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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Ótt Knútdr 6I

Matthew Townend (ed.) 2012, ‘Óttarr svarti, Knútsdrápa 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. 774.

Óttarr svartiKnútsdrápa
567

Ungr ‘Young’

ungr (adj.): young

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Thesu ‘the Tees’

Tesa (noun f.): [Tees]

[2] Thesu: corrected from Tesu 20dˣ, Tesu 41ˣ

notes

[2] Thesu ‘the Tees’: A river in northern England. The initial <Th> spelling in most mss is curious (and not matched in English sources), and is possibly attributable to Latin influence (see Townend 1998, 85). A battle by the Tees is not mentioned in the ASC (s.a. 1016), though it is plausible (see Poole 1987, 273).

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falla ‘to fall’

falla (verb): fall

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flóði ‘flowed’

3. flóa (verb): flood, flow

[3] flóði: ‘flædi’ JÓ, ‘fløði’ 20dˣ, 873ˣ, 41ˣ

notes

[3] flóði ‘flowed’: There are two weak verbs of similar meaning: flóa (pret. flóði) and flœða (pret. flœddi). The ms. readings might seem to indicate the latter, but this would mean there is no skothending in the line. Skj B, Skald, Knýtl 1919-25, and ÍF 35 accordingly all print flóði (and see also LP: 2. flóa).

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dauðra ‘of dead’

2. dauðr (adj.): dead

[3] dauðra: dauða all

notes

[3] dauðra ‘dead’: The emendation to a gen. pl. adj. modifying Norðimbra ‘Northumbrians’ is proposed by Kock (NN §736) and followed in ÍF 35; otherwise dauða must be taken as acc. pl. modifying Engla, and such syntax seems out of keeping with Óttarr’s ‘couplet’ style in this poem.

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Norðimbra ‘Northumbrians’

norðymbri (noun m.): [Northumbrians]

[4] Norðimbra: ‘Nordumbra’ 873ˣ

notes

[4] Norðimbra ‘Northumbrians’: The inhabitants of Northumbria, the most northerly Anglo-Saxon kingdom.

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svǫrtum ‘of the dark’

svartr (adj.): black

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sunnarr ‘further south’

sunnar (adv.): further south

notes

[6] sunnarr ‘further south’: This is taken in Skj B with ll. 7-8, and specifically with at Skorsteini ‘at Sherston’, which gives a more complex syntactic arrangement (cf. NN §620).

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hvǫtuðr ‘The urger’

hvǫtuðr (noun m.): inciter

[6] hvǫtuðr: ‘hautudr’ all

kennings

Hvǫtuðr gunnar
‘The urger of battle ’
   = WARRIOR

The urger of battle → WARRIOR

notes

[6] hvǫtuðr gunnar ‘the urger of battle [WARRIOR]’: A typical kenning problem arises, as to whether the locution here involves the abstract noun gunnr ‘battle’ (so JÓ, 873x, Knýtl 1919-25, and ÍF 35) or the valkyrie-name Gunnr (so 20dx, Skj B and Skald). Since Óttarr is otherwise sparing in his use of mythological figures in this poem, the former view is preferred here. Emendation to the agent noun hvǫtuðr ‘urger’ seems necessary to make sense of the ms. reading ‘hautudr’ (normalised hǫtuðr ‘hater’), and all eds emend here.

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gunnar ‘of battle’

gunnr (noun f.): battle, Gunnr

kennings

Hvǫtuðr gunnar
‘The urger of battle ’
   = WARRIOR

The urger of battle → WARRIOR

notes

[6] hvǫtuðr gunnar ‘the urger of battle [WARRIOR]’: A typical kenning problem arises, as to whether the locution here involves the abstract noun gunnr ‘battle’ (so JÓ, 873x, Knýtl 1919-25, and ÍF 35) or the valkyrie-name Gunnr (so 20dx, Skj B and Skald). Since Óttarr is otherwise sparing in his use of mythological figures in this poem, the former view is preferred here. Emendation to the agent noun hvǫtuðr ‘urger’ seems necessary to make sense of the ms. reading ‘hautudr’ (normalised hǫtuðr ‘hater’), and all eds emend here.

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inn ‘the’

2. inn (art.): the

kennings

inn snjalli mǫgr Sveins
‘the bold son of Sveinn ’
   = Knútr

the bold son of Sveinn → Knútr
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snjalli ‘bold’

snjallr (adj.): quick, resourceful, bold

kennings

inn snjalli mǫgr Sveins
‘the bold son of Sveinn ’
   = Knútr

the bold son of Sveinn → Knútr
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Sveins ‘of Sveinn’

2. Sveinn (noun m.): Sveinn

kennings

inn snjalli mǫgr Sveins
‘the bold son of Sveinn ’
   = Knútr

the bold son of Sveinn → Knútr

notes

[8] mǫgr Sveins ‘the son of Sveinn [= Knútr]’: As Frank (1994b, 112) points out, Knútr’s poets frequently characterise him as being his father’s son. The same phrase is also found, in identical position, in Hallv Knútdr 1/4III.

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mǫgr ‘son’

mǫgr (noun m.; °; megir, acc. mǫgu): son, boy

kennings

inn snjalli mǫgr Sveins
‘the bold son of Sveinn ’
   = Knútr

the bold son of Sveinn → Knútr

notes

[8] mǫgr Sveins ‘the son of Sveinn [= Knútr]’: As Frank (1994b, 112) points out, Knútr’s poets frequently characterise him as being his father’s son. The same phrase is also found, in identical position, in Hallv Knútdr 1/4III.

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Skorsteini ‘Sherston’

Skorsteinn (noun m.): [Sherston]

notes

[8] Skorsteini ‘Sherston’: In Wiltshire (OE Sceorstan), site of a major battle between Knútr and Eadmund Ironside in 1016 (see ASC s. a.).

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

The stanza follows a prose account of the battle of Skorsteinn (Sherston).

[1-2]: Steinn Óldr 2/1-2II, lines about a battle in 1066 by a different river, the Yorkshire Ouse (Úsa), are closely similar. — [5-8]: The question as to whether or not Óttarr alternates in this poem between 2nd and 3rd pers. narration is especially pressing here. (a) In the mss both verbs in the second helmingr are in the 3rd pers. (braut ‘broke’, olli ‘made’), and so are retained here, as also by Kock (NN §737 and Skald, followed by ÍF 35), this being the only point in the poem where he retains the 3rd pers. (b) Skj B and Knýtl 1919-25 emend to 2nd pers. forms. Although the use of the def. art. in inn snjalli mǫgr Sveins ‘the bold son of Sveinn’ may suggest that this phrase is a 3rd pers. subject rather than an apostrophe, Óttarr does use the def. art. in a 2nd pers. context in st. 10/1-2.

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