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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Sigv Víkv 1I

Judith Jesch (ed.) 2012, ‘Sigvatr Þórðarson, Víkingarvísur 1’ 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. 534.

Sigvatr ÞórðarsonVíkingarvísur
12

Langr ‘The long’

langr (adj.; °compar. lengri, superl. lengstr): long

[1] Langr: langar 78aˣ, langt 68, 61, 325V, Flat, Tóm, lang Bb

kennings

Langr sæmeiðr
‘The long sea-tree ’
   = SHIP

The long sea-tree → SHIP

notes

[1] langr ‘long’: The adj. frequently collocates with a ship-word (Jesch 2001a, 123-4). The variant reading langt is also possible, if read as the n. sg. form used adverbially, hence bar langt at sundi ‘carried far out to sea’.

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út ‘out’

út (adv.): out(side)

[1] út: om. Bb

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inn ‘the’

2. inn (art.): the

[1] inn unga: en unga R686ˣ, Bb, inn yngva J2ˣ, ‘íunga’ Flat, Tóm

kennings

inn unga kund jǫfra
‘the young descendant of princes ’
   = Óláfr

the young descendant of princes → Óláfr
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unga ‘young’

ungr (adj.): young

[1] inn unga: en unga R686ˣ, Bb, inn yngva J2ˣ, ‘íunga’ Flat, Tóm

kennings

inn unga kund jǫfra
‘the young descendant of princes ’
   = Óláfr

the young descendant of princes → Óláfr
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jǫfra ‘of princes’

jǫfurr (noun m.): ruler, prince

[2] jǫfra: jǫfur R686ˣ, ‘íorua’ Flat

kennings

inn unga kund jǫfra
‘the young descendant of princes ’
   = Óláfr

the young descendant of princes → Óláfr
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kund ‘descendant’

kundr (noun m.): descendant

kennings

inn unga kund jǫfra
‘the young descendant of princes ’
   = Óláfr

the young descendant of princes → Óláfr
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at ‘to’

3. at (prep.): at, to

[2] at: frá Holm2, R686ˣ, J2ˣ, 325VI, 73aˣ, 78aˣ, á Tóm

notes

[2] at sundi ‘to sea’: As noted by Kock (NN §39), sund can mean ‘swimming’, ‘water, sea’ or ‘narrow stretch of water’. The latter meaning is most appropriate following the prep. frá, the reading of Holm2 and other ÓH mss of the A class; this is adopted in Fell (1981b) since Holm2 is her main ms.

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sundi ‘sea’

sund (noun n.; °-s; -): sound, strait; swimming

[2] sundi: grundu 325VI, 73aˣ, 78aˣ

notes

[2] at sundi ‘to sea’: As noted by Kock (NN §39), sund can mean ‘swimming’, ‘water, sea’ or ‘narrow stretch of water’. The latter meaning is most appropriate following the prep. frá, the reading of Holm2 and other ÓH mss of the A class; this is adopted in Fell (1981b) since Holm2 is her main ms.

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uggði ‘feared’

ugga (verb): to fear, suspect

[3] uggði: hugði J2ˣ, 325VI, 78aˣ, Tóm

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‘sea’

sjór (noun m.): sea < sæmeiðr (noun m.)sjór (noun m.): sea < sæmóðr (adj.): sea-weary

kennings

Langr sæmeiðr
‘The long sea-tree ’
   = SHIP

The long sea-tree → SHIP

notes

[4] sæmeiðr ‘sea-tree [SHIP]’: Hofmann (1955, 80) argues that this shows influence from Old English poetry, and makes a similar, though more tentative, claim about st. 3/8 brimskíð ‘surf-ski’. But he overstates the rarity of this type of ship-kenning in Old Norse (cf. Meissner 221-2), and although Sigvatr certainly went to England later in his career, it is more problematic to trace the sources of English influence in this early poem (see also Notes to sts 6/4, 7/7-8, 8/7 below).

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meiðr ‘tree’

meiðr (noun m.): beam, tree < sæmeiðr (noun m.)

[4] ‑meiðr: ‑móðr J2ˣ

kennings

Langr sæmeiðr
‘The long sea-tree ’
   = SHIP

The long sea-tree → SHIP

notes

[4] sæmeiðr ‘sea-tree [SHIP]’: Hofmann (1955, 80) argues that this shows influence from Old English poetry, and makes a similar, though more tentative, claim about st. 3/8 brimskíð ‘surf-ski’. But he overstates the rarity of this type of ship-kenning in Old Norse (cf. Meissner 221-2), and although Sigvatr certainly went to England later in his career, it is more problematic to trace the sources of English influence in this early poem (see also Notes to sts 6/4, 7/7-8, 8/7 below).

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konungs ‘of the king’

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

[4] konungs: kóng R686ˣ, konung Bb

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Kannk ‘know’

kunna (verb): know, can, be able

[5] Kannk (‘kann ec’): kannka ek 68, ‘kankaða ek’ 61

notes

[5] kannk ‘I know’: The metre requires cliticisation here, though the mss write kann ek; the metrical anomaly produced by this has doubtless led to the omission of til, here ‘about’, in several mss.

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til ‘about’

til (prep.): to

[5] til: om. 68, 61, 325V, Flat, Tóm

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margs ‘many a thing’

2. margr (adj.; °-an): many

[5] margs: marks 73aˣ, Bb, mark 61

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enn ‘still’

2. en (conj.): but, and

notes

[5] enn ‘still’: Finnur Jónsson (Hkr 1893-1901; Skj B) took this to be the adversative conj. en ‘but’ introducing the second clause in the helmingr, although embedded in the first. Kock (NN §611, cf. §224) criticised him for the resulting unnatural syntax, and noted that the ms. evidence favoured the adv. enn ‘still, yet’.

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manna ‘people’s’

maðr (noun m.): man, person

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minni ‘memories’

1. minni (noun n.; °-s; -): memory

[6] minni: minna 61, Tóm

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fyrsta ‘on the first’

1. fyrri (adj. comp.; °superl. fyrstr): first

[6] fyrsta: fyrst at Bb

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rauð ‘reddened’

rjóða (verb): to redden

[7] rauð: rauðr Bb

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œstr ‘vehement’

œstr (adj.): raging

[7] œstr: austr Tóm

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fyr ‘in’

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

notes

[7] fyr austan ‘in the east’: Fyr austan is normally prepositional, ‘to the east of’, but in the absence of a suitable noun or p. n. to supply an object it appears to be adverbial here.

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austan ‘the east’

austan (adv.): from the east

notes

[7] fyr austan ‘in the east’: Fyr austan is normally prepositional, ‘to the east of’, but in the absence of a suitable noun or p. n. to supply an object it appears to be adverbial here.

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sker ‘sker’

sker (noun n.; °-s; -, gen. -ja): skerry

notes

[8] Sótasker: This appears to be a p. n. accommodated in the stanza by means of mild tmesis, and it is treated as such in the prose sources. It would mean ‘Sóti’s skerry/skerries’, and the naming of the (otherwise unknown) viking leader as Sóti in ÓH-Hkr may be an extrapolation from the p. n. Sigvatr may be using legendary material here to flesh out the details of a battle about which he is reliant on hearsay (cf. ll. 5-6). A viking of this name and a location in the Swedish skerries are mentioned in both the prose and verse of Ǫrvar-Odds saga (see Hjálm Lv 9/4VIII (Ǫrv 19) and ǪrvOdd Ævdr 43/1, 2VIII (Ǫrv 113)), and a viking called Sóti features in Hallfr (ÍF 8, 139-40). Johnsen (1916, 5) suggests that the place was Sotholmen off the coast of Södermanland, Sweden. Holmen ‘the island, islet’ would correspond with sker, and this would fit the description of the site as fyr austan ‘in the east’ (l. 7). A Swedish location would also match the reference to Óláfr’s attacks on nes Svíþjóðar ‘the headlands of Sweden’ in Ótt Hfl 6/4 as well as Snorri’s location of the present battle in Sweden (see Context). ÓHLeg (1982, 40) on the other hand locates Sótasker in Viken, Norway.

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Sóta ‘Sóta’

sóti (noun m.; °-a): steed, Sóti

notes

[8] Sótasker: This appears to be a p. n. accommodated in the stanza by means of mild tmesis, and it is treated as such in the prose sources. It would mean ‘Sóti’s skerry/skerries’, and the naming of the (otherwise unknown) viking leader as Sóti in ÓH-Hkr may be an extrapolation from the p. n. Sigvatr may be using legendary material here to flesh out the details of a battle about which he is reliant on hearsay (cf. ll. 5-6). A viking of this name and a location in the Swedish skerries are mentioned in both the prose and verse of Ǫrvar-Odds saga (see Hjálm Lv 9/4VIII (Ǫrv 19) and ǪrvOdd Ævdr 43/1, 2VIII (Ǫrv 113)), and a viking called Sóti features in Hallfr (ÍF 8, 139-40). Johnsen (1916, 5) suggests that the place was Sotholmen off the coast of Södermanland, Sweden. Holmen ‘the island, islet’ would correspond with sker, and this would fit the description of the site as fyr austan ‘in the east’ (l. 7). A Swedish location would also match the reference to Óláfr’s attacks on nes Svíþjóðar ‘the headlands of Sweden’ in Ótt Hfl 6/4 as well as Snorri’s location of the present battle in Sweden (see Context). ÓHLeg (1982, 40) on the other hand locates Sótasker in Viken, Norway.

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Óláfr, with a superior force, fights his first battle, defeating vikings led by one Sóti in the skerries off Sweden.

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