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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Sigv ErfÓl 3I

Judith Jesch (ed.) 2012, ‘Sigvatr Þórðarson, Erfidrápa Óláfs helga 3’ 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. 668.

Sigvatr ÞórðarsonErfidrápa Óláfs helga
234

Lyngs ‘of the heather’

lyng (noun n.; °dat. -vi/-i; -): heather

[1] Lyngs: lungs 68

kennings

Fiskr lyngs
‘The fish of the heather ’
   = SNAKE

The fish of the heather → SNAKE

notes

[1] fiskr lyngs ‘the fish of the heather [SNAKE (ormr = Ormr inn langi]’: Óláfr’s magnificent Visundr ‘Bison’ is compared with Ormr inn langi ‘the Long Serpent’, the famous warship in which Óláfr Tryggvason fought his last battle at Svǫlðr; see Note to Hókr Eirfl 3/4. Ormr is frequently mentioned in skaldic poetry, often using word-play as here; see Hfr ErfÓl 10/1 and Note.

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fiskr ‘The fish’

fiskr (noun m.): fish

[1] fiskr: ‘fystr’ 325VII, frekr Flat

kennings

Fiskr lyngs
‘The fish of the heather ’
   = SNAKE

The fish of the heather → SNAKE

notes

[1] fiskr lyngs ‘the fish of the heather [SNAKE (ormr = Ormr inn langi]’: Óláfr’s magnificent Visundr ‘Bison’ is compared with Ormr inn langi ‘the Long Serpent’, the famous warship in which Óláfr Tryggvason fought his last battle at Svǫlðr; see Note to Hókr Eirfl 3/4. Ormr is frequently mentioned in skaldic poetry, often using word-play as here; see Hfr ErfÓl 10/1 and Note.

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til ‘in pursuit’

til (prep.): to

notes

[1] til fengjar ‘in pursuit of gain’: The context might suggest ‘into battle’, but fengr m. normally means ‘plunder, booty’ (LP: fengr), so a reference to gaining or raiding seems likely here (cf. the translations í leiðangur ‘on a raiding expedition’ in ÍF 27 and til fangst ‘for plundering, seizing’ in Hkr 1893-1901, IV and Skj B). Óláfr Tryggvason in Hkr (ÍF 26, 344, 348) calls up a fleet and sails Ormr south to Denmark and Vinðland (Wendland) to press his territorial claims.

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fengjar ‘of gain’

fengr (noun m.; °-jar/-s, dat. -/-i): loot

notes

[1] til fengjar ‘in pursuit of gain’: The context might suggest ‘into battle’, but fengr m. normally means ‘plunder, booty’ (LP: fengr), so a reference to gaining or raiding seems likely here (cf. the translations í leiðangur ‘on a raiding expedition’ in ÍF 27 and til fangst ‘for plundering, seizing’ in Hkr 1893-1901, IV and Skj B). Óláfr Tryggvason in Hkr (ÍF 26, 344, 348) calls up a fleet and sails Ormr south to Denmark and Vinðland (Wendland) to press his territorial claims.

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flug ‘of the flight’

2. flug (noun n.): flight, ?precipice < flugstyggr (adj.): flight-shunning

[2] flug‑: flærð‑ 321ˣ, 73aˣ

kennings

flugstyggs sonar Tryggva
‘of the flight-shunning son of Tryggvi ’
   = Óláfr Tryggvason

the flight-shunning son of Tryggvi → Óláfr Tryggvason
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styggs ‘shunning’

styggr (adj.): shy < flugstyggr (adj.): flight-shunning

[2] ‑styggs: ‑styggan 321ˣ, 73aˣ, ‑stígs 325VII, styggr Tóm

kennings

flugstyggs sonar Tryggva
‘of the flight-shunning son of Tryggvi ’
   = Óláfr Tryggvason

the flight-shunning son of Tryggvi → Óláfr Tryggvason
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sonar ‘son’

sonr (noun m.; °-ar, dat. syni; synir, acc. sonu, syni): son

[2] sonar: son 321ˣ, 73aˣ

kennings

flugstyggs sonar Tryggva
‘of the flight-shunning son of Tryggvi ’
   = Óláfr Tryggvason

the flight-shunning son of Tryggvi → Óláfr Tryggvason
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Tryggva ‘of Tryggvi’

Tryggvi (noun m.): Tryggvi

kennings

flugstyggs sonar Tryggva
‘of the flight-shunning son of Tryggvi ’
   = Óláfr Tryggvason

the flight-shunning son of Tryggvi → Óláfr Tryggvason
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gjǫlnar ‘gills’

gjǫln (noun f.; °; -ar): [gills]

[3] gjǫlnar: ‘giolnir’ Holm2, ‘gelnar’ 61, ‘siolnar’ Bb, ‘giolar’ Tóm

notes

[3] gjǫlnar ‘gills’: This, the sole occurrence of this rare word in skaldic poetry, extends the ‘fish’ metaphor of l. 1 and may apply to the gilded prow (Jesch 2001a, 147).

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mǫlnu ‘with ground’

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goð ‘God’

1. guð (noun m.; °***guðrs, guðis, gus): (Christian) God

notes

[4] goð vildi svá ‘God wished it so’: For references in Sigvatr’s poetry to the Christian deity allowing or approving of the actions of a king, cf. Lv 7/5 and 29/3. What exactly is claimed to be God’s will is unclear, but it could be the splendour and successes of Ormr. Finnur Jónsson (Hkr 1893-1901, IV) suggested instead the battle of Svǫlðr (c. 1000).

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vildi ‘wished’

vilja (verb): want, intend

notes

[4] goð vildi svá ‘God wished it so’: For references in Sigvatr’s poetry to the Christian deity allowing or approving of the actions of a king, cf. Lv 7/5 and 29/3. What exactly is claimed to be God’s will is unclear, but it could be the splendour and successes of Ormr. Finnur Jónsson (Hkr 1893-1901, IV) suggested instead the battle of Svǫlðr (c. 1000).

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svá ‘it so’

svá (adv.): so, thus

notes

[4] goð vildi svá ‘God wished it so’: For references in Sigvatr’s poetry to the Christian deity allowing or approving of the actions of a king, cf. Lv 7/5 and 29/3. What exactly is claimed to be God’s will is unclear, but it could be the splendour and successes of Ormr. Finnur Jónsson (Hkr 1893-1901, IV) suggested instead the battle of Svǫlðr (c. 1000).

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roðnar ‘reddened’

rjóða (verb): to redden

[4] roðnar: mildan 321ˣ, 73aˣ, mildi 61

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Annan ‘a second’

1. annarr (pron.; °f. ǫnnur, n. annat; pl. aðrir): (an)other, second

[5] Annan: annarr Bb, Flat

notes

[5] annan (m. acc. sg.) ‘a second [ship]’: The adj. is in grammatical concord with fiskr (m. nom. sg.) ‘fish’ or more especially Visund (m. acc. sg.) ‘Bison’, but does not directly qualify either. The translation in ÍF 27 assumes dreka (m. acc. sg.) ‘dragon-ship’ to be understood, while Finnur Jónsson (Hkr 1893-1901, IV) remarks that n. annat [skip] ‘another ship, a second ship’ would have been expected. The variant annarr (m. nom. sg.) would qualify Ôleifr, hence ‘another, a second Óláfr’, which would be apt, but this is the reading of Bb and Flat only.

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á ‘on’

3. á (prep.): on, at

[5] á: enn J2ˣ

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unnir ‘the waves’

2. unnr (noun f.): wave

[5] unnir: unnar 325V

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Ôleifr ‘Óláfr’

Óláfr (noun m.): Óláfr

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hôla ‘splendidly’

háll (adj.; °[af e-u]): slippery, deceitful

[6] hôla: om. 73aˣ

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lǫgr ‘the sea’

lǫgr (noun m.; °lagar, dat. legi): sea

[7] lǫgr: langr Bb

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þó ‘washed’

1. þvá (verb): wash

[7] þó: þau 75c

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inn ‘inn’

2. inn (art.): the

notes

[7] inn digri ‘(“the Stout”)’: Sigvatr uses this epithet of the king in sts 6/8 and 8/2 and in Lv 12/6. Digri appears widely as Óláfr’s nickname; it was posthumously replaced by helgi ‘the Holy, Saint’.

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digri ‘digri’

digr (adj.; °digran; compar. digrari, superl. digrastr): fat, large

notes

[7] inn digri ‘(“the Stout”)’: Sigvatr uses this epithet of the king in sts 6/8 and 8/2 and in Lv 12/6. Digri appears widely as Óláfr’s nickname; it was posthumously replaced by helgi ‘the Holy, Saint’.

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Visund ‘Visundr’

vísundr (noun m.; °dat. -i; -ar): bison

[8] Visund: Visundr J2ˣ

notes

[8] Visund ‘(“Bison”)’: According to the prose preceding the stanza, Visundr was the greatest of ships and had a gold-adorned bison-head at its prow. The ship was inherited by Óláfr’s son Magnús, and is referred to in several poems; see Note to ÞjóðA Magnfl 4/8II.

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sporna ‘to tread’

2. sporna (verb): tread

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

King Óláfr sets out on an expedition with a newly-built ship, Visundr.

Anon (ÓH), quoted later in the same chapters of ÓH-Hkr, also depicts Óláfr launching his ship Visundr from the north, while another prince sails from the south.

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