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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Rv Lv 17II

Judith Jesch (ed.) 2009, ‘Rǫgnvaldr jarl Kali Kolsson, Lausavísur 17’ in Kari Ellen Gade (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 2: From c. 1035 to c. 1300. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 2. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 595-6.

Rǫgnvaldr jarl Kali KolssonLausavísur
161718

hvít ‘White’

hvítr (adj.; °-an; -ari, -astr): white

[1] hvít: hvítt R702ˣ

notes

[1] hvít ‘white’: Kock (NN §976) prefers to take the reading of R702ˣ and construe this adj. with vín ‘wine’ though such a focus on the colour of wine is not found elsewhere in poetry. Rǫgnvaldr uses the same adj. of Ermingerðr in st. 21/5.

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hlað ‘headband’

hlað (noun n.; °-s; *-): headband < hlaðnift (noun f.)

kennings

hlað-Nipt alindriptar
‘headband-Nipt <norn> of forearm-snow ’
   = WOMAN

forearm-snow → GOLD
headband-Nipt <norn> of the GOLD → WOMAN

notes

[2] hlað-Nipt alindriptar ‘headband-Nipt <norn> of forearm-snow [GOLD > WOMAN]’: A hlað could be either a ‘headband’ or a ‘decorative border on clothing’ (LP). Nipt is not a frequently-occurring word, mostly used to mean either ‘sister’ or ‘niece’ (LP), though etymologically it is a precise term for ‘sister’s daughter’ (AEW). None of these is particularly relevant in this context, and it may be better to take it as the name of a norn (attested in Þul Ásynja 5/3III) giving ‘the norn of the golden headband’; indeed Ermingerðr is described in the saga-prose as wearing a golden headband (cf. Note to st. 15/6-7). Alindript ‘forearm-snow’ is usually taken to mean ‘silver’ (LP; Meissner 224; NN §976; ÍF 34; Bibire 1988) and could indeed be taken so here. However, woman-kennings are normally constructed with a word or kenning for ‘gold’, rather than ‘silver’, as determinant (Meissner 413-14; cf. st. 4/4; associations of women with gold hair and headdresses are also found in sts 6, 15). Although ‘snow’ does seem to suggest ‘silver’ rather than ‘gold’, there is evidence that it could be used in ‘gold’-kennings in Rǫgnvaldr’s and subsequent poetry. Thus there are similar kennings in RvHbreiðm Hl 8/3III dript alnar ‘snow-drift of the fore-arm’ and SnSt Ht 43/3-4III glaðdript Grotta ‘joyful snow-drift of Grotti’. Meissner 224 translates both of these as Silber ‘silver’, however the former is about Gunnar Gjúkason and the Niflung treasure, and this and the reference to Grotti in the latter suggest that they are in fact gold-kennings. While Snorri makes a clear distinction between red gold and white silver (SnE 1998, I, 61), the Litla Skálda treatise allows for the possibility of constructing gold-kennings with words meaning ‘snow’ or ‘ice’ (SnE 1931, 256), particularly in relation to the hand. Thus, Rǫgnvaldr’s woman-kenning must be understood to include a gold-kenning as was traditional, though the gold-kenning itself is not traditional.

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Nipt ‘Nipt <norn>’

nift (noun f.): kinswoman < hlaðnift (noun f.)

kennings

hlað-Nipt alindriptar
‘headband-Nipt <norn> of forearm-snow ’
   = WOMAN

forearm-snow → GOLD
headband-Nipt <norn> of the GOLD → WOMAN

notes

[2] hlað-Nipt alindriptar ‘headband-Nipt <norn> of forearm-snow [GOLD > WOMAN]’: A hlað could be either a ‘headband’ or a ‘decorative border on clothing’ (LP). Nipt is not a frequently-occurring word, mostly used to mean either ‘sister’ or ‘niece’ (LP), though etymologically it is a precise term for ‘sister’s daughter’ (AEW). None of these is particularly relevant in this context, and it may be better to take it as the name of a norn (attested in Þul Ásynja 5/3III) giving ‘the norn of the golden headband’; indeed Ermingerðr is described in the saga-prose as wearing a golden headband (cf. Note to st. 15/6-7). Alindript ‘forearm-snow’ is usually taken to mean ‘silver’ (LP; Meissner 224; NN §976; ÍF 34; Bibire 1988) and could indeed be taken so here. However, woman-kennings are normally constructed with a word or kenning for ‘gold’, rather than ‘silver’, as determinant (Meissner 413-14; cf. st. 4/4; associations of women with gold hair and headdresses are also found in sts 6, 15). Although ‘snow’ does seem to suggest ‘silver’ rather than ‘gold’, there is evidence that it could be used in ‘gold’-kennings in Rǫgnvaldr’s and subsequent poetry. Thus there are similar kennings in RvHbreiðm Hl 8/3III dript alnar ‘snow-drift of the fore-arm’ and SnSt Ht 43/3-4III glaðdript Grotta ‘joyful snow-drift of Grotti’. Meissner 224 translates both of these as Silber ‘silver’, however the former is about Gunnar Gjúkason and the Niflung treasure, and this and the reference to Grotti in the latter suggest that they are in fact gold-kennings. While Snorri makes a clear distinction between red gold and white silver (SnE 1998, I, 61), the Litla Skálda treatise allows for the possibility of constructing gold-kennings with words meaning ‘snow’ or ‘ice’ (SnE 1931, 256), particularly in relation to the hand. Thus, Rǫgnvaldr’s woman-kenning must be understood to include a gold-kenning as was traditional, though the gold-kenning itself is not traditional.

Close

alin ‘of forearm’

alin (noun f.): forearm, ell < alindrift (noun f.)

[2] alin‑ (‘á lín’): so R702ˣ, Skǫgul Flat

kennings

hlað-Nipt alindriptar
‘headband-Nipt <norn> of forearm-snow ’
   = WOMAN

forearm-snow → GOLD
headband-Nipt <norn> of the GOLD → WOMAN

notes

[2] hlað-Nipt alindriptar ‘headband-Nipt <norn> of forearm-snow [GOLD > WOMAN]’: A hlað could be either a ‘headband’ or a ‘decorative border on clothing’ (LP). Nipt is not a frequently-occurring word, mostly used to mean either ‘sister’ or ‘niece’ (LP), though etymologically it is a precise term for ‘sister’s daughter’ (AEW). None of these is particularly relevant in this context, and it may be better to take it as the name of a norn (attested in Þul Ásynja 5/3III) giving ‘the norn of the golden headband’; indeed Ermingerðr is described in the saga-prose as wearing a golden headband (cf. Note to st. 15/6-7). Alindript ‘forearm-snow’ is usually taken to mean ‘silver’ (LP; Meissner 224; NN §976; ÍF 34; Bibire 1988) and could indeed be taken so here. However, woman-kennings are normally constructed with a word or kenning for ‘gold’, rather than ‘silver’, as determinant (Meissner 413-14; cf. st. 4/4; associations of women with gold hair and headdresses are also found in sts 6, 15). Although ‘snow’ does seem to suggest ‘silver’ rather than ‘gold’, there is evidence that it could be used in ‘gold’-kennings in Rǫgnvaldr’s and subsequent poetry. Thus there are similar kennings in RvHbreiðm Hl 8/3III dript alnar ‘snow-drift of the fore-arm’ and SnSt Ht 43/3-4III glaðdript Grotta ‘joyful snow-drift of Grotti’. Meissner 224 translates both of these as Silber ‘silver’, however the former is about Gunnar Gjúkason and the Niflung treasure, and this and the reference to Grotti in the latter suggest that they are in fact gold-kennings. While Snorri makes a clear distinction between red gold and white silver (SnE 1998, I, 61), the Litla Skálda treatise allows for the possibility of constructing gold-kennings with words meaning ‘snow’ or ‘ice’ (SnE 1931, 256), particularly in relation to the hand. Thus, Rǫgnvaldr’s woman-kenning must be understood to include a gold-kenning as was traditional, though the gold-kenning itself is not traditional.

Close

alin ‘of forearm’

alin (noun f.): forearm, ell < alindrift (noun f.)

[2] alin‑ (‘á lín’): so R702ˣ, Skǫgul Flat

kennings

hlað-Nipt alindriptar
‘headband-Nipt <norn> of forearm-snow ’
   = WOMAN

forearm-snow → GOLD
headband-Nipt <norn> of the GOLD → WOMAN

notes

[2] hlað-Nipt alindriptar ‘headband-Nipt <norn> of forearm-snow [GOLD > WOMAN]’: A hlað could be either a ‘headband’ or a ‘decorative border on clothing’ (LP). Nipt is not a frequently-occurring word, mostly used to mean either ‘sister’ or ‘niece’ (LP), though etymologically it is a precise term for ‘sister’s daughter’ (AEW). None of these is particularly relevant in this context, and it may be better to take it as the name of a norn (attested in Þul Ásynja 5/3III) giving ‘the norn of the golden headband’; indeed Ermingerðr is described in the saga-prose as wearing a golden headband (cf. Note to st. 15/6-7). Alindript ‘forearm-snow’ is usually taken to mean ‘silver’ (LP; Meissner 224; NN §976; ÍF 34; Bibire 1988) and could indeed be taken so here. However, woman-kennings are normally constructed with a word or kenning for ‘gold’, rather than ‘silver’, as determinant (Meissner 413-14; cf. st. 4/4; associations of women with gold hair and headdresses are also found in sts 6, 15). Although ‘snow’ does seem to suggest ‘silver’ rather than ‘gold’, there is evidence that it could be used in ‘gold’-kennings in Rǫgnvaldr’s and subsequent poetry. Thus there are similar kennings in RvHbreiðm Hl 8/3III dript alnar ‘snow-drift of the fore-arm’ and SnSt Ht 43/3-4III glaðdript Grotta ‘joyful snow-drift of Grotti’. Meissner 224 translates both of these as Silber ‘silver’, however the former is about Gunnar Gjúkason and the Niflung treasure, and this and the reference to Grotti in the latter suggest that they are in fact gold-kennings. While Snorri makes a clear distinction between red gold and white silver (SnE 1998, I, 61), the Litla Skálda treatise allows for the possibility of constructing gold-kennings with words meaning ‘snow’ or ‘ice’ (SnE 1931, 256), particularly in relation to the hand. Thus, Rǫgnvaldr’s woman-kenning must be understood to include a gold-kenning as was traditional, though the gold-kenning itself is not traditional.

Close

driptar ‘snow’

drift (noun f.; °; dat. -um): snowdrift < alindrift (noun f.)

[2] ‑driptar: so R702ˣ, ‘drifta’ Flat

kennings

hlað-Nipt alindriptar
‘headband-Nipt <norn> of forearm-snow ’
   = WOMAN

forearm-snow → GOLD
headband-Nipt <norn> of the GOLD → WOMAN

notes

[2] hlað-Nipt alindriptar ‘headband-Nipt <norn> of forearm-snow [GOLD > WOMAN]’: A hlað could be either a ‘headband’ or a ‘decorative border on clothing’ (LP). Nipt is not a frequently-occurring word, mostly used to mean either ‘sister’ or ‘niece’ (LP), though etymologically it is a precise term for ‘sister’s daughter’ (AEW). None of these is particularly relevant in this context, and it may be better to take it as the name of a norn (attested in Þul Ásynja 5/3III) giving ‘the norn of the golden headband’; indeed Ermingerðr is described in the saga-prose as wearing a golden headband (cf. Note to st. 15/6-7). Alindript ‘forearm-snow’ is usually taken to mean ‘silver’ (LP; Meissner 224; NN §976; ÍF 34; Bibire 1988) and could indeed be taken so here. However, woman-kennings are normally constructed with a word or kenning for ‘gold’, rather than ‘silver’, as determinant (Meissner 413-14; cf. st. 4/4; associations of women with gold hair and headdresses are also found in sts 6, 15). Although ‘snow’ does seem to suggest ‘silver’ rather than ‘gold’, there is evidence that it could be used in ‘gold’-kennings in Rǫgnvaldr’s and subsequent poetry. Thus there are similar kennings in RvHbreiðm Hl 8/3III dript alnar ‘snow-drift of the fore-arm’ and SnSt Ht 43/3-4III glaðdript Grotta ‘joyful snow-drift of Grotti’. Meissner 224 translates both of these as Silber ‘silver’, however the former is about Gunnar Gjúkason and the Niflung treasure, and this and the reference to Grotti in the latter suggest that they are in fact gold-kennings. While Snorri makes a clear distinction between red gold and white silver (SnE 1998, I, 61), the Litla Skálda treatise allows for the possibility of constructing gold-kennings with words meaning ‘snow’ or ‘ice’ (SnE 1931, 256), particularly in relation to the hand. Thus, Rǫgnvaldr’s woman-kenning must be understood to include a gold-kenning as was traditional, though the gold-kenning itself is not traditional.

Close

driptar ‘snow’

drift (noun f.; °; dat. -um): snowdrift < alindrift (noun f.)

[2] ‑driptar: so R702ˣ, ‘drifta’ Flat

kennings

hlað-Nipt alindriptar
‘headband-Nipt <norn> of forearm-snow ’
   = WOMAN

forearm-snow → GOLD
headband-Nipt <norn> of the GOLD → WOMAN

notes

[2] hlað-Nipt alindriptar ‘headband-Nipt <norn> of forearm-snow [GOLD > WOMAN]’: A hlað could be either a ‘headband’ or a ‘decorative border on clothing’ (LP). Nipt is not a frequently-occurring word, mostly used to mean either ‘sister’ or ‘niece’ (LP), though etymologically it is a precise term for ‘sister’s daughter’ (AEW). None of these is particularly relevant in this context, and it may be better to take it as the name of a norn (attested in Þul Ásynja 5/3III) giving ‘the norn of the golden headband’; indeed Ermingerðr is described in the saga-prose as wearing a golden headband (cf. Note to st. 15/6-7). Alindript ‘forearm-snow’ is usually taken to mean ‘silver’ (LP; Meissner 224; NN §976; ÍF 34; Bibire 1988) and could indeed be taken so here. However, woman-kennings are normally constructed with a word or kenning for ‘gold’, rather than ‘silver’, as determinant (Meissner 413-14; cf. st. 4/4; associations of women with gold hair and headdresses are also found in sts 6, 15). Although ‘snow’ does seem to suggest ‘silver’ rather than ‘gold’, there is evidence that it could be used in ‘gold’-kennings in Rǫgnvaldr’s and subsequent poetry. Thus there are similar kennings in RvHbreiðm Hl 8/3III dript alnar ‘snow-drift of the fore-arm’ and SnSt Ht 43/3-4III glaðdript Grotta ‘joyful snow-drift of Grotti’. Meissner 224 translates both of these as Silber ‘silver’, however the former is about Gunnar Gjúkason and the Niflung treasure, and this and the reference to Grotti in the latter suggest that they are in fact gold-kennings. While Snorri makes a clear distinction between red gold and white silver (SnE 1998, I, 61), the Litla Skálda treatise allows for the possibility of constructing gold-kennings with words meaning ‘snow’ or ‘ice’ (SnE 1931, 256), particularly in relation to the hand. Thus, Rǫgnvaldr’s woman-kenning must be understood to include a gold-kenning as was traditional, though the gold-kenning itself is not traditional.

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sýndisk ‘was shown’

sýna (verb): show, seem

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fegrð ‘the beauty’

fegrð (noun f.; °-ar): [beauty]

[3] fegrð: so R702ˣ, fǫgr Flat

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fundumsk ‘we met’

2. finna (verb): find, meet

[3] fundumsk: fundusk R702ˣ

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ferðum ‘to men’

ferð (noun f.; °-ar; -ir/-arMork 196¹²)): host, journey

[4] ferðum: ferðir R702ˣ

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Ermingerðar ‘of Ermingerðr’

Ermingerðr (noun f.): Ermingerðr

notes

[4] Ermingerðar ‘of Ermingerðr’: See Note to st. 15 [All].

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tegask ‘prove ready’

tega (verb): prove ready

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eljun ‘staunchly’

eljun (noun f.; °eljunar): energy < eljunfrœkn (adj.)

[6] eljun‑: so R702ˣ, ‘eikum’ Flat

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frœkn ‘bold’

frœkn (adj.): brave, bold < eljunfrœkn (adj.)

[6] ‑frœkn: so R702ˣ, fremr Flat

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ríða ‘swing out’

1. ríða (verb): ride

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

After a lengthy siege of a castle in Galicia, Rǫgnvaldr orders the attack on the tenth day of Christmas. His men place firewood all around the castle and set it alight once they are ready to attack.

This episode took place during Christmas 1151. Having arrived in Galicia, the crusaders decided to spend the festive season there. Finding it difficult to buy supplies, they made an agreement with the local inhabitants to buy supplies from them in exchange for driving out the oppressive lord Guðifreyr and his men from his castle. The episode is similar to one involving Sigurðr jórsalafari, also in Galicia (MsonaHkr ch. 4).

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