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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Sigv Víkv 3I

Judith Jesch (ed.) 2012, ‘Sigvatr Þórðarson, Víkingarvísur 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. 537.

Sigvatr ÞórðarsonVíkingarvísur
234

Hríð ‘storm’

hríð (noun f.; °-ar; -ir): time, storm

kennings

In þriðja strǫng hríð stáls
‘The third powerful storm of steel ’
   = BATTLE

The third powerful storm of steel → BATTLE
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varð ‘happened’

1. verða (verb): become, be

[1] varð: var J2ˣ

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stáls ‘of steel’

1. stál (noun n.; °-s; -): steel, weapon, prow

[1] stáls: staðs Flat

kennings

In þriðja strǫng hríð stáls
‘The third powerful storm of steel ’
   = BATTLE

The third powerful storm of steel → BATTLE
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í ‘during’

í (prep.): in, into

[1] í: á 61, om. Flat

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stríðri ‘the difficult’

stríðr (adj.): harsh

[1] stríðri: stirðri 78aˣ, stríði 61, Tóm

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strǫng ‘powerful’

strangr (adj.): strong

kennings

In þriðja strǫng hríð stáls
‘The third powerful storm of steel ’
   = BATTLE

The third powerful storm of steel → BATTLE
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gǫngu ‘journey’

1. ganga (noun f.): way

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lendinga ‘Finns’

lendingr (noun m.): landsman < finnlendingr (noun m.)

[3] ‑lendinga at: ‑lendingar Flat

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at ‘in’

3. at (prep.): at, to

[3] ‑lendinga at: ‑lendingar Flat

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fundi ‘a meeting’

fundr (noun m.): discovery, meeting

[3] fundi: so all others, om.

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fylkis ‘of the ruler’

fylkir (noun m.): leader

kennings

niðs fylkis
‘of the descendant of the ruler ’
   = Óláfr

the descendant of the ruler → Óláfr
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móz ‘’

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niðs ‘of the descendant’

1. niðr (noun m.; °-s; niðjar/niðir, acc. niði): son, kinsman, relative

[4] niðs: niðr Holm2, J2ˣ, 78aˣ, 325V, Tóm, nið R686ˣ, ‘móz’ 73aˣ

kennings

niðs fylkis
‘of the descendant of the ruler ’
   = Óláfr

the descendant of the ruler → Óláfr
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in ‘The’

2. inn (art.): the

[4] in: inn J2ˣ, 78aˣ, hins 68, 61, enn 325V, ein Bb, hina Flat, Tóm

kennings

In þriðja strǫng hríð stáls
‘The third powerful storm of steel ’
   = BATTLE

The third powerful storm of steel → BATTLE
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þriðja ‘third’

þriði (num. ordinal): third

[4] þriðja: þriðju Flat, Tóm

kennings

In þriðja strǫng hríð stáls
‘The third powerful storm of steel ’
   = BATTLE

The third powerful storm of steel → BATTLE
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‘the breakers’

1. lá (noun f.; °; -r): surf

notes

[5] ‘the breakers’: This word occurs in Þul Sjóvar 4/2III, where the context suggests breaking waves, and in Blakkr Lv 2/6II the ‘sea’ is said to reiða ‘toss’.

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leysti ‘let loose’

leysa (verb): release, loosen, redeem

[5] leysti: lesti R686ˣ

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leið ‘the sea’

leið (noun f.; °-ar, dat. -u/-; -ir/-ar): path, way

[6] leið: lið 61, Tóm, breið Bb

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víkinga ‘of the vikings’

víkingr (noun m.; °-s, dat. -i; -ar): viking

notes

[6] víkinga ‘of the vikings’: The m. noun víkingr can have both positive and negative connotations in C11th and C12th poetry (see Note to Hskv Útdr 1/1, 4II), and the occurrences here and in st. 6/6 (see Note) are ambiguous in their reference and connotions, while in st. 10/6 the víkingar are clearly Óláfr’s enemies, but their identity is not certain. The skeiðar víkinga ‘warships of the vikings’ are taken here to be those of Óláfr and his followers and so víkingar refers to them. See Note to ll. 5-6 above for an alternative proposed by Kock. For a further ambiguous instance of víkingar, see Ótt Knútdr 5/4 and Note.

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skeiðar ‘the warships’

1. skeið (noun f.; °-ar; -r/-ar/-ir): ship

[6] skeiðar: so 325VI, 73aˣ, 78aˣ, 68, skeiða Kˣ, skeiðir Holm2, J2ˣ, 325V, Bb, Flat, Tóm, skeiðir corrected from skeiðar R686ˣ, síðu 61

notes

[6] skeiðar (acc. pl.) ‘the warships’: This reading is adopted by previous eds; ’s reading skeiða can be explained as resulting from the simple loss of an abbreviation mark. Jón Helgason (1935-6) preferred the reading skeiðir, which occurs in several unrelated mss. In fact, this word is of a class which varied enormously in its pl. forms (ANG §416.3, 4).

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balagarst ‘’

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Bálagarðs ‘Bálagarðs’

(non-lexical) < Bálagarðssíða (noun f.)

[7] Bálagarðs‑: ‘balagarst’ R686ˣ

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at ‘alongside’

3. at (prep.): at, to

[7] at: á J2ˣ

notes

[7] at borði ‘alongside’: Only has this reading (though it is confirmed in papp18ˣ), while all the ÓH mss have barði, which is adopted by previous eds. Both barð ‘fore-stem’ (or a part of it, see Note to Sigv Vestv 1/3) and borð ‘plank’ refer to a part of a ship and can be used either specifically or as a pars pro toto for ‘ship’. Here, borði is selected, as the reading of the main ms. and since it supplies skothending (borð- : garð-), which would be expected in an odd line, although an aðalhending (barð- : garð-) would be paralleled in l. 1 (hríð : stríð-).

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borði ‘’

borð (noun n.; °-s; -): side, plank, board; table

[7] borði: barði all others

notes

[7] at borði ‘alongside’: Only has this reading (though it is confirmed in papp18ˣ), while all the ÓH mss have barði, which is adopted by previous eds. Both barð ‘fore-stem’ (or a part of it, see Note to Sigv Vestv 1/3) and borð ‘plank’ refer to a part of a ship and can be used either specifically or as a pars pro toto for ‘ship’. Here, borði is selected, as the reading of the main ms. and since it supplies skothending (borð- : garð-), which would be expected in an odd line, although an aðalhending (barð- : garð-) would be paralleled in l. 1 (hríð : stríð-).

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brim ‘the surf’

brim (noun n.): surf < brimskíð (noun n.): surf-ski

[8] brimskíðum: ‘ba(u)ð vidum’(?) R686ˣ, ‘biskiðum’ 78aˣ

kennings

brimskíðum.
‘the surf-skis. ’
   = SHIPS

the surf-skis. → SHIPS

notes

[8] brimskíðum ‘the surf-skis [SHIPS]’: Cf. Note to st. 1/4 above.

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skíðum ‘skis’

skíð (noun n.; °; -): ski < brimskíð (noun n.): surf-skiskíð (noun n.; °; -): ski < brimskíð (noun n.): surf-ski

[8] brimskíðum: ‘ba(u)ð vidum’(?) R686ˣ, ‘biskiðum’ 78aˣ

kennings

brimskíðum.
‘the surf-skis. ’
   = SHIPS

the surf-skis. → SHIPS

notes

[8] brimskíðum ‘the surf-skis [SHIPS]’: Cf. Note to st. 1/4 above.

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‘lay’

liggja (verb): lie

[8] lá: þá 325V

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síða ‘síða’

1. síða (noun f.; °-u; -ur): side < Bálagarðssíða (noun f.)

[8] ‑síða: ‘síð(u)’(?) 325VI, síðan 61, 325V, Bb, Flat

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

Óláfr has a difficult fight against some forest-dwelling Finns, in which he loses many men. The Finns use magic to raise a storm, but Óláfr escapes by beating along the coast and sailing out to sea.  

The reference to Finnlendingar ‘Finns’ in this stanza locates Herdalar (l. 2) and Bálagarðssíða (ll. 7, 8) in Finland, and previous eds assume Bálagarðssíða is on the south-west coast of Finland, which fits the Baltic context of the previous stanza. Snorri’s prose (see Context) also locates these events in Finnland, though the reference to magic suggests confusion with the more usual meaning of ON Finnar, ‘Saami’. The prose of ÓHLeg (1982, 42) assumes two separate events, first the third battle a Finnlande austr ‘in the east in Finland’ and then a raid in Bálagarðssíða, which it locates a Siolande ‘in Zealand’, consistent with this text’s interest in events in Denmark (see Introduction to this poem). — [5-6]: The detailed interpretation is problematic. (a) Here, it is assumed that leið is a heiti for ‘sea’ (cf. SnE 1998, I, 92, citing Anon (SnE) 11III; also SnSt Ht 34/3III) and is the subject of the sentence. Leysti ‘loosened, set loose’ with flota ‘fleet’ as its object is found as a variant in ESk IngdrII 4/6 (see Note), and with lábrostinn lögr ‘wave-bursting sea’ as its subject and flaust ‘ships’ as its object in Sturl Hrafn 15/5II, though in the latter there is an adverbial phrase to explain what the ships were loosened from. The use of ‘breakers’ in this sentence and brim- ‘surf’ in l. 8, though conventional diction, might suggest a turbulent sea which could have set the ships loose from their moorings. (b) Indeed, Finnur Jónsson (Skj B) takes as the subject of the sentence, and reads við austrleið ‘from the east coast’, though this is precluded by the syntax, since prep. við must modify , which follows it (cf. Kuhn 1983, 120-2 on the placing of prepositions). (c) Kock (NN §612) takes the king as the implied subject of the clause, but his interpretation requires an otherwise unknown word leiðvíkinga, in which he regards leið as equivalent to leiðangr, a seaborne expedition (cf. Note to Hár Lv 1/1-4). (d) Jón Helgason (1935-6, 263) preferred to take leið víkinga ‘path of vikings’ as a kenning for the sea. This would be an attractive solution, which avoids attaching the label víkingar to Óláfr’s troop (see Note to l. 6 below), but close parallels are lacking.

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