is among the sword-heiti in Þul Sverða 8/2III, and can mean ‘sword’ in warrior- and battle-kennings, though the examples are mainly in later poetry (see Meissner 76, who suggests that eldr in these expressions is a synonym for brandr m. ‘flame, sword’). Emendation is therefore unnecessary (so also Krijn 1931, 54).

Close

gramr ‘The prince’

1. gramr (noun m.): ruler

Close

gunn ‘of Gunnr’

Gunnr (noun f.): Gunnr < gunnþing (noun n.): [meetings Gunnr]

[6] gunnþinga jarnmunnum: so A, gunnþings á hjǫr þunnum 54, Bb

kennings

margr heggr Gunnþinga
‘many a cherry-tree of meetings of Gunnr ’
   = WARRIOR

meetings of Gunnr → BATTLES
many a cherry-tree of BATTLES → WARRIOR

notes

[6] Gunnþinga ‘of meetings of Gunnr <valkyrie> [BATTLES]’: Gunnr is a valkyrie-name and a common noun (as in l. 5) and here, as frequently, it is difficult to tell them apart; hence ‘of battle-meetings’ is also possible, though it would not be a true kenning. On Gunnr/Guðr see further Note to Þul Valkyrja 1/6III. — [6] Gunnþinga jarnmunnum ‘of meetings of Gunnr <valkyrie> [BATTLES] ... by iron mouths’: Semantically there is little to choose between the reading of ms. A adopted in the Text above and Gunnþings/gunnþings á hjǫr þunnum, the reading of 54 and Bb, and the latter is preferred by some previous eds (Wisén 1886-9, I, 35; Skald, reading af for á). Gen. sg. Gunnþings ‘of the meeting of Gunnr <valkyrie> [BATTLE]’ is equivalent as a determinant to gen. pl. Gunnþinga, while á hjǫr þunnum ‘by/on thin blades’ takes the place of jarnmunnum ‘by iron mouths’. But the prep. á ‘on, in’, necessary to preserve scansion, is odd in context (occasioning Skald’s emendation to af ‘by’), and this combined with the parallel in Hókr Eirfl 7/4 for jarnmunnum (below) tips the balance in favour of A’s reading.

Close

gunn ‘of Gunnr’

Gunnr (noun f.): Gunnr < gunnþing (noun n.): [meetings Gunnr]

[6] gunnþinga jarnmunnum: so A, gunnþings á hjǫr þunnum 54, Bb

kennings

margr heggr Gunnþinga
‘many a cherry-tree of meetings of Gunnr ’
   = WARRIOR

meetings of Gunnr → BATTLES
many a cherry-tree of BATTLES → WARRIOR

notes

[6] Gunnþinga ‘of meetings of Gunnr <valkyrie> [BATTLES]’: Gunnr is a valkyrie-name and a common noun (as in l. 5) and here, as frequently, it is difficult to tell them apart; hence ‘of battle-meetings’ is also possible, though it would not be a true kenning. On Gunnr/Guðr see further Note to Þul Valkyrja 1/6III. — [6] Gunnþinga jarnmunnum ‘of meetings of Gunnr <valkyrie> [BATTLES] ... by iron mouths’: Semantically there is little to choose between the reading of ms. A adopted in the Text above and Gunnþings/gunnþings á hjǫr þunnum, the reading of 54 and Bb, and the latter is preferred by some previous eds (Wisén 1886-9, I, 35; Skald, reading af for á). Gen. sg. Gunnþings ‘of the meeting of Gunnr <valkyrie> [BATTLE]’ is equivalent as a determinant to gen. pl. Gunnþinga, while á hjǫr þunnum ‘by/on thin blades’ takes the place of jarnmunnum ‘by iron mouths’. But the prep. á ‘on, in’, necessary to preserve scansion, is odd in context (occasioning Skald’s emendation to af ‘by’), and this combined with the parallel in Hókr Eirfl 7/4 for jarnmunnum (below) tips the balance in favour of A’s reading.

Close

gunn ‘of Gunnr’

Gunnr (noun f.): Gunnr < gunnþing (noun n.): [meetings Gunnr]

[6] gunnþinga jarnmunnum: so A, gunnþings á hjǫr þunnum 54, Bb

kennings

margr heggr Gunnþinga
‘many a cherry-tree of meetings of Gunnr ’
   = WARRIOR

meetings of Gunnr → BATTLES
many a cherry-tree of BATTLES → WARRIOR

notes

[6] Gunnþinga ‘of meetings of Gunnr <valkyrie> [BATTLES]’: Gunnr is a valkyrie-name and a common noun (as in l. 5) and here, as frequently, it is difficult to tell them apart; hence ‘of battle-meetings’ is also possible, though it would not be a true kenning. On Gunnr/Guðr see further Note to Þul Valkyrja 1/6III. — [6] Gunnþinga jarnmunnum ‘of meetings of Gunnr <valkyrie> [BATTLES] ... by iron mouths’: Semantically there is little to choose between the reading of ms. A adopted in the Text above and Gunnþings/gunnþings á hjǫr þunnum, the reading of 54 and Bb, and the latter is preferred by some previous eds (Wisén 1886-9, I, 35; Skald, reading af for á). Gen. sg. Gunnþings ‘of the meeting of Gunnr <valkyrie> [BATTLE]’ is equivalent as a determinant to gen. pl. Gunnþinga, while á hjǫr þunnum ‘by/on thin blades’ takes the place of jarnmunnum ‘by iron mouths’. But the prep. á ‘on, in’, necessary to preserve scansion, is odd in context (occasioning Skald’s emendation to af ‘by’), and this combined with the parallel in Hókr Eirfl 7/4 for jarnmunnum (below) tips the balance in favour of A’s reading.

Close

gunn ‘of Gunnr’

Gunnr (noun f.): Gunnr < gunnþing (noun n.): [meetings Gunnr]

[6] gunnþinga jarnmunnum: so A, gunnþings á hjǫr þunnum 54, Bb

kennings

margr heggr Gunnþinga
‘many a cherry-tree of meetings of Gunnr ’
   = WARRIOR

meetings of Gunnr → BATTLES
many a cherry-tree of BATTLES → WARRIOR

notes

[6] Gunnþinga ‘of meetings of Gunnr <valkyrie> [BATTLES]’: Gunnr is a valkyrie-name and a common noun (as in l. 5) and here, as frequently, it is difficult to tell them apart; hence ‘of battle-meetings’ is also possible, though it would not be a true kenning. On Gunnr/Guðr see further Note to Þul Valkyrja 1/6III. — [6] Gunnþinga jarnmunnum ‘of meetings of Gunnr <valkyrie> [BATTLES] ... by iron mouths’: Semantically there is little to choose between the reading of ms. A adopted in the Text above and Gunnþings/gunnþings á hjǫr þunnum, the reading of 54 and Bb, and the latter is preferred by some previous eds (Wisén 1886-9, I, 35; Skald, reading af for á). Gen. sg. Gunnþings ‘of the meeting of Gunnr <valkyrie> [BATTLE]’ is equivalent as a determinant to gen. pl. Gunnþinga, while á hjǫr þunnum ‘by/on thin blades’ takes the place of jarnmunnum ‘by iron mouths’. But the prep. á ‘on, in’, necessary to preserve scansion, is odd in context (occasioning Skald’s emendation to af ‘by’), and this combined with the parallel in Hókr Eirfl 7/4 for jarnmunnum (below) tips the balance in favour of A’s reading.

Close

þinga ‘of meetings’

þing (noun n.; °-s; -): meeting, assembly < gunnþing (noun n.): [meetings Gunnr]

[6] gunnþinga jarnmunnum: so A, gunnþings á hjǫr þunnum 54, Bb

kennings

margr heggr Gunnþinga
‘many a cherry-tree of meetings of Gunnr ’
   = WARRIOR

meetings of Gunnr → BATTLES
many a cherry-tree of BATTLES → WARRIOR

notes

[6] Gunnþinga ‘of meetings of Gunnr <valkyrie> [BATTLES]’: Gunnr is a valkyrie-name and a common noun (as in l. 5) and here, as frequently, it is difficult to tell them apart; hence ‘of battle-meetings’ is also possible, though it would not be a true kenning. On Gunnr/Guðr see further Note to Þul Valkyrja 1/6III. — [6] Gunnþinga jarnmunnum ‘of meetings of Gunnr <valkyrie> [BATTLES] ... by iron mouths’: Semantically there is little to choose between the reading of ms. A adopted in the Text above and Gunnþings/gunnþings á hjǫr þunnum, the reading of 54 and Bb, and the latter is preferred by some previous eds (Wisén 1886-9, I, 35; Skald, reading af for á). Gen. sg. Gunnþings ‘of the meeting of Gunnr <valkyrie> [BATTLE]’ is equivalent as a determinant to gen. pl. Gunnþinga, while á hjǫr þunnum ‘by/on thin blades’ takes the place of jarnmunnum ‘by iron mouths’. But the prep. á ‘on, in’, necessary to preserve scansion, is odd in context (occasioning Skald’s emendation to af ‘by’), and this combined with the parallel in Hókr Eirfl 7/4 for jarnmunnum (below) tips the balance in favour of A’s reading.

Close

þinga ‘of meetings’

þing (noun n.; °-s; -): meeting, assembly < gunnþing (noun n.): [meetings Gunnr]

[6] gunnþinga jarnmunnum: so A, gunnþings á hjǫr þunnum 54, Bb

kennings

margr heggr Gunnþinga
‘many a cherry-tree of meetings of Gunnr ’
   = WARRIOR

meetings of Gunnr → BATTLES
many a cherry-tree of BATTLES → WARRIOR

notes

[6] Gunnþinga ‘of meetings of Gunnr <valkyrie> [BATTLES]’: Gunnr is a valkyrie-name and a common noun (as in l. 5) and here, as frequently, it is difficult to tell them apart; hence ‘of battle-meetings’ is also possible, though it would not be a true kenning. On Gunnr/Guðr see further Note to Þul Valkyrja 1/6III. — [6] Gunnþinga jarnmunnum ‘of meetings of Gunnr <valkyrie> [BATTLES] ... by iron mouths’: Semantically there is little to choose between the reading of ms. A adopted in the Text above and Gunnþings/gunnþings á hjǫr þunnum, the reading of 54 and Bb, and the latter is preferred by some previous eds (Wisén 1886-9, I, 35; Skald, reading af for á). Gen. sg. Gunnþings ‘of the meeting of Gunnr <valkyrie> [BATTLE]’ is equivalent as a determinant to gen. pl. Gunnþinga, while á hjǫr þunnum ‘by/on thin blades’ takes the place of jarnmunnum ‘by iron mouths’. But the prep. á ‘on, in’, necessary to preserve scansion, is odd in context (occasioning Skald’s emendation to af ‘by’), and this combined with the parallel in Hókr Eirfl 7/4 for jarnmunnum (below) tips the balance in favour of A’s reading.

Close

þinga ‘of meetings’

þing (noun n.; °-s; -): meeting, assembly < gunnþing (noun n.): [meetings Gunnr]

[6] gunnþinga jarnmunnum: so A, gunnþings á hjǫr þunnum 54, Bb

kennings

margr heggr Gunnþinga
‘many a cherry-tree of meetings of Gunnr ’
   = WARRIOR

meetings of Gunnr → BATTLES
many a cherry-tree of BATTLES → WARRIOR

notes

[6] Gunnþinga ‘of meetings of Gunnr <valkyrie> [BATTLES]’: Gunnr is a valkyrie-name and a common noun (as in l. 5) and here, as frequently, it is difficult to tell them apart; hence ‘of battle-meetings’ is also possible, though it would not be a true kenning. On Gunnr/Guðr see further Note to Þul Valkyrja 1/6III. — [6] Gunnþinga jarnmunnum ‘of meetings of Gunnr <valkyrie> [BATTLES] ... by iron mouths’: Semantically there is little to choose between the reading of ms. A adopted in the Text above and Gunnþings/gunnþings á hjǫr þunnum, the reading of 54 and Bb, and the latter is preferred by some previous eds (Wisén 1886-9, I, 35; Skald, reading af for á). Gen. sg. Gunnþings ‘of the meeting of Gunnr <valkyrie> [BATTLE]’ is equivalent as a determinant to gen. pl. Gunnþinga, while á hjǫr þunnum ‘by/on thin blades’ takes the place of jarnmunnum ‘by iron mouths’. But the prep. á ‘on, in’, necessary to preserve scansion, is odd in context (occasioning Skald’s emendation to af ‘by’), and this combined with the parallel in Hókr Eirfl 7/4 for jarnmunnum (below) tips the balance in favour of A’s reading.

Close

þinga ‘of meetings’

þing (noun n.; °-s; -): meeting, assembly < gunnþing (noun n.): [meetings Gunnr]

[6] gunnþinga jarnmunnum: so A, gunnþings á hjǫr þunnum 54, Bb

kennings

margr heggr Gunnþinga
‘many a cherry-tree of meetings of Gunnr ’
   = WARRIOR

meetings of Gunnr → BATTLES
many a cherry-tree of BATTLES → WARRIOR

notes

[6] Gunnþinga ‘of meetings of Gunnr <valkyrie> [BATTLES]’: Gunnr is a valkyrie-name and a common noun (as in l. 5) and here, as frequently, it is difficult to tell them apart; hence ‘of battle-meetings’ is also possible, though it would not be a true kenning. On Gunnr/Guðr see further Note to Þul Valkyrja 1/6III. — [6] Gunnþinga jarnmunnum ‘of meetings of Gunnr <valkyrie> [BATTLES] ... by iron mouths’: Semantically there is little to choose between the reading of ms. A adopted in the Text above and Gunnþings/gunnþings á hjǫr þunnum, the reading of 54 and Bb, and the latter is preferred by some previous eds (Wisén 1886-9, I, 35; Skald, reading af for á). Gen. sg. Gunnþings ‘of the meeting of Gunnr <valkyrie> [BATTLE]’ is equivalent as a determinant to gen. pl. Gunnþinga, while á hjǫr þunnum ‘by/on thin blades’ takes the place of jarnmunnum ‘by iron mouths’. But the prep. á ‘on, in’, necessary to preserve scansion, is odd in context (occasioning Skald’s emendation to af ‘by’), and this combined with the parallel in Hókr Eirfl 7/4 for jarnmunnum (below) tips the balance in favour of A’s reading.

Close

jarn ‘by iron’

járn (noun n.; °-s; -): iron, weapon < járnmunnr (noun m.): [by iron mouths]

[6] gunnþinga jarnmunnum: so A, gunnþings á hjǫr þunnum 54, Bb

notes

[6] jarnmunnum ‘with iron mouths’: Cf. Hókr Eirfl 7/4, and Note to st. 1/2 above for further resemblances between the two poems. Krijn (1931, 54) observed that the expression is more opaque here, where it stands alone, than in Hókr Eirfl 7/4, where jarnmunnr is part of a bird metaphor. Munnr ‘mouth’ is, however, a well-established term for the cutting edge of a weapon (Fritzner: muðr 2; LP: munnr, muðr; NN §2450), and would have been intelligible as such. — [6] Gunnþinga jarnmunnum ‘of meetings of Gunnr <valkyrie> [BATTLES] ... by iron mouths’: Semantically there is little to choose between the reading of ms. A adopted in the Text above and Gunnþings/gunnþings á hjǫr þunnum, the reading of 54 and Bb, and the latter is preferred by some previous eds (Wisén 1886-9, I, 35; Skald, reading af for á). Gen. sg. Gunnþings ‘of the meeting of Gunnr <valkyrie> [BATTLE]’ is equivalent as a determinant to gen. pl. Gunnþinga, while á hjǫr þunnum ‘by/on thin blades’ takes the place of jarnmunnum ‘by iron mouths’. But the prep. á ‘on, in’, necessary to preserve scansion, is odd in context (occasioning Skald’s emendation to af ‘by’), and this combined with the parallel in Hókr Eirfl 7/4 for jarnmunnum (below) tips the balance in favour of A’s reading.

Close

jarn ‘by iron’

járn (noun n.; °-s; -): iron, weapon < járnmunnr (noun m.): [by iron mouths]

[6] gunnþinga jarnmunnum: so A, gunnþings á hjǫr þunnum 54, Bb

notes

[6] jarnmunnum ‘with iron mouths’: Cf. Hókr Eirfl 7/4, and Note to st. 1/2 above for further resemblances between the two poems. Krijn (1931, 54) observed that the expression is more opaque here, where it stands alone, than in Hókr Eirfl 7/4, where jarnmunnr is part of a bird metaphor. Munnr ‘mouth’ is, however, a well-established term for the cutting edge of a weapon (Fritzner: muðr 2; LP: munnr, muðr; NN §2450), and would have been intelligible as such. — [6] Gunnþinga jarnmunnum ‘of meetings of Gunnr <valkyrie> [BATTLES] ... by iron mouths’: Semantically there is little to choose between the reading of ms. A adopted in the Text above and Gunnþings/gunnþings á hjǫr þunnum, the reading of 54 and Bb, and the latter is preferred by some previous eds (Wisén 1886-9, I, 35; Skald, reading af for á). Gen. sg. Gunnþings ‘of the meeting of Gunnr <valkyrie> [BATTLE]’ is equivalent as a determinant to gen. pl. Gunnþinga, while á hjǫr þunnum ‘by/on thin blades’ takes the place of jarnmunnum ‘by iron mouths’. But the prep. á ‘on, in’, necessary to preserve scansion, is odd in context (occasioning Skald’s emendation to af ‘by’), and this combined with the parallel in Hókr Eirfl 7/4 for jarnmunnum (below) tips the balance in favour of A’s reading.

Close

munnum ‘mouths’

munnr (noun m.; °-s, dat. -i; -ar): mouth < járnmunnr (noun m.): [by iron mouths]

[6] gunnþinga jarnmunnum: so A, gunnþings á hjǫr þunnum 54, Bb

notes

[6] jarnmunnum ‘with iron mouths’: Cf. Hókr Eirfl 7/4, and Note to st. 1/2 above for further resemblances between the two poems. Krijn (1931, 54) observed that the expression is more opaque here, where it stands alone, than in Hókr Eirfl 7/4, where jarnmunnr is part of a bird metaphor. Munnr ‘mouth’ is, however, a well-established term for the cutting edge of a weapon (Fritzner: muðr 2; LP: munnr, muðr; NN §2450), and would have been intelligible as such. — [6] Gunnþinga jarnmunnum ‘of meetings of Gunnr <valkyrie> [BATTLES] ... by iron mouths’: Semantically there is little to choose between the reading of ms. A adopted in the Text above and Gunnþings/gunnþings á hjǫr þunnum, the reading of 54 and Bb, and the latter is preferred by some previous eds (Wisén 1886-9, I, 35; Skald, reading af for á). Gen. sg. Gunnþings ‘of the meeting of Gunnr <valkyrie> [BATTLE]’ is equivalent as a determinant to gen. pl. Gunnþinga, while á hjǫr þunnum ‘by/on thin blades’ takes the place of jarnmunnum ‘by iron mouths’. But the prep. á ‘on, in’, necessary to preserve scansion, is odd in context (occasioning Skald’s emendation to af ‘by’), and this combined with the parallel in Hókr Eirfl 7/4 for jarnmunnum (below) tips the balance in favour of A’s reading.

Close

munnum ‘mouths’

munnr (noun m.; °-s, dat. -i; -ar): mouth < járnmunnr (noun m.): [by iron mouths]

[6] gunnþinga jarnmunnum: so A, gunnþings á hjǫr þunnum 54, Bb

notes

[6] jarnmunnum ‘with iron mouths’: Cf. Hókr Eirfl 7/4, and Note to st. 1/2 above for further resemblances between the two poems. Krijn (1931, 54) observed that the expression is more opaque here, where it stands alone, than in Hókr Eirfl 7/4, where jarnmunnr is part of a bird metaphor. Munnr ‘mouth’ is, however, a well-established term for the cutting edge of a weapon (Fritzner: muðr 2; LP: munnr, muðr; NN §2450), and would have been intelligible as such. — [6] Gunnþinga jarnmunnum ‘of meetings of Gunnr <valkyrie> [BATTLES] ... by iron mouths’: Semantically there is little to choose between the reading of ms. A adopted in the Text above and Gunnþings/gunnþings á hjǫr þunnum, the reading of 54 and Bb, and the latter is preferred by some previous eds (Wisén 1886-9, I, 35; Skald, reading af for á). Gen. sg. Gunnþings ‘of the meeting of Gunnr <valkyrie> [BATTLE]’ is equivalent as a determinant to gen. pl. Gunnþinga, while á hjǫr þunnum ‘by/on thin blades’ takes the place of jarnmunnum ‘by iron mouths’. But the prep. á ‘on, in’, necessary to preserve scansion, is odd in context (occasioning Skald’s emendation to af ‘by’), and this combined with the parallel in Hókr Eirfl 7/4 for jarnmunnum (below) tips the balance in favour of A’s reading.

Close

margr ‘many’

2. margr (adj.; °-an): many

kennings

margr heggr Gunnþinga
‘many a cherry-tree of meetings of Gunnr ’
   = WARRIOR

meetings of Gunnr → BATTLES
many a cherry-tree of BATTLES → WARRIOR
Close

hæggr ‘’

Close

heggr ‘a cherry-tree’

heggr (noun m.): cherry-tree

[7] heggr: ‘hæggr’ 54, Bb, herr A

kennings

margr heggr Gunnþinga
‘many a cherry-tree of meetings of Gunnr ’
   = WARRIOR

meetings of Gunnr → BATTLES
many a cherry-tree of BATTLES → WARRIOR

notes

[7] heggr ‘cherry-tree’: A minor emendation of the ms. readings. The species is bird-cherry, common in Scandinavia.

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hold ‘of flesh’

[8] holdbarkar rô: hold barkaðra 54, hold barkaðrar or ‘hold barkaðrra’ Bb, ‘hollbarkat ra’ A

kennings

rô holdbarkar
‘the yard-arm of flesh-bark ’
   = SWORD

flesh-bark → MAIL-SHIRT
the yard-arm of the MAIL-SHIRT → SWORD

notes

[8] rô holdbarkar ‘the yard-arm of flesh-bark [MAIL-SHIRT > SWORD]’: The whole of l. 8 presents considerable difficulties, not least the word sarkat (variant sarka), which the helmingr is ostensibly introduced into SnE to explain (see Note below). (a) The ms. readings (‘barkaðra’ 54, Bb, ‘barkat’ A) suggest the word beginning barka- is a p. p. It is interpreted as such by Sveinbjörn Egilsson: [h]rá-sarka barkat hold, and explained by him as ‘to give a raw wound to barked (mail-clad) flesh’ (SHI 2) or as ‘to denude barked flesh, to strip the armour from a mailed body’ (LP (1860): barkaðr, rásárka). But barka means not ‘to cover with bark’ but ‘to strip the bark from’ (cf. Engl. ‘gut’) or ‘to tan with bark’ (Fritzner IV: barka). Even if we instead postulate barkat hold ‘tanned, i.e. toughened flesh’ (Finnur Jónsson 1907, 316: barkaðr), hrár ‘raw, sappy’ usually applies to meat or vegetation, rather than wounds. The lack of initial <h> is also problematic, as the only other instance of this spelling, in Hávm 151/6 (NK 42), is doubtful (Evans 1986, 138-9). (b) Harðbarkliga ‘very boastfully’, suggested by Krijn (1931, 54), is a radical emendation, and involves an emended version of the ÓT mss’ hjǫr þunnum in l. 6 in place of jarnmunnum (see Note above). (c) The best solution seems to be to interpret the words preceding sarkat/sarka as a series of nouns comprising a kenning, of which the base-word is ‘yard-arm’, and the determinant is either holdbarkar ‘of flesh-bark’ (Gísli Brynjúlfsson 1857, 189-90; SnE 1848-87, III; Skald; NN §2450) or holbarkar ‘of hollow-bark’ (Skj B; LP: holbǫrkr). Holdbǫrkr ‘flesh-bark’ has at least one parallel (bark nǫkkva bœnar ‘bark of the ship of prayer [BREAST > MAIL-SHIRT]’ Hallv Knútdr 6/3, 4III; cf. also barklaust birki bǫðserkjar ‘barkless birches of the battle-shirt [MAIL-SHIRT > WARRIORS]’ Hfr Óldr 2/5, 6), whereas Finnur Jónsson’s idea of the mail-shirt as bark encircling the empty interior of the body (LP: holbǫrkr) has none.

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hold ‘of flesh’

[8] holdbarkar rô: hold barkaðra 54, hold barkaðrar or ‘hold barkaðrra’ Bb, ‘hollbarkat ra’ A

kennings

rô holdbarkar
‘the yard-arm of flesh-bark ’
   = SWORD

flesh-bark → MAIL-SHIRT
the yard-arm of the MAIL-SHIRT → SWORD

notes

[8] rô holdbarkar ‘the yard-arm of flesh-bark [MAIL-SHIRT > SWORD]’: The whole of l. 8 presents considerable difficulties, not least the word sarkat (variant sarka), which the helmingr is ostensibly introduced into SnE to explain (see Note below). (a) The ms. readings (‘barkaðra’ 54, Bb, ‘barkat’ A) suggest the word beginning barka- is a p. p. It is interpreted as such by Sveinbjörn Egilsson: [h]rá-sarka barkat hold, and explained by him as ‘to give a raw wound to barked (mail-clad) flesh’ (SHI 2) or as ‘to denude barked flesh, to strip the armour from a mailed body’ (LP (1860): barkaðr, rásárka). But barka means not ‘to cover with bark’ but ‘to strip the bark from’ (cf. Engl. ‘gut’) or ‘to tan with bark’ (Fritzner IV: barka). Even if we instead postulate barkat hold ‘tanned, i.e. toughened flesh’ (Finnur Jónsson 1907, 316: barkaðr), hrár ‘raw, sappy’ usually applies to meat or vegetation, rather than wounds. The lack of initial <h> is also problematic, as the only other instance of this spelling, in Hávm 151/6 (NK 42), is doubtful (Evans 1986, 138-9). (b) Harðbarkliga ‘very boastfully’, suggested by Krijn (1931, 54), is a radical emendation, and involves an emended version of the ÓT mss’ hjǫr þunnum in l. 6 in place of jarnmunnum (see Note above). (c) The best solution seems to be to interpret the words preceding sarkat/sarka as a series of nouns comprising a kenning, of which the base-word is ‘yard-arm’, and the determinant is either holdbarkar ‘of flesh-bark’ (Gísli Brynjúlfsson 1857, 189-90; SnE 1848-87, III; Skald; NN §2450) or holbarkar ‘of hollow-bark’ (Skj B; LP: holbǫrkr). Holdbǫrkr ‘flesh-bark’ has at least one parallel (bark nǫkkva bœnar ‘bark of the ship of prayer [BREAST > MAIL-SHIRT]’ Hallv Knútdr 6/3, 4III; cf. also barklaust birki bǫðserkjar ‘barkless birches of the battle-shirt [MAIL-SHIRT > WARRIORS]’ Hfr Óldr 2/5, 6), whereas Finnur Jónsson’s idea of the mail-shirt as bark encircling the empty interior of the body (LP: holbǫrkr) has none.

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hollbarkat ‘’

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barkaðrar ‘’

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barkaðra ‘’

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barkar ‘bark’

[8] holdbarkar rô: hold barkaðra 54, hold barkaðrar or ‘hold barkaðrra’ Bb, ‘hollbarkat ra’ A

kennings

rô holdbarkar
‘the yard-arm of flesh-bark ’
   = SWORD

flesh-bark → MAIL-SHIRT
the yard-arm of the MAIL-SHIRT → SWORD

notes

[8] rô holdbarkar ‘the yard-arm of flesh-bark [MAIL-SHIRT > SWORD]’: The whole of l. 8 presents considerable difficulties, not least the word sarkat (variant sarka), which the helmingr is ostensibly introduced into SnE to explain (see Note below). (a) The ms. readings (‘barkaðra’ 54, Bb, ‘barkat’ A) suggest the word beginning barka- is a p. p. It is interpreted as such by Sveinbjörn Egilsson: [h]rá-sarka barkat hold, and explained by him as ‘to give a raw wound to barked (mail-clad) flesh’ (SHI 2) or as ‘to denude barked flesh, to strip the armour from a mailed body’ (LP (1860): barkaðr, rásárka). But barka means not ‘to cover with bark’ but ‘to strip the bark from’ (cf. Engl. ‘gut’) or ‘to tan with bark’ (Fritzner IV: barka). Even if we instead postulate barkat hold ‘tanned, i.e. toughened flesh’ (Finnur Jónsson 1907, 316: barkaðr), hrár ‘raw, sappy’ usually applies to meat or vegetation, rather than wounds. The lack of initial <h> is also problematic, as the only other instance of this spelling, in Hávm 151/6 (NK 42), is doubtful (Evans 1986, 138-9). (b) Harðbarkliga ‘very boastfully’, suggested by Krijn (1931, 54), is a radical emendation, and involves an emended version of the ÓT mss’ hjǫr þunnum in l. 6 in place of jarnmunnum (see Note above). (c) The best solution seems to be to interpret the words preceding sarkat/sarka as a series of nouns comprising a kenning, of which the base-word is ‘yard-arm’, and the determinant is either holdbarkar ‘of flesh-bark’ (Gísli Brynjúlfsson 1857, 189-90; SnE 1848-87, III; Skald; NN §2450) or holbarkar ‘of hollow-bark’ (Skj B; LP: holbǫrkr). Holdbǫrkr ‘flesh-bark’ has at least one parallel (bark nǫkkva bœnar ‘bark of the ship of prayer [BREAST > MAIL-SHIRT]’ Hallv Knútdr 6/3, 4III; cf. also barklaust birki bǫðserkjar ‘barkless birches of the battle-shirt [MAIL-SHIRT > WARRIORS]’ Hfr Óldr 2/5, 6), whereas Finnur Jónsson’s idea of the mail-shirt as bark encircling the empty interior of the body (LP: holbǫrkr) has none.

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barkar ‘bark’

[8] holdbarkar rô: hold barkaðra 54, hold barkaðrar or ‘hold barkaðrra’ Bb, ‘hollbarkat ra’ A

kennings

rô holdbarkar
‘the yard-arm of flesh-bark ’
   = SWORD

flesh-bark → MAIL-SHIRT
the yard-arm of the MAIL-SHIRT → SWORD

notes

[8] rô holdbarkar ‘the yard-arm of flesh-bark [MAIL-SHIRT > SWORD]’: The whole of l. 8 presents considerable difficulties, not least the word sarkat (variant sarka), which the helmingr is ostensibly introduced into SnE to explain (see Note below). (a) The ms. readings (‘barkaðra’ 54, Bb, ‘barkat’ A) suggest the word beginning barka- is a p. p. It is interpreted as such by Sveinbjörn Egilsson: [h]rá-sarka barkat hold, and explained by him as ‘to give a raw wound to barked (mail-clad) flesh’ (SHI 2) or as ‘to denude barked flesh, to strip the armour from a mailed body’ (LP (1860): barkaðr, rásárka). But barka means not ‘to cover with bark’ but ‘to strip the bark from’ (cf. Engl. ‘gut’) or ‘to tan with bark’ (Fritzner IV: barka). Even if we instead postulate barkat hold ‘tanned, i.e. toughened flesh’ (Finnur Jónsson 1907, 316: barkaðr), hrár ‘raw, sappy’ usually applies to meat or vegetation, rather than wounds. The lack of initial <h> is also problematic, as the only other instance of this spelling, in Hávm 151/6 (NK 42), is doubtful (Evans 1986, 138-9). (b) Harðbarkliga ‘very boastfully’, suggested by Krijn (1931, 54), is a radical emendation, and involves an emended version of the ÓT mss’ hjǫr þunnum in l. 6 in place of jarnmunnum (see Note above). (c) The best solution seems to be to interpret the words preceding sarkat/sarka as a series of nouns comprising a kenning, of which the base-word is ‘yard-arm’, and the determinant is either holdbarkar ‘of flesh-bark’ (Gísli Brynjúlfsson 1857, 189-90; SnE 1848-87, III; Skald; NN §2450) or holbarkar ‘of hollow-bark’ (Skj B; LP: holbǫrkr). Holdbǫrkr ‘flesh-bark’ has at least one parallel (bark nǫkkva bœnar ‘bark of the ship of prayer [BREAST > MAIL-SHIRT]’ Hallv Knútdr 6/3, 4III; cf. also barklaust birki bǫðserkjar ‘barkless birches of the battle-shirt [MAIL-SHIRT > WARRIORS]’ Hfr Óldr 2/5, 6), whereas Finnur Jónsson’s idea of the mail-shirt as bark encircling the empty interior of the body (LP: holbǫrkr) has none.

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særka ‘’

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‘the yard-arm’

3. rá (noun f.): sail-yard

[8] holdbarkar rô: hold barkaðra 54, hold barkaðrar or ‘hold barkaðrra’ Bb, ‘hollbarkat ra’ A

kennings

rô holdbarkar
‘the yard-arm of flesh-bark ’
   = SWORD

flesh-bark → MAIL-SHIRT
the yard-arm of the MAIL-SHIRT → SWORD

notes

[8] rô holdbarkar ‘the yard-arm of flesh-bark [MAIL-SHIRT > SWORD]’: The whole of l. 8 presents considerable difficulties, not least the word sarkat (variant sarka), which the helmingr is ostensibly introduced into SnE to explain (see Note below). (a) The ms. readings (‘barkaðra’ 54, Bb, ‘barkat’ A) suggest the word beginning barka- is a p. p. It is interpreted as such by Sveinbjörn Egilsson: [h]rá-sarka barkat hold, and explained by him as ‘to give a raw wound to barked (mail-clad) flesh’ (SHI 2) or as ‘to denude barked flesh, to strip the armour from a mailed body’ (LP (1860): barkaðr, rásárka). But barka means not ‘to cover with bark’ but ‘to strip the bark from’ (cf. Engl. ‘gut’) or ‘to tan with bark’ (Fritzner IV: barka). Even if we instead postulate barkat hold ‘tanned, i.e. toughened flesh’ (Finnur Jónsson 1907, 316: barkaðr), hrár ‘raw, sappy’ usually applies to meat or vegetation, rather than wounds. The lack of initial <h> is also problematic, as the only other instance of this spelling, in Hávm 151/6 (NK 42), is doubtful (Evans 1986, 138-9). (b) Harðbarkliga ‘very boastfully’, suggested by Krijn (1931, 54), is a radical emendation, and involves an emended version of the ÓT mss’ hjǫr þunnum in l. 6 in place of jarnmunnum (see Note above). (c) The best solution seems to be to interpret the words preceding sarkat/sarka as a series of nouns comprising a kenning, of which the base-word is ‘yard-arm’, and the determinant is either holdbarkar ‘of flesh-bark’ (Gísli Brynjúlfsson 1857, 189-90; SnE 1848-87, III; Skald; NN §2450) or holbarkar ‘of hollow-bark’ (Skj B; LP: holbǫrkr). Holdbǫrkr ‘flesh-bark’ has at least one parallel (bark nǫkkva bœnar ‘bark of the ship of prayer [BREAST > MAIL-SHIRT]’ Hallv Knútdr 6/3, 4III; cf. also barklaust birki bǫðserkjar ‘barkless birches of the battle-shirt [MAIL-SHIRT > WARRIORS]’ Hfr Óldr 2/5, 6), whereas Finnur Jónsson’s idea of the mail-shirt as bark encircling the empty interior of the body (LP: holbǫrkr) has none.

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sarka ‘how to redden’

sarka (verb): [how to redden]

[8] sarka: ‘sęrka’ Bb, ‘sarkat’ A

notes

[8] sarka ‘redden’: (a) The interpretation preferred in the Text above is kunni ... sarka ‘knew how to redden’. Although the verb *sarka ‘redden (with wounds)’ is otherwise unknown and its meaning somewhat uncertain, ‘redden’ is vouched for by ms. A’s equation of sarkat with roðit ‘reddened’. Other solutions are less plausible. (b) AEW: sarka assumes derivation from sárr ‘wound’, and suggests the possibility of a form sárka (also the headword in LP), but the short vowel is metrically guaranteed in the present stanza. (c) LP (1860): rásárka suggested that ‘roðit’, to which ‘sarkat’ is equated in SnE, is hroðit ‘stripped’ rather than roðit ‘reddened’, presumably yielding something along the lines of ‘strip until raw’.

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

In ÓT, following the initial phase of exchanging missiles, hand-to-hand fighting commences on Ormr inn langi (see Note to st. 10/1). In the extra þulur found in the version of SnE preserved in ms. A, ll. 5-8 are used to exemplify the word sarkat (l. 8), which according to this source is synonymous with roðit ‘reddened’ (see Note).

Tree-felling as an extended metaphor for battle runs through this stanza: warrior-kennings with base-words referring to trees, common in skaldic poetry, are supplemented with the more unusual kenning stofn svarðar ‘stump of the scalp [HEAD]’ and the unique holdbǫrkr ‘flesh-bark [MAIL-SHIRT]’ (see Note to l. 8 below). — [5]: Although this is an odd line, it contains aðalhending, an occasional metrical liberty.

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