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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Hfr Hákdr 5III

Kate Heslop (ed.) 2017, ‘Hallfreðr vandræðaskáld Óttarsson, Hákonardrápa 5’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 219.

Hallfreðr vandræðaskáld ÓttarssonHákonardrápa

text and translation

Sannyrðum spenr sverða
snarr þiggjandi viggjar
barrhaddaða byrjar
biðkvôn und sik Þriðja.

{Snarr þiggjandi {viggjar byrjar}} spenr {barrhaddaða biðkvôn Þriðja} und sik {sannyrðum sverða}.
‘The swift receiver of the horse of the breeze [SHIP > SEAFARER] draws under himself the foliage-haired waiting wife of Þriði <= Óðinn> [= Jǫrð (jǫrð ‘earth’)] by means of true words of swords [BATTLE].

notes and context

Skm cites this half-stanza as the last in a series illustrating kennings and heiti for Óðinn. Directly after it is the comment (SnE 1998, I, 8): Hér er þess dœmi at jǫrð er kǫlluð kona Óðins í skáldskap ‘Here is an example of earth being called the wife of Óðinn in poetry’.

Hákon’s conquest of Norway is represented here as the seduction of a woman who personifies the land. The hieros gamos ‘sacred marriage’ topos (see Introduction) is sharpened by the skaldic technique of ofljóst. ‘The wife of Þriði’ is the goddess Jǫrð and so the common noun jǫrð ‘earth’, making the equation lady = land especially persuasive.



Text is based on reconstruction from the base text and variant apparatus and may contain alternative spellings and other normalisations not visible in the manuscript text. Transcriptions may not have been checked and should not be cited.

editions and texts

Skj: Hallfrøðr Óttarsson vandræðaskáld, 1. Hákonardrápa 3: AI, 155, BI, 147, Skald I, 80, NN §§1911B, 1955; SnE 1848-87, I, 236-7, II, 303, 518-19, III, 4, SnE 1931, 89, SnE 1998, I, 8; Davidson 1983, 449, 497-503.


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