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skaldic

Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Sigv Nesv 6I

Russell Poole (ed.) 2012, ‘Sigvatr Þórðarson, Nesjavísur 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. 565.

Sigvatr ÞórðarsonNesjavísur
567

an ‘than’

2. an (conj.): than

notes

[2] an gløggr ‘than the mean one [Sveinn]’: Ms. ‘en’ is here normalised as the comp. conj. an. It could alternatively be taken as the conj. en ‘but, and’ juxtaposing two characteristics of Óláfr: mildr ‘generous’, and gløggr (til hildar) ‘clear-sighted, clever (at fighting, in battle)’, but in context this is less likely.

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gløggr ‘the mean one’

gløggr (adj.; °-van; compar. -(v)ari/-ri, superl. -(v)astr/-str): clear

notes

[2] an gløggr ‘than the mean one [Sveinn]’: Ms. ‘en’ is here normalised as the comp. conj. an. It could alternatively be taken as the conj. en ‘but, and’ juxtaposing two characteristics of Óláfr: mildr ‘generous’, and gløggr (til hildar) ‘clear-sighted, clever (at fighting, in battle)’, but in context this is less likely.

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hildar ‘the battle’

1. hildr (noun f.): battle

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hirð ‘retinue’

hirð (noun f.; °-ar; -ir/-ar(FskB— 53‡)): retinue

notes

[3] hirð ‘retinue’: This is the earliest attestation of this word, which derives from OE hīred ‘household, band of retainers’. Óláfr may have brought both the term and the institution it denotes to Norway at the end of his English campaigns (cf. Hofmann 1955, 83).

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þás ‘when’

þás (conj.): when

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forðask ‘to escape’

forða (verb): escape, avoid

[3] forðask: fœðazk DG8

notes

[3] forðask ‘to escape’: The emendation, necessary for sense and skothending, was proposed by Keyser and Unger (ÓHLeg 1849, 20).

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heið ‘the illustrious’

4. heiðr (adj.): bright

[4] heið: beið DG8

notes

[4] heið ‘illustrious’: Another emendation necessary for sense and verse-form, also proposed by Keyser and Unger (loc. cit.).

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þjóð ‘of the mighty’

þjóð (noun f.; °-ar, dat. -/-u; -ir): people < þjóðkonungr (noun m.): mighty king

notes

[4] þjóðkonungs ‘of the mighty king’: Lit. ‘of the nation’s king’. Hofmann (1955, 83, 101) suggests that, although this word occurs in earlier skaldic poetry, its use by the skalds may have been influenced by OE þēodcyning ‘king of a nation, emperor’.

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konungs ‘king’

konungr (noun m.; °dat. -i, -s; -ar): king < þjóðkonungr (noun m.): mighty king

notes

[4] þjóðkonungs ‘of the mighty king’: Lit. ‘of the nation’s king’. Hofmann (1955, 83, 101) suggests that, although this word occurs in earlier skaldic poetry, its use by the skalds may have been influenced by OE þēodcyning ‘king of a nation, emperor’.

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vinlausum ‘for the friendless’

vinlauss (adj.): [for friendless]

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fyr ‘off’

fyr (prep.): for, over, because of, etc.

notes

[7-8] fyr víðum vangi ‘off the broad plain’: On the site of the sea-battle, see Note to st. 2/4. Although the epithet víðr may be purely conventional, it would fit Brunlanes as a whole, which contrasts with some extremely long and narrow peninsulas to the north-east.

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víðum ‘the broad’

víðr (adj.): far

notes

[7-8] fyr víðum vangi ‘off the broad plain’: On the site of the sea-battle, see Note to st. 2/4. Although the epithet víðr may be purely conventional, it would fit Brunlanes as a whole, which contrasts with some extremely long and narrow peninsulas to the north-east.

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vangi ‘plain’

1. vangr (noun m.): field, plain

notes

[7-8] fyr víðum vangi ‘off the broad plain’: On the site of the sea-battle, see Note to st. 2/4. Although the epithet víðr may be purely conventional, it would fit Brunlanes as a whole, which contrasts with some extremely long and narrow peninsulas to the north-east.

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stangir ‘the standards’

stǫng (noun f.; °stangar, dat. -u; stangir/stengr): pole

notes

[8] stangir ‘the standards’: Strictly speaking, the word stǫng denotes the pole on which the banner (merki or ) is held aloft (Jesch 2001a, 253). Evidently Sveinn assembles his forces beneath these standards before they board the ships. The phrase þunnt of stangir ‘sparse around the standards’ also occurs in Anon (Hák) 3/6II.

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

The stanza is preceded by an account of preparations and the skothríð ‘missile-shower’ and a remark that Óláfr had much the larger force.

Sigvatr now develops a contrast between Óláfr and Sveinn, as respectively generous and parsimonious, popular and unpopular. At the same time, it is hinted that Óláfr’s success in amassing support arises not entirely from generosity but also from intimidation. For further discussion of the quantiative comparison, see Note to st. 12/2, 4. On the role of wealth in Óláfr’s consolidation and augmentation of his following, see Fidjestøl (1975 and 1984b).

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