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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
123

mennis ‘ men’

menni (noun n.): -men < góðmenni (noun n.): [a good man]

[1] ‑mennis: ‘[…]ennis’ U

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þarfk ‘I need to enjoy’

2. þurfa (verb): need, be necessary

[1] þarfk (‘þarf ek’): ‘þarf e’ W(75), ‘þar[…] ek’ U

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gunnar ‘of battle’

gunnr (noun f.): battle

kennings

gunnar glóðbrjótanda;
‘ember-breaker of battle’
   = WARRIOR

the ember of battle; → SWORD
the breaker of the SWORD → WARRIOR

notes

[1] gunnar ‘of battle’: The usual uncertainty exists here whether to take this as the abstract noun gunnr ‘battle’ or the valkyrie-name Gunnr; cf. Note to Hfr ErfÓl 6/6. — [1-2] gunnar glóðbrjótanda ‘of the breaker of the ember of battle [(lit. ‘ember-breaker of battle’) SWORD > WARRIOR]’: The exact configuration of kennings is elusive here. The first citation in SnE draws attention to golls brjótandi or gollbrjótandi ‘gold-breaker’, a kenning for ‘generous man’. If this construal is correct, gunnar ‘of battle’ is not integral to the kenning but must loosely qualify either this, hence ‘generous man of battle’ referring to Óláfr, or else góðmennis ‘good men’, hence ‘good men of battle’, i.e. warriors. However, the construal may be incorrect (so Faulkes in SnE 1998, I, 190, II, 251), and the full kenning may be a kenning not for ‘generous man/ruler’ but rather for ‘warrior’: Óttarr’s idiom plays with the ‘generous man/ruler’ concept in passing, but embeds it and re-analyses it within the ‘warrior’ concept, creating a sword-kenning by combining either glóð ‘ember’ or goll(s) ‘gold’ with gunnar ‘battle’. The second citation in SnE has glóðbrjótandi ‘ember-breaker’, which forms an inverted warrior-kenning with gunnar, and this is preferred in this edn, as in Skj B and Skald. Goll(s) would not be a standard base-word for a sword-kenning. The closest comparandum would be gim (Meissner 150), and this is not a true parallel since its meaning in sword-kennings is ‘fire’ rather than ‘gem, jewel’.

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gunnar ‘of battle’

gunnr (noun f.): battle

kennings

gunnar glóðbrjótanda;
‘ember-breaker of battle’
   = WARRIOR

the ember of battle; → SWORD
the breaker of the SWORD → WARRIOR

notes

[1] gunnar ‘of battle’: The usual uncertainty exists here whether to take this as the abstract noun gunnr ‘battle’ or the valkyrie-name Gunnr; cf. Note to Hfr ErfÓl 6/6. — [1-2] gunnar glóðbrjótanda ‘of the breaker of the ember of battle [(lit. ‘ember-breaker of battle’) SWORD > WARRIOR]’: The exact configuration of kennings is elusive here. The first citation in SnE draws attention to golls brjótandi or gollbrjótandi ‘gold-breaker’, a kenning for ‘generous man’. If this construal is correct, gunnar ‘of battle’ is not integral to the kenning but must loosely qualify either this, hence ‘generous man of battle’ referring to Óláfr, or else góðmennis ‘good men’, hence ‘good men of battle’, i.e. warriors. However, the construal may be incorrect (so Faulkes in SnE 1998, I, 190, II, 251), and the full kenning may be a kenning not for ‘generous man/ruler’ but rather for ‘warrior’: Óttarr’s idiom plays with the ‘generous man/ruler’ concept in passing, but embeds it and re-analyses it within the ‘warrior’ concept, creating a sword-kenning by combining either glóð ‘ember’ or goll(s) ‘gold’ with gunnar ‘battle’. The second citation in SnE has glóðbrjótandi ‘ember-breaker’, which forms an inverted warrior-kenning with gunnar, and this is preferred in this edn, as in Skj B and Skald. Goll(s) would not be a standard base-word for a sword-kenning. The closest comparandum would be gim (Meissner 150), and this is not a true parallel since its meaning in sword-kennings is ‘fire’ rather than ‘gem, jewel’.

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gunnar ‘of battle’

gunnr (noun f.): battle

kennings

gunnar glóðbrjótanda;
‘ember-breaker of battle’
   = WARRIOR

the ember of battle; → SWORD
the breaker of the SWORD → WARRIOR

notes

[1] gunnar ‘of battle’: The usual uncertainty exists here whether to take this as the abstract noun gunnr ‘battle’ or the valkyrie-name Gunnr; cf. Note to Hfr ErfÓl 6/6. — [1-2] gunnar glóðbrjótanda ‘of the breaker of the ember of battle [(lit. ‘ember-breaker of battle’) SWORD > WARRIOR]’: The exact configuration of kennings is elusive here. The first citation in SnE draws attention to golls brjótandi or gollbrjótandi ‘gold-breaker’, a kenning for ‘generous man’. If this construal is correct, gunnar ‘of battle’ is not integral to the kenning but must loosely qualify either this, hence ‘generous man of battle’ referring to Óláfr, or else góðmennis ‘good men’, hence ‘good men of battle’, i.e. warriors. However, the construal may be incorrect (so Faulkes in SnE 1998, I, 190, II, 251), and the full kenning may be a kenning not for ‘generous man/ruler’ but rather for ‘warrior’: Óttarr’s idiom plays with the ‘generous man/ruler’ concept in passing, but embeds it and re-analyses it within the ‘warrior’ concept, creating a sword-kenning by combining either glóð ‘ember’ or goll(s) ‘gold’ with gunnar ‘battle’. The second citation in SnE has glóðbrjótandi ‘ember-breaker’, which forms an inverted warrior-kenning with gunnar, and this is preferred in this edn, as in Skj B and Skald. Goll(s) would not be a standard base-word for a sword-kenning. The closest comparandum would be gim (Meissner 150), and this is not a true parallel since its meaning in sword-kennings is ‘fire’ rather than ‘gem, jewel’.

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gunnar ‘of battle’

gunnr (noun f.): battle

kennings

gunnar glóðbrjótanda;
‘ember-breaker of battle’
   = WARRIOR

the ember of battle; → SWORD
the breaker of the SWORD → WARRIOR

notes

[1] gunnar ‘of battle’: The usual uncertainty exists here whether to take this as the abstract noun gunnr ‘battle’ or the valkyrie-name Gunnr; cf. Note to Hfr ErfÓl 6/6. — [1-2] gunnar glóðbrjótanda ‘of the breaker of the ember of battle [(lit. ‘ember-breaker of battle’) SWORD > WARRIOR]’: The exact configuration of kennings is elusive here. The first citation in SnE draws attention to golls brjótandi or gollbrjótandi ‘gold-breaker’, a kenning for ‘generous man’. If this construal is correct, gunnar ‘of battle’ is not integral to the kenning but must loosely qualify either this, hence ‘generous man of battle’ referring to Óláfr, or else góðmennis ‘good men’, hence ‘good men of battle’, i.e. warriors. However, the construal may be incorrect (so Faulkes in SnE 1998, I, 190, II, 251), and the full kenning may be a kenning not for ‘generous man/ruler’ but rather for ‘warrior’: Óttarr’s idiom plays with the ‘generous man/ruler’ concept in passing, but embeds it and re-analyses it within the ‘warrior’ concept, creating a sword-kenning by combining either glóð ‘ember’ or goll(s) ‘gold’ with gunnar ‘battle’. The second citation in SnE has glóðbrjótandi ‘ember-breaker’, which forms an inverted warrior-kenning with gunnar, and this is preferred in this edn, as in Skj B and Skald. Goll(s) would not be a standard base-word for a sword-kenning. The closest comparandum would be gim (Meissner 150), and this is not a true parallel since its meaning in sword-kennings is ‘fire’ rather than ‘gem, jewel’.

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glóð ‘of the ember’

glóð (noun f.): ember

[2] glóð: so R(36r), Tˣ(37v), W(82), A, golls R(33r), C, goll‑ Tˣ(34v), W(75), U, B

kennings

gunnar glóðbrjótanda;
‘ember-breaker of battle’
   = WARRIOR

the ember of battle; → SWORD
the breaker of the SWORD → WARRIOR

notes

[1-2] gunnar glóðbrjótanda ‘of the breaker of the ember of battle [(lit. ‘ember-breaker of battle’) SWORD > WARRIOR]’: The exact configuration of kennings is elusive here. The first citation in SnE draws attention to golls brjótandi or gollbrjótandi ‘gold-breaker’, a kenning for ‘generous man’. If this construal is correct, gunnar ‘of battle’ is not integral to the kenning but must loosely qualify either this, hence ‘generous man of battle’ referring to Óláfr, or else góðmennis ‘good men’, hence ‘good men of battle’, i.e. warriors. However, the construal may be incorrect (so Faulkes in SnE 1998, I, 190, II, 251), and the full kenning may be a kenning not for ‘generous man/ruler’ but rather for ‘warrior’: Óttarr’s idiom plays with the ‘generous man/ruler’ concept in passing, but embeds it and re-analyses it within the ‘warrior’ concept, creating a sword-kenning by combining either glóð ‘ember’ or goll(s) ‘gold’ with gunnar ‘battle’. The second citation in SnE has glóðbrjótandi ‘ember-breaker’, which forms an inverted warrior-kenning with gunnar, and this is preferred in this edn, as in Skj B and Skald. Goll(s) would not be a standard base-word for a sword-kenning. The closest comparandum would be gim (Meissner 150), and this is not a true parallel since its meaning in sword-kennings is ‘fire’ rather than ‘gem, jewel’.

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glóð ‘of the ember’

glóð (noun f.): ember

[2] glóð: so R(36r), Tˣ(37v), W(82), A, golls R(33r), C, goll‑ Tˣ(34v), W(75), U, B

kennings

gunnar glóðbrjótanda;
‘ember-breaker of battle’
   = WARRIOR

the ember of battle; → SWORD
the breaker of the SWORD → WARRIOR

notes

[1-2] gunnar glóðbrjótanda ‘of the breaker of the ember of battle [(lit. ‘ember-breaker of battle’) SWORD > WARRIOR]’: The exact configuration of kennings is elusive here. The first citation in SnE draws attention to golls brjótandi or gollbrjótandi ‘gold-breaker’, a kenning for ‘generous man’. If this construal is correct, gunnar ‘of battle’ is not integral to the kenning but must loosely qualify either this, hence ‘generous man of battle’ referring to Óláfr, or else góðmennis ‘good men’, hence ‘good men of battle’, i.e. warriors. However, the construal may be incorrect (so Faulkes in SnE 1998, I, 190, II, 251), and the full kenning may be a kenning not for ‘generous man/ruler’ but rather for ‘warrior’: Óttarr’s idiom plays with the ‘generous man/ruler’ concept in passing, but embeds it and re-analyses it within the ‘warrior’ concept, creating a sword-kenning by combining either glóð ‘ember’ or goll(s) ‘gold’ with gunnar ‘battle’. The second citation in SnE has glóðbrjótandi ‘ember-breaker’, which forms an inverted warrior-kenning with gunnar, and this is preferred in this edn, as in Skj B and Skald. Goll(s) would not be a standard base-word for a sword-kenning. The closest comparandum would be gim (Meissner 150), and this is not a true parallel since its meaning in sword-kennings is ‘fire’ rather than ‘gem, jewel’.

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brjótanda ‘of the breaker’

brjótandi (noun m.): [breakers, breaker]

[2] brjótanda: ‑brjótandi Tˣ(37v)

kennings

gunnar glóðbrjótanda;
‘ember-breaker of battle’
   = WARRIOR

the ember of battle; → SWORD
the breaker of the SWORD → WARRIOR

notes

[1-2] gunnar glóðbrjótanda ‘of the breaker of the ember of battle [(lit. ‘ember-breaker of battle’) SWORD > WARRIOR]’: The exact configuration of kennings is elusive here. The first citation in SnE draws attention to golls brjótandi or gollbrjótandi ‘gold-breaker’, a kenning for ‘generous man’. If this construal is correct, gunnar ‘of battle’ is not integral to the kenning but must loosely qualify either this, hence ‘generous man of battle’ referring to Óláfr, or else góðmennis ‘good men’, hence ‘good men of battle’, i.e. warriors. However, the construal may be incorrect (so Faulkes in SnE 1998, I, 190, II, 251), and the full kenning may be a kenning not for ‘generous man/ruler’ but rather for ‘warrior’: Óttarr’s idiom plays with the ‘generous man/ruler’ concept in passing, but embeds it and re-analyses it within the ‘warrior’ concept, creating a sword-kenning by combining either glóð ‘ember’ or goll(s) ‘gold’ with gunnar ‘battle’. The second citation in SnE has glóðbrjótandi ‘ember-breaker’, which forms an inverted warrior-kenning with gunnar, and this is preferred in this edn, as in Skj B and Skald. Goll(s) would not be a standard base-word for a sword-kenning. The closest comparandum would be gim (Meissner 150), and this is not a true parallel since its meaning in sword-kennings is ‘fire’ rather than ‘gem, jewel’.

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at ‘’

5. at (nota): to (with infinitive)

[2] at: om. Tˣ(34v), W(75), B, C

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njóta ‘the favour’

njóta (verb): enjoy, use

[2] njóta: ‘ni[…]’ U

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hérs ‘here there is’

hér (adv.): here

[3] hérs (‘her er’): hann er W(75), ‘[…]’ U

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al ‘very’

al- ((prefix)): very < alnenninn (adj.): [very active]

[3] alnennin: ‘[…]is’ U

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nennin ‘active’

nenninn (adj.): vigorous < alnenninn (adj.): [very active]

[3] alnennin: ‘[…]is’ U

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inn ‘household’

1. inn (adv.): in, inside < inndrótt (noun f.): retinue

[4] inn‑: ‘[…]’ U

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gram ‘king’

1. gramr (noun m.): ruler

[4] gram: so all others, ‘gu[...]a’ R(33r)

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svinnum ‘a wise’

2. svinnr (adj.): wise

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

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.

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