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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Ótt Hfl 2I

Matthew Townend (ed.) 2012, ‘Óttarr svarti, Hǫfuðlausn 2’ 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. 744.

Óttarr svartiHǫfuðlausn

text and translation

Góðmennis þarfk gunnar
glóðbrjótanda at njóta;
hérs alnennin inni
inndrótt með gram svinnum.

Þarfk at njóta góðmennis {{gunnar glóð}brjótanda}; hérs alnennin inndrótt inni með svinnum gram.
‘I need to enjoy the favour of the good men of the breaker of the ember of battle [(lit. ‘ember-breaker of battle’) SWORD > WARRIOR]; here there is a very active household retinue inside with a wise king.

notes and context

The helmingr is quoted twice in SnE (Skm). The first citation illustrates how ‘gold’ is used in kennings for ‘man’ (specifying brjótr gullsins ‘breaker of gold’), and the second how ‘men’ or ‘retainers’ are to be referred to (here inndrótt ‘household retinue’).

Following on from st. 1, this helmingr is of interest in illustrating how a skald might feel obliged to appeal to a king’s retinue, as well as to the king himself, in seeking new service.



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: Óttarr svarti, 2. Hǫfuðlausn 2: AI, 290, BI, 268, Skald I, 137; SnE 1848-87, I, 406-7, 458-9, II, 323, 434, 533, 583, SnE 1931, 145, 163, SnE 1998, I, 62, 81.


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