skaldic

Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

Menu Search

Ótt Hfl 8I

Matthew Townend (ed.) 2012, ‘Óttarr svarti, Hǫfuðlausn 8’ 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. 750.

Óttarr svartiHǫfuðlausn
789

brauzt ‘broke’

brjóta (verb; °brýtr; braut, brutu; brotinn): to break, destroy

[1] brauzt: ‘brꜽtz’ 325VII

Close

éla ‘of the storms’

él (noun n.; °; dat. -um): storm

[1] éla: engla 325V

kennings

Gunnþorinn kennir éla Yggs,
‘Battle-daring master of the storms of Yggr, ’
   = WARRIOR

the storms of Yggr, → BATTLES
Battle-daring master of BATTLES → WARRIOR
Close

éla ‘of the storms’

él (noun n.; °; dat. -um): storm

[1] éla: engla 325V

kennings

Gunnþorinn kennir éla Yggs,
‘Battle-daring master of the storms of Yggr, ’
   = WARRIOR

the storms of Yggr, → BATTLES
Battle-daring master of BATTLES → WARRIOR
Close

kennir ‘master’

kennir (noun m.): teacher

kennings

Gunnþorinn kennir éla Yggs,
‘Battle-daring master of the storms of Yggr, ’
   = WARRIOR

the storms of Yggr, → BATTLES
Battle-daring master of BATTLES → WARRIOR
Close

Yggs ‘of Yggr’

1. Yggr (noun m.): Yggr

[2] Yggs: ‘ygs’ Holm2, J1ˣ, 68, 75c, 325VII, Bb, Flat, Tóm, ‘uggs’ 78aˣ, Ygg 61

kennings

Gunnþorinn kennir éla Yggs,
‘Battle-daring master of the storms of Yggr, ’
   = WARRIOR

the storms of Yggr, → BATTLES
Battle-daring master of BATTLES → WARRIOR

notes

[2] Yggs : bryggjur: The rhyme is indebted to Sigv Víkv 6/4 Yggs Lundúna bryggjur.

Close

Yggs ‘of Yggr’

1. Yggr (noun m.): Yggr

[2] Yggs: ‘ygs’ Holm2, J1ˣ, 68, 75c, 325VII, Bb, Flat, Tóm, ‘uggs’ 78aˣ, Ygg 61

kennings

Gunnþorinn kennir éla Yggs,
‘Battle-daring master of the storms of Yggr, ’
   = WARRIOR

the storms of Yggr, → BATTLES
Battle-daring master of BATTLES → WARRIOR

notes

[2] Yggs : bryggjur: The rhyme is indebted to Sigv Víkv 6/4 Yggs Lundúna bryggjur.

Close

gunn ‘Battle’

gunnr (noun f.): battle < gunnþorinn (adj.): battle-brave

[2] gunn‑: so Holm2, J1ˣ, J2ˣ, 325VI, 73aˣ, 78aˣ, veðr‑ Kˣ, 75c, 325V, 325VII, Bb, Flat, Tóm, veðrs 68, 61

kennings

Gunnþorinn kennir éla Yggs,
‘Battle-daring master of the storms of Yggr, ’
   = WARRIOR

the storms of Yggr, → BATTLES
Battle-daring master of BATTLES → WARRIOR
Close

þorinn ‘daring’

-þorinn (adj.): [bold, daring] < gunnþorinn (adj.): battle-brave

[2] ‑þorinn: ‑róinn 61

kennings

Gunnþorinn kennir éla Yggs,
‘Battle-daring master of the storms of Yggr, ’
   = WARRIOR

the storms of Yggr, → BATTLES
Battle-daring master of BATTLES → WARRIOR
Close

bryggjur ‘the wharves’

1. bryggja (noun f.; °-u; -ur, gen. bryggna): landing, bridge, gangway, quay

notes

[2] bryggjur ‘the wharves’: Or possibly ‘bridges’. For discussion of the use of bryggja see Note to Sigv Víkv 6/4 and Jesch (2001a, 51 n. 9). Jesch notes, citing Fell (1981b, 115), that if the term here means ‘bridge’, then it shows a semantic loan from the cognate OE brycg; but that the traditional meaning of ON bryggja, ‘wharf, jetty’, is perfectly possible here, and favoured by the fact that bryggjur is pl. whereas only one bridge is known from the time.

Close

linns ‘of the serpent’

linnr (noun m.): snake

[3] linns: linds J1ˣ, J2ˣ, 325V, Bb, linn 68

kennings

lǫnd linns.
‘the lands of the serpent. ’
   = GOLD

the lands of the serpent. → GOLD
Close

hefr ‘it has’

hafa (verb): have

Close

lǫnd ‘the lands’

land (noun n.; °-s; *-): land

[3] lǫnd: lǫnd or land 325VI, 325V, land 78aˣ

kennings

lǫnd linns.
‘the lands of the serpent. ’
   = GOLD

the lands of the serpent. → GOLD
Close

Lundúna ‘of London’

Lundúnir (noun f.): [London]

[4] Lundúna: ‘lundana’ J1ˣ, ‘lvndvno’ 68, Lundúnar 325V

notes

[4] Lundúna ‘of London’: Þorkell’s attack on London is recorded in the ASC (s. a. 1009), though only the C text names him (Ðurkilles here ‘Þorkell’s army’). For discussion of the form of the p. n. see Townend (1998, 52-7).

Close

snúnat ‘turned out’

snúna (verb): turn out, weave together

[4] snúnat: ‘snuþat’ Holm2, ‘snvnna’ Bb, ‘snunar’ Flat

Close

Hǫfðu ‘had’

hafa (verb): have

Close

krafðir ‘pressed’

krefja (verb): request

notes

[5] krafðir ‘pressed’: From krefja ‘to crave, make a demand of’. The translation ‘hard pressed’ is taken from Ashdown (1930, 220).

Close

gamlir ‘old’

gamall (adj.; °gamlan; compar. & superl. „ ellri adj.): old

kennings

gamlir járnhringar gunnþinga
‘old iron-rings of battle-meetings ’
   = MAIL-SHIRTS

old iron-rings of battle-meetings → MAIL-SHIRTS

notes

[7] gamlir; sprungu ‘old; sprang apart’: As ÍF 27 notes, there seems to be a clear echo here of Sigv Víkv 14/3-4: gamlir sprungu geirar ‘old spears shattered’. Armour used in an English campaign appears to be described as forn ‘ancient’ in Anon Liðs 2/4.

Close

sprungu ‘sprang apart’

springa (verb): burst, spring apart

notes

[7] gamlir; sprungu ‘old; sprang apart’: As ÍF 27 notes, there seems to be a clear echo here of Sigv Víkv 14/3-4: gamlir sprungu geirar ‘old spears shattered’. Armour used in an English campaign appears to be described as forn ‘ancient’ in Anon Liðs 2/4.

Close

gunn ‘of battle’

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

kennings

gamlir járnhringar gunnþinga
‘old iron-rings of battle-meetings ’
   = MAIL-SHIRTS

old iron-rings of battle-meetings → MAIL-SHIRTS

notes

[8] járnhringar gunnþinga ‘iron-rings of battle-meetings [MAIL-SHIRTS]’: The line (gunnþinga járnhringar in ms. order) raises a question of syllable count. W, the sole ms. of FGT, has sg. gunnþings here, and writes a clearly disyllabic ‘éärn’ for the first element of járnhringar, which might suggest a disyllabic form, though Hreinn Benediktsson’s view (FGT 1972a, 226 n.) is that ‘the accent and the diaeresis are surely later additions’. The First Grammarian comments that kveðandin skyldi hann til at slíta eina samstǫfu í sundr ok gøra tvær ór, til þess at kveðandi haldisk í hætti ‘the meter forced him [the poet] to split one syllable into two, so that the meter might remain intact’ (FGT 1972b, 20-1, trans. Haugen). However, the gen. pl. reading -þinga in the konungasǫgur mss supplies the necessary six syllables for the line and so is followed here, whereas Skj B adopts W’s archaic reading, as do Skald and ÍF 27. Skj B and ÍF 27 both translate járnhringar as ‘swords’. Hringr ‘ring’ often stands for ‘sword’ in skaldic diction (see Note to Þhorn Harkv 1/1), as does járn ‘iron’; cf. Kock’s (NN §728) klingor utav järn ‘blades of iron’. Rainford (1995, 66) argues instead that the gunnþinga járnhringar which sprungu ‘sprang apart’ are mail-shirts; this view is adopted here. For the use of hringr and járn in terms for mail-shirts see further Falk (1914b, 175-7), and compare OE hringīren ‘ring-iron, mail-shirt’ in Beowulf l. 322 (Beowulf 2008, 13). The construction appears to be a kenning, although it does not match the most stereotypical kennings for ‘mail-shirt’ (Meissner 165).

Close

þinga ‘meetings’

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

[8] ‑þinga: ‑þings W

kennings

gamlir járnhringar gunnþinga
‘old iron-rings of battle-meetings ’
   = MAIL-SHIRTS

old iron-rings of battle-meetings → MAIL-SHIRTS

notes

[8] járnhringar gunnþinga ‘iron-rings of battle-meetings [MAIL-SHIRTS]’: The line (gunnþinga járnhringar in ms. order) raises a question of syllable count. W, the sole ms. of FGT, has sg. gunnþings here, and writes a clearly disyllabic ‘éärn’ for the first element of járnhringar, which might suggest a disyllabic form, though Hreinn Benediktsson’s view (FGT 1972a, 226 n.) is that ‘the accent and the diaeresis are surely later additions’. The First Grammarian comments that kveðandin skyldi hann til at slíta eina samstǫfu í sundr ok gøra tvær ór, til þess at kveðandi haldisk í hætti ‘the meter forced him [the poet] to split one syllable into two, so that the meter might remain intact’ (FGT 1972b, 20-1, trans. Haugen). However, the gen. pl. reading -þinga in the konungasǫgur mss supplies the necessary six syllables for the line and so is followed here, whereas Skj B adopts W’s archaic reading, as do Skald and ÍF 27. Skj B and ÍF 27 both translate járnhringar as ‘swords’. Hringr ‘ring’ often stands for ‘sword’ in skaldic diction (see Note to Þhorn Harkv 1/1), as does járn ‘iron’; cf. Kock’s (NN §728) klingor utav järn ‘blades of iron’. Rainford (1995, 66) argues instead that the gunnþinga járnhringar which sprungu ‘sprang apart’ are mail-shirts; this view is adopted here. For the use of hringr and járn in terms for mail-shirts see further Falk (1914b, 175-7), and compare OE hringīren ‘ring-iron, mail-shirt’ in Beowulf l. 322 (Beowulf 2008, 13). The construction appears to be a kenning, although it does not match the most stereotypical kennings for ‘mail-shirt’ (Meissner 165).

Close

járn ‘iron’

járn (noun n.; °-s; -): iron, weapon < járnhringr (noun m.)

kennings

gamlir járnhringar gunnþinga
‘old iron-rings of battle-meetings ’
   = MAIL-SHIRTS

old iron-rings of battle-meetings → MAIL-SHIRTS

notes

[8] járnhringar gunnþinga ‘iron-rings of battle-meetings [MAIL-SHIRTS]’: The line (gunnþinga járnhringar in ms. order) raises a question of syllable count. W, the sole ms. of FGT, has sg. gunnþings here, and writes a clearly disyllabic ‘éärn’ for the first element of járnhringar, which might suggest a disyllabic form, though Hreinn Benediktsson’s view (FGT 1972a, 226 n.) is that ‘the accent and the diaeresis are surely later additions’. The First Grammarian comments that kveðandin skyldi hann til at slíta eina samstǫfu í sundr ok gøra tvær ór, til þess at kveðandi haldisk í hætti ‘the meter forced him [the poet] to split one syllable into two, so that the meter might remain intact’ (FGT 1972b, 20-1, trans. Haugen). However, the gen. pl. reading -þinga in the konungasǫgur mss supplies the necessary six syllables for the line and so is followed here, whereas Skj B adopts W’s archaic reading, as do Skald and ÍF 27. Skj B and ÍF 27 both translate járnhringar as ‘swords’. Hringr ‘ring’ often stands for ‘sword’ in skaldic diction (see Note to Þhorn Harkv 1/1), as does járn ‘iron’; cf. Kock’s (NN §728) klingor utav järn ‘blades of iron’. Rainford (1995, 66) argues instead that the gunnþinga járnhringar which sprungu ‘sprang apart’ are mail-shirts; this view is adopted here. For the use of hringr and járn in terms for mail-shirts see further Falk (1914b, 175-7), and compare OE hringīren ‘ring-iron, mail-shirt’ in Beowulf l. 322 (Beowulf 2008, 13). The construction appears to be a kenning, although it does not match the most stereotypical kennings for ‘mail-shirt’ (Meissner 165).

Close

hringar ‘rings’

1. hringr (noun m.; °-s, dat. -; -ar): ring; sword < járnhringr (noun m.)

kennings

gamlir járnhringar gunnþinga
‘old iron-rings of battle-meetings ’
   = MAIL-SHIRTS

old iron-rings of battle-meetings → MAIL-SHIRTS

notes

[8] járnhringar gunnþinga ‘iron-rings of battle-meetings [MAIL-SHIRTS]’: The line (gunnþinga járnhringar in ms. order) raises a question of syllable count. W, the sole ms. of FGT, has sg. gunnþings here, and writes a clearly disyllabic ‘éärn’ for the first element of járnhringar, which might suggest a disyllabic form, though Hreinn Benediktsson’s view (FGT 1972a, 226 n.) is that ‘the accent and the diaeresis are surely later additions’. The First Grammarian comments that kveðandin skyldi hann til at slíta eina samstǫfu í sundr ok gøra tvær ór, til þess at kveðandi haldisk í hætti ‘the meter forced him [the poet] to split one syllable into two, so that the meter might remain intact’ (FGT 1972b, 20-1, trans. Haugen). However, the gen. pl. reading -þinga in the konungasǫgur mss supplies the necessary six syllables for the line and so is followed here, whereas Skj B adopts W’s archaic reading, as do Skald and ÍF 27. Skj B and ÍF 27 both translate járnhringar as ‘swords’. Hringr ‘ring’ often stands for ‘sword’ in skaldic diction (see Note to Þhorn Harkv 1/1), as does járn ‘iron’; cf. Kock’s (NN §728) klingor utav järn ‘blades of iron’. Rainford (1995, 66) argues instead that the gunnþinga járnhringar which sprungu ‘sprang apart’ are mail-shirts; this view is adopted here. For the use of hringr and járn in terms for mail-shirts see further Falk (1914b, 175-7), and compare OE hringīren ‘ring-iron, mail-shirt’ in Beowulf l. 322 (Beowulf 2008, 13). The construction appears to be a kenning, although it does not match the most stereotypical kennings for ‘mail-shirt’ (Meissner 165).

Close

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

In ÓH and Hkr, fighting in support of King Aðalráðr (Æthelred), Óláfr and his Norwegian force gain control of London Bridge and the River Thames, so the citizens surrender and accept Aðalráðr. FGT cites the stanza with the words, Skáld eru hǫfundar allrar rýnni eða málsgreinar, sem smiðir [smíðar] eða lǫgmenn laga. En þessa lund kvað einn þeira eða þessu líkt ‘the skalds are authorities on all writing or speaking, just as craftsmen on their craft and lawyers on the law. One of them made a poem somewhat as follows’ (FGT 1972b, 20); on this passage see Clunies Ross (2005a, 154-5).

According to Sigv Víkv 4-5, after further raiding in the Baltic, Óláfr sailed back west, to places that have been located in Denmark and the Netherlands. Both poems (Víkv 6-9, Hfl 8-11) then depict Óláfr’s fighting in England. In particular, Hfl 8-10 follow Víkv 6-8 closely in specifying the three locations of London, Ringmere Heath, and Canterbury. The konungasǫgur claim that these campaigns were in the company of the Danish leader Þorkell inn hávi ‘the Tall’ and the Scandinavian sources tally well with the ASC’s account of Þorkell’s campaigns of 1009-12, even though Óláfr himself is not mentioned in English sources. The claim of Snorri Sturluson (ÓH and Hkr) that Óláfr was fighting in support of King Aðalráðr (Æthelred) at this early stage is probably erroneous: see Note to st. 13 [All]. For detailed discussion of Óláfr’s campaigns in England, and the stanzas and sagas in which they are recorded, see Campbell (1998, 76-82) and Turville-Petre (1969, 10-13); on Þorkell, see Keynes (1980, 216-22). — [1-4]: The syntax and kennings in these lines can be construed in a variety of ways. (a) Kock (NN §727), followed here, adopts gunnþorinn, the reading of Holm2 and other A- and C-class mss of ÓH, takes linns as a determinant for lǫnd (‘the lands of the serpent [GOLD]’), and reads kennir éla Yggs, gunnþorinn ‘master of the storms of Yggr [BATTLES > WARRIOR], battle-daring’. A reference to gold is fitting since in the pre-Norway stanzas of Hfl the emphasis is precisely on Óláfr’s viking exploits and his consequent accumulation of booty (see e.g. sts 7 and 11). (b) Finnur Jónsson in Skj B also adopts gunnþorinn, but assumes an elaborate warrior-kenning, kennir linns éla Yggs ‘master of the serpent of the storms of Yggr <= Óðinn> [BATTLES > SWORD > WARRIOR]’. However, this involves complex syntax and a statement that Óláfr won lǫnd ‘lands’ in England, and there is no evidence of this. (c) ÍF 27 follows interpretation (b), refining it by retaining the reading veðrþorinn and reading kennir linns éla, Yggs veðrþorinn ‘master of the serpent of battles [SWORD > WARRIOR], daring in the weather of Yggr [BATTLE]’. The assumption that él ‘storm’ alone can mean ‘battle’, is, however, problematic. — [5-8]: Skj B takes járnhringar ‘iron-rings’ to be the subject of hǫfðu (gang) ‘had (movement)’ and skildir ‘shields’ to be the subject of sprungu ‘sprang apart’, whereas Kock (NN §728) and this edn take skildir as the subject of hǫfðu and járnhringar as the subject of sprungu. ÍF 27 follows Kock in terms of subjects and verbs, but like Skj B attaches gunnþings ‘of battle-meeting’ (for gunnþinga pl.) to hart of krafðir, giving ‘hard pressed in battle-meeting’. Kock’s view is preferable, in assuming that the groups of words before and after en ‘and’ each form a discrete clause.

Close

Log in

This service is only available to members of the relevant projects, and to purchasers of the skaldic volumes published by Brepols.
This service uses cookies. By logging in you agree to the use of cookies on your browser.

Close

Stanza/chapter/text segment

Use the buttons at the top of the page to navigate between stanzas in a poem.

Information tab

Interactive tab

The text and translation are given here, with buttons to toggle whether the text is shown in the verse order or prose word order. Clicking on indiviudal words gives dictionary links, variant readings, kennings and notes, where relevant.

Full text tab

This is the text of the edition in a similar format to how the edition appears in the printed volumes.

Chapter/text segment

This view is also used for chapters and other text segments. Not all the headings shown are relevant to such sections.