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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Sigv ErfÓl 28I

Judith Jesch (ed.) 2012, ‘Sigvatr Þórðarson, Erfidrápa Óláfs helga 28’ 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. 697.

Sigvatr ÞórðarsonErfidrápa Óláfs helga
2728

engla ‘angels’

1. engill (noun m.; °engils; englar): angel

notes

[1, 2] fjóra engla ‘four angels’: The significance of the angels here is uncertain. Cf. Þrándr Kredda 1/3-4 and Note.

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senda ‘sent’

senda (verb): send

[1] senda: at senda Tˣ, ‘s[…]da’ W, senda 2368ˣ

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Jórðánar ‘of the Jordan’

Jórdán (noun f.): River Jordan

[2] Jórðánar: ‘[…]d[…]’ W, Jórð́ánar 2368ˣ

kennings

Gramr Jórðánar
‘The prince of the Jordan ’
   = CHRIST

The prince of the Jordan → CHRIST
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gramr ‘The prince’

1. gramr (noun m.): ruler

[2] gramr: so Tˣ, W, U, A, gram R

kennings

Gramr Jórðánar
‘The prince of the Jordan ’
   = CHRIST

The prince of the Jordan → CHRIST
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fjóra ‘four’

fjórir (num. cardinal): four

notes

[1, 2] fjóra engla ‘four angels’: The significance of the angels here is uncertain. Cf. Þrándr Kredda 1/3-4 and Note.

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fors ‘a waterfall’

fors (noun m.): torrent

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þó ‘washed’

1. þvá (verb): wash

[3] þó: þá Tˣ

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hans ‘his’

hann (pron.; °gen. hans, dat. honum; f. hon, gen. hennar, acc. hana): he, she, it, they, them...

[3] hans: so U, A, hann R, Tˣ, W

notes

[3] hersi hans ‘his hersir’: Faulkes (1987, 127) translates ‘its lord’ but it is not clear what this refers to, since neither Jórðán f. ‘Jordan’ nor lopt n. ‘sky’ can be the antecedent of m. hans ‘his’, while fors m. ‘waterfall’ would trigger a refl. poss. (sinn ‘his’ rather than hans). Finnur Jónsson (Skj B) emends to hersi heims ‘chieftain of the world’, i.e. God. The other early examples of the Christian god being the ‘ruler of all’ use the word allr ‘all’ (Meissner 369), however, and it is preferable to attempt to interpret the text without emendation.

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á ‘of’

3. á (prep.): on, at

[3] á: um U

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hersihersir

hersir (noun m.; °-is; -ar): cheiftan

[3] hersi: hersis U, A

notes

[3] hersi hans ‘his hersir’: Faulkes (1987, 127) translates ‘its lord’ but it is not clear what this refers to, since neither Jórðán f. ‘Jordan’ nor lopt n. ‘sky’ can be the antecedent of m. hans ‘his’, while fors m. ‘waterfall’ would trigger a refl. poss. (sinn ‘his’ rather than hans). Finnur Jónsson (Skj B) emends to hersi heims ‘chieftain of the world’, i.e. God. The other early examples of the Christian god being the ‘ruler of all’ use the word allr ‘all’ (Meissner 369), however, and it is preferable to attempt to interpret the text without emendation.

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heilagt ‘the holy’

heilagr (adj.; °helgan; compar. -ari, superl. -astr): holy, sacred

[4] heilagt: so Tˣ, U, A, ‘helagt’ R, ‘[…]la[…]’ W, heilagt 2368ˣ

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skopt ‘hair’

skopt (noun n.): hair

[4] skopt: ‘[…]’ W, ‘skop’ U, skopt 2368ˣ

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ór ‘from’

3. ór (prep.): out of

[4] ór: ok Tˣ, ‘[…]r’ W, ór 2368ˣ

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

The stanza is cited as evidence for Jórðánar konungr ‘king of the Jordan’ as a kenning for Christ.

The text of the stanza in the LaufE ms. 2368ˣ is copied from W, and is used selectively in the Readings above to supplement W where it is damaged and illegible. — Interpretation of this helmingr is complicated by the incompleteness of the stanza and lack of a prose context (which also raise doubts about its inclusion in the poem; see Introduction). Fidjestøl’s suggestion (1982, 121) that it refers to the baptism of Christ seems to assume that the fors in l. 3 (perhaps ‘watercourse’, but most likely ‘waterfall’) is equivalent to the River Jordan, but there is no evidence for this, and Christ’s baptism in the Jordan is attended by the spirit of God descending like a dove, not by angels (e.g. Mark III.6). It seems more likely that ll. 3-4 refer to the baptism of King Óláfr. He is called dróttinn hersa ‘lord of hersar’ in st. 13/6, above, and could be seen to be in the same relationship to Christ as his hersar (district chieftains) are to him. Faulkes (SnE 1998, I, 202) cites with approval the suggestion in SnE 1848-87, III, 345-6 that the stanza is from ‘an otherwise unknown religious poem about some saint’.

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