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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Rv Lv 8II

Judith Jesch (ed.) 2009, ‘Rǫgnvaldr jarl Kali Kolsson, Lausavísur 8’ 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, p. 585.

Rǫgnvaldr jarl Kali KolssonLausavísur
789

þás ‘when’

þás (conj.): when

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lesti ‘were damaged’

lesta (verb): destroy, damage

notes

[1] lesti ‘were damaged’: The verb is used impersonally with Hjǫlp and Fífa (l. 4) as the object.

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hrǫnn ‘the wave’

hrǫnn (noun f.; °; dat. -um): wave

[2] hrǫnn: ‘raunn’ R702ˣ

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váta ‘wet’

vátr (adj.): wet

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vífum ‘women’

víf (noun n.): woman, wife

[4] vífum: so R702ˣ, vinum Flat

notes

[4] vífum ‘women’: As Bibire 1988 points out, this word can refer both to the grammatically f. ships, and to women in general who experience sorrow when their menfolk are lost at sea. The saga does not refer to any loss of life on this occasion and so the former is more likely in this context.

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Hjǫlp ‘Hjǫlp’

hjǫlp (noun f.; °hjalpar; hjalpir/hjalpar): help, salvation

notes

[4] Hjǫlp ok Fífu ‘Hjǫlp and Fífa’: In the Viking Age, ship-names were almost always m., while f. names first start to appear in the C12th. Hjǫlp ‘Help’ presumably had a religious connotation, as did other ship-names of this period (Falk 1912, 32); Fífa means ‘Arrow’.

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ok ‘and’

3. ok (conj.): and, but; also

notes

[4] Hjǫlp ok Fífu ‘Hjǫlp and Fífa’: In the Viking Age, ship-names were almost always m., while f. names first start to appear in the C12th. Hjǫlp ‘Help’ presumably had a religious connotation, as did other ship-names of this period (Falk 1912, 32); Fífa means ‘Arrow’.

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Fífu ‘Fífa’

fífa (noun f.; °-u; -ur): fífa

notes

[4] Hjǫlp ok Fífu ‘Hjǫlp and Fífa’: In the Viking Age, ship-names were almost always m., while f. names first start to appear in the C12th. Hjǫlp ‘Help’ presumably had a religious connotation, as did other ship-names of this period (Falk 1912, 32); Fífa means ‘Arrow’.

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Sék ‘I see’

2. sjá (verb): see

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hǫfð ‘kept’

hafa (verb): have

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

Ch. 85 of Orkn describes in some detail the shipwreck suffered by Rǫgnvaldr and his fellow jarl Haraldr Maddaðarson in two ships given to Rǫgnvaldr by King Ingi Haraldsson of Norway. It transpires that they were wrecked in Shetland; once all the crew have been billetted on different farms, Rǫgnvaldr speaks this st. in response to people’s questions about his journey.

The shipwreck took place in the autumn of 1148. The saga goes on to mention a place called Gullberuvík, now Gulberwick in Shetland, and detailed interdisciplinary study suggests that it did indeed take place in that bay (Morrison 1973, 78-110; Collings, Farrell and Morrison 1975-6) though no trace of it could be found.

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