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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Liðs 6I

Russell Poole (ed.) 2012, ‘Anonymous Poems, Liðsmannaflokkr 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. 1023.

Anonymous PoemsLiðsmannaflokkr
567

áðan ‘beforehand’

áðan (adv.): before

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Ull ‘Ull’

[2] Ull‑: ulf‑ Flat, DG8

notes

[2] Ullkell: An East Anglian leader also mentioned in Sigv Víkv 7/3. The ms. tradition has Ulfkell : gullu, so that the line lacks full aðalhending. Accordingly, Konráð Gíslason (1892, 165) emended gullu ‘screamed’ to skulfu ‘shook’, following ÞKolb Eirdr 14/8: Ulfkell, bláar skulfu. However, a more conservative emendation of Ulfkell to Ullkell produces a form consistent with phonological developments in later OE, where clusters of three unlike consonants, including [lf] plus consonant, were sporadically reduced, especially in proper names (Campbell 1959, 191). The spelling Ulfcytel/Ulfcetel for the name of Knútr’s opponent is standard in English sources, but forms such as Wlketel(us), Vlkill and Ulkil occur alongside Vlfketel, Vlfkil, and Vlfkel to denote other men of the same name (cf. Hauberg 1900, 92-103, 265; Whitelock 1941, 129, 145). There is no parallel reduction in consonant clusters in OWN proper names (Seip 1971, 174, 190), which suggests that this form would be an Anglo-Saxon or Anglo-Scandinavian feature.

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kell ‘kell’

-kell (noun m.): [kell] < Ullkell (noun m.)

notes

[2] Ullkell: An East Anglian leader also mentioned in Sigv Víkv 7/3. The ms. tradition has Ulfkell : gullu, so that the line lacks full aðalhending. Accordingly, Konráð Gíslason (1892, 165) emended gullu ‘screamed’ to skulfu ‘shook’, following ÞKolb Eirdr 14/8: Ulfkell, bláar skulfu. However, a more conservative emendation of Ulfkell to Ullkell produces a form consistent with phonological developments in later OE, where clusters of three unlike consonants, including [lf] plus consonant, were sporadically reduced, especially in proper names (Campbell 1959, 191). The spelling Ulfcytel/Ulfcetel for the name of Knútr’s opponent is standard in English sources, but forms such as Wlketel(us), Vlkill and Ulkil occur alongside Vlfketel, Vlfkil, and Vlfkel to denote other men of the same name (cf. Hauberg 1900, 92-103, 265; Whitelock 1941, 129, 145). There is no parallel reduction in consonant clusters in OWN proper names (Seip 1971, 174, 190), which suggests that this form would be an Anglo-Saxon or Anglo-Scandinavian feature.

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þars ‘where’

þars (conj.): where

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spjǫr ‘spears’

spjǫr (noun n.): spear

[2] spjǫr: spor DG8

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hǫrð ‘a hard’

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

kennings

hǫrð hríð garða hildar
‘a hard storm of enclosures of war ’
   = BATTLE

enclosures of war → SHIELDS
a hard storm of SHIELDS → BATTLE
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hildar ‘of war’

1. hildr (noun f.): battle

kennings

hǫrð hríð garða hildar
‘a hard storm of enclosures of war ’
   = BATTLE

enclosures of war → SHIELDS
a hard storm of SHIELDS → BATTLE
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hildar ‘of war’

1. hildr (noun f.): battle

kennings

hǫrð hríð garða hildar
‘a hard storm of enclosures of war ’
   = BATTLE

enclosures of war → SHIELDS
a hard storm of SHIELDS → BATTLE
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garða ‘of enclosures’

garðr (noun m.): enclosure, yard

kennings

hǫrð hríð garða hildar
‘a hard storm of enclosures of war ’
   = BATTLE

enclosures of war → SHIELDS
a hard storm of SHIELDS → BATTLE
Close

garða ‘of enclosures’

garðr (noun m.): enclosure, yard

kennings

hǫrð hríð garða hildar
‘a hard storm of enclosures of war ’
   = BATTLE

enclosures of war → SHIELDS
a hard storm of SHIELDS → BATTLE
Close

hríð ‘storm’

hríð (noun f.; °-ar; -ir): time, storm

kennings

hǫrð hríð garða hildar
‘a hard storm of enclosures of war ’
   = BATTLE

enclosures of war → SHIELDS
a hard storm of SHIELDS → BATTLE
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slíðr ‘ruthless’

1. slíðr (noun f.; °; slíðrir/slíðrar): [tough, sheath] < slíðrhugaðr (adj./verb p.p.): ruthless-minded

notes

[5] slíðrhugaðr ‘ruthless-minded one’: Hofmann (1955, 70-1) sees this cpd adj. as another possible Anglo-Saxonism. The adj. is m. nom. sg. and is used substantivally as a vocative, representing the person addressed in sátt ‘you saw’ (l. 6), presumably a comrade of the speaker. Elsewhere in Anon Liðs a female interlocutor is addressed (see Introduction).

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hugaðr ‘minded one’

-hugaðr (adj.): -minded < slíðrhugaðr (adj./verb p.p.): ruthless-minded

notes

[5] slíðrhugaðr ‘ruthless-minded one’: Hofmann (1955, 70-1) sees this cpd adj. as another possible Anglo-Saxonism. The adj. is m. nom. sg. and is used substantivally as a vocative, representing the person addressed in sátt ‘you saw’ (l. 6), presumably a comrade of the speaker. Elsewhere in Anon Liðs a female interlocutor is addressed (see Introduction).

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síðan ‘afterwards’

síðan (adv.): later, then

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sátt ‘you saw’

2. sjá (verb): see

[6] sátt (‘sááttu’): sættu DG8

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á ‘on’

3. á (prep.): on, at

notes

[6] á oss ‘on us’: This is taken here with sátt ‘you saw’ (l. 6), as also by Kock (Skald and NN §594). The reference is presumably to very visible bravery on the part of the speaker and his companions, perhaps specifically to the wounds they incurred in the fight against Ulfcytel. Skj B and ÓHLeg 1982 construe it with tveir hugir runnu, hence ‘two minds were competing in us’, at the price of complex syntax.

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oss ‘us’

vér (pron.; °gen. vár, dat./acc. oss): we, us, our

notes

[6] á oss ‘on us’: This is taken here with sátt ‘you saw’ (l. 6), as also by Kock (Skald and NN §594). The reference is presumably to very visible bravery on the part of the speaker and his companions, perhaps specifically to the wounds they incurred in the fight against Ulfcytel. Skj B and ÓHLeg 1982 construe it with tveir hugir runnu, hence ‘two minds were competing in us’, at the price of complex syntax.

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mátti ‘one [we] could prevail’

mega (verb): may, might

[6] mátti: ‘motte’ DG8

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byggs ‘of the barley’

bygg (noun n.; °-s): barley

[7] byggs: ‘bys’ DG8

kennings

bitran skeggja byggs brunns;
‘the fierce denizen of the barley of the spring; ’
   = Ullkell

the barley of the spring; → STONE
the fierce denizen of the STONE → Ullkell

notes

[7-8] skeggja byggs brunns ‘denizen of the barley of the spring [STONE > ? = Ullkell]’: This curious expression probably refers to Ulfcytel. Bygg brunns ‘barley of the spring’ must mean ‘stone, rock’ (cf. Meissner 90), hence *steinskeggi, which Finnur Jónsson takes as equivalent to eyjarskeggi ‘island-dweller’ (LP: skeggi; cf. Schier 1976a, 583). However, this seems unnecessary since *steinskeggi can be a ‘dweller in stone’, just as hraunskeggi is somebody living on a lava-field (hraun). No doubt Ulfcytel is envisaged as occupying a stone fortification (cf. the reference to a stone-dwelling woman in st. 8/1, 4). London, with its stone walls dating from the Roman era, would fit with this allusion. Normally a kenning of this type would apply to giants, who are archetypally dwellers in (or on) stones, rocks, or mountains. It seems incongruous here, but perhaps some kind of humorous or disparaging effect is intended (cf. Note to Anon Óldr 15/7, 8).

Close

byggs ‘of the barley’

bygg (noun n.; °-s): barley

[7] byggs: ‘bys’ DG8

kennings

bitran skeggja byggs brunns;
‘the fierce denizen of the barley of the spring; ’
   = Ullkell

the barley of the spring; → STONE
the fierce denizen of the STONE → Ullkell

notes

[7-8] skeggja byggs brunns ‘denizen of the barley of the spring [STONE > ? = Ullkell]’: This curious expression probably refers to Ulfcytel. Bygg brunns ‘barley of the spring’ must mean ‘stone, rock’ (cf. Meissner 90), hence *steinskeggi, which Finnur Jónsson takes as equivalent to eyjarskeggi ‘island-dweller’ (LP: skeggi; cf. Schier 1976a, 583). However, this seems unnecessary since *steinskeggi can be a ‘dweller in stone’, just as hraunskeggi is somebody living on a lava-field (hraun). No doubt Ulfcytel is envisaged as occupying a stone fortification (cf. the reference to a stone-dwelling woman in st. 8/1, 4). London, with its stone walls dating from the Roman era, would fit with this allusion. Normally a kenning of this type would apply to giants, who are archetypally dwellers in (or on) stones, rocks, or mountains. It seems incongruous here, but perhaps some kind of humorous or disparaging effect is intended (cf. Note to Anon Óldr 15/7, 8).

Close

bitran ‘the fierce’

bitr (adj.; °bitran; superl. bitrastr): sharp, biting

kennings

bitran skeggja byggs brunns;
‘the fierce denizen of the barley of the spring; ’
   = Ullkell

the barley of the spring; → STONE
the fierce denizen of the STONE → Ullkell
Close

skeggja ‘denizen’

skeggi (noun m.; °-ja; -jar): [denizen, skeggi]

kennings

bitran skeggja byggs brunns;
‘the fierce denizen of the barley of the spring; ’
   = Ullkell

the barley of the spring; → STONE
the fierce denizen of the STONE → Ullkell

notes

[7-8] skeggja byggs brunns ‘denizen of the barley of the spring [STONE > ? = Ullkell]’: This curious expression probably refers to Ulfcytel. Bygg brunns ‘barley of the spring’ must mean ‘stone, rock’ (cf. Meissner 90), hence *steinskeggi, which Finnur Jónsson takes as equivalent to eyjarskeggi ‘island-dweller’ (LP: skeggi; cf. Schier 1976a, 583). However, this seems unnecessary since *steinskeggi can be a ‘dweller in stone’, just as hraunskeggi is somebody living on a lava-field (hraun). No doubt Ulfcytel is envisaged as occupying a stone fortification (cf. the reference to a stone-dwelling woman in st. 8/1, 4). London, with its stone walls dating from the Roman era, would fit with this allusion. Normally a kenning of this type would apply to giants, who are archetypally dwellers in (or on) stones, rocks, or mountains. It seems incongruous here, but perhaps some kind of humorous or disparaging effect is intended (cf. Note to Anon Óldr 15/7, 8).

Close

brunns ‘of the spring’

brunnr (noun m.; °-s, dat. -i; -ar): spring, well

kennings

bitran skeggja byggs brunns;
‘the fierce denizen of the barley of the spring; ’
   = Ullkell

the barley of the spring; → STONE
the fierce denizen of the STONE → Ullkell

notes

[7-8] skeggja byggs brunns ‘denizen of the barley of the spring [STONE > ? = Ullkell]’: This curious expression probably refers to Ulfcytel. Bygg brunns ‘barley of the spring’ must mean ‘stone, rock’ (cf. Meissner 90), hence *steinskeggi, which Finnur Jónsson takes as equivalent to eyjarskeggi ‘island-dweller’ (LP: skeggi; cf. Schier 1976a, 583). However, this seems unnecessary since *steinskeggi can be a ‘dweller in stone’, just as hraunskeggi is somebody living on a lava-field (hraun). No doubt Ulfcytel is envisaged as occupying a stone fortification (cf. the reference to a stone-dwelling woman in st. 8/1, 4). London, with its stone walls dating from the Roman era, would fit with this allusion. Normally a kenning of this type would apply to giants, who are archetypally dwellers in (or on) stones, rocks, or mountains. It seems incongruous here, but perhaps some kind of humorous or disparaging effect is intended (cf. Note to Anon Óldr 15/7, 8).

Close

brunns ‘of the spring’

brunnr (noun m.; °-s, dat. -i; -ar): spring, well

kennings

bitran skeggja byggs brunns;
‘the fierce denizen of the barley of the spring; ’
   = Ullkell

the barley of the spring; → STONE
the fierce denizen of the STONE → Ullkell

notes

[7-8] skeggja byggs brunns ‘denizen of the barley of the spring [STONE > ? = Ullkell]’: This curious expression probably refers to Ulfcytel. Bygg brunns ‘barley of the spring’ must mean ‘stone, rock’ (cf. Meissner 90), hence *steinskeggi, which Finnur Jónsson takes as equivalent to eyjarskeggi ‘island-dweller’ (LP: skeggi; cf. Schier 1976a, 583). However, this seems unnecessary since *steinskeggi can be a ‘dweller in stone’, just as hraunskeggi is somebody living on a lava-field (hraun). No doubt Ulfcytel is envisaged as occupying a stone fortification (cf. the reference to a stone-dwelling woman in st. 8/1, 4). London, with its stone walls dating from the Roman era, would fit with this allusion. Normally a kenning of this type would apply to giants, who are archetypally dwellers in (or on) stones, rocks, or mountains. It seems incongruous here, but perhaps some kind of humorous or disparaging effect is intended (cf. Note to Anon Óldr 15/7, 8).

Close

tveir ‘two’

tveir (num. cardinal): two

notes

[8] tveir hugir runnu ‘two minds were competing’: Lit. ‘were running’. This remark is evidently an admission that dissent or doubt existed among the vikings about how to proceed in response to Ulfcytel’s fierce defence.

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hugir ‘minds’

hugr (noun m.): mind, thought, courage

notes

[8] tveir hugir runnu ‘two minds were competing’: Lit. ‘were running’. This remark is evidently an admission that dissent or doubt existed among the vikings about how to proceed in response to Ulfcytel’s fierce defence.

Close

runnu ‘were competing’

2. renna (verb): run (strong)

notes

[8] tveir hugir runnu ‘two minds were competing’: Lit. ‘were running’. This remark is evidently an admission that dissent or doubt existed among the vikings about how to proceed in response to Ulfcytel’s fierce defence.

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

As for st. 1.

The scene of the battle attributed to Knútr in sts 5 and 6 is London or close by, alongside the Thames, as further indicated by st. 7, where the Danes are instructed to bíða ‘wait’ so as to lay siege to London. The ASC (s. a. 1016) states that the Danes continued the siege of the city for some time after the departure of Eadmund Ironside, the son of Æthelred, in 1016, but were thwarted by stout opposition from the garrison.

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