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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Sigv Víkv 4I

Judith Jesch (ed.) 2012, ‘Sigvatr Þórðarson, Víkingarvísur 4’ 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. 539.

Sigvatr ÞórðarsonVíkingarvísur
345

kvôðu ‘they said’

2. kveðja (verb): say, greet

[1] kvôðu: kvǫddu R686ˣ

notes

[1] kvôðu ‘they said’: It is not clear who this refers to, but Sigvatr elsewhere in this poem (sts 1/5-6, 11/5) stresses the fact that his information is based on hearsay, rather than experience.

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gram ‘the prince’

1. gramr (noun m.): ruler

[1] gram: gil 78aˣ

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Gunnar ‘of Gunnr’

Gunnr (noun f.): Gunnr

kennings

galdrs Gunnar
‘of a chant of Gunnr ’
   = BATTLE

a chant of Gunnr → BATTLE
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galdrs ‘of a chant’

galdr (noun m.): chant, incantation

[2] galdrs: galdr J2ˣ, gjalds 325V, Flat, Tóm

kennings

galdrs Gunnar
‘of a chant of Gunnr ’
   = BATTLE

a chant of Gunnr → BATTLE
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upphǫfum ‘the beginnings’

upphaf (noun n.): beginning

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valda ‘caused’

valda (verb): cause

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dýrð ‘that glory’

dýrð (noun f.; °-ar/-a(NoDipl(1279) 44²ˆ); -ir): glory

[3] dýrð: dýr J2ˣ, om. 325VI

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frák ‘I heard’

1. fregna (verb): hear of

[3] frák: om. 61

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þeims ‘for the one’

2. er (conj.): who, which, when

[3] þeims vel (‘þeim er vel’): vel þeim er J2ˣ, 73aˣ, 78aˣ, er þeim vel 61

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vel ‘well’

vel (adv.): well, very

[3] þeims vel (‘þeim er vel’): vel þeim er J2ˣ, 73aˣ, 78aˣ, er þeim vel 61

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varðisk ‘who defended himself’

3. verja (verb): defend

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vinnask ‘was achieved’

2. vinna (verb): perform, work

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fjórða ‘for the fourth’

fjórði (num. ordinal): fourth

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þás ‘when’

þás (conj.): when

[5] þás (‘þa er’): þá 325VI, Tóm

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olitum ‘’

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ólítill ‘the not little’

ólítill (adj.): not small

[5] ólítill: ólítil R686ˣ, 325VI, 73aˣ, 78aˣ, ólítin J2ˣ, 325V, ólítit 61, ólítlum Flat, ‘olitum’ Tóm

notes

[5] ólítill ‘not little’: The possibility of adopting the variant ólítinn with an adverbial sense ‘greatly’ is suggested by Finnur Jónsson in Hkr 1893-1901, IV, Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson in ÍF 27, and Fell (1981b) (‘violently’).

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jǫfra ‘of the rulers’

jǫfurr (noun m.): ruler, prince

notes

[6-7] friðr á miðli liðs jǫfra gekk sundr ‘peace among the army of the rulers was sundered’: This implies the transition from peace to war within an attacking host led by two or more leaders, and would fit the situation described by Snorri (see Context), in which Óláfr is associated with Þorkell inn hávi ‘the Tall’ Strút-Haraldsson, brother of the Dane Sigvaldi jarl. Á miðli tends to mean ‘among’ (a large group, or more than two parties) and í miðli tends to mean ‘between’ (two parties), although the distinction is not absolute and many mss have variants with í and á respectively for these (LP: miðli).

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liðs ‘the army’

lið (noun n.; °-s; -): retinue, troop

[6] liðs: lið 68

notes

[6-7] friðr á miðli liðs jǫfra gekk sundr ‘peace among the army of the rulers was sundered’: This implies the transition from peace to war within an attacking host led by two or more leaders, and would fit the situation described by Snorri (see Context), in which Óláfr is associated with Þorkell inn hávi ‘the Tall’ Strút-Haraldsson, brother of the Dane Sigvaldi jarl. Á miðli tends to mean ‘among’ (a large group, or more than two parties) and í miðli tends to mean ‘between’ (two parties), although the distinction is not absolute and many mss have variants with í and á respectively for these (LP: miðli).

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á ‘among’

3. á (prep.): on, at

[6] á: í R686ˣ, J2ˣ, 325VI, 73aˣ, 78aˣ

notes

[6-7] friðr á miðli liðs jǫfra gekk sundr ‘peace among the army of the rulers was sundered’: This implies the transition from peace to war within an attacking host led by two or more leaders, and would fit the situation described by Snorri (see Context), in which Óláfr is associated with Þorkell inn hávi ‘the Tall’ Strút-Haraldsson, brother of the Dane Sigvaldi jarl. Á miðli tends to mean ‘among’ (a large group, or more than two parties) and í miðli tends to mean ‘between’ (two parties), although the distinction is not absolute and many mss have variants with í and á respectively for these (LP: miðli).

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miðli ‘’

milli (prep.): between

notes

[6-7] friðr á miðli liðs jǫfra gekk sundr ‘peace among the army of the rulers was sundered’: This implies the transition from peace to war within an attacking host led by two or more leaders, and would fit the situation described by Snorri (see Context), in which Óláfr is associated with Þorkell inn hávi ‘the Tall’ Strút-Haraldsson, brother of the Dane Sigvaldi jarl. Á miðli tends to mean ‘among’ (a large group, or more than two parties) and í miðli tends to mean ‘between’ (two parties), although the distinction is not absolute and many mss have variants with í and á respectively for these (LP: miðli).

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friðr ‘peace’

friðr (noun m.): peace

[7] friðr: frið R686ˣ, fiðr Flat

notes

[6-7] friðr á miðli liðs jǫfra gekk sundr ‘peace among the army of the rulers was sundered’: This implies the transition from peace to war within an attacking host led by two or more leaders, and would fit the situation described by Snorri (see Context), in which Óláfr is associated with Þorkell inn hávi ‘the Tall’ Strút-Haraldsson, brother of the Dane Sigvaldi jarl. Á miðli tends to mean ‘among’ (a large group, or more than two parties) and í miðli tends to mean ‘between’ (two parties), although the distinction is not absolute and many mss have variants with í and á respectively for these (LP: miðli).

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gekk ‘was’

2. ganga (verb; geng, gekk, gengu, genginn): walk, go

notes

[6-7] friðr á miðli liðs jǫfra gekk sundr ‘peace among the army of the rulers was sundered’: This implies the transition from peace to war within an attacking host led by two or more leaders, and would fit the situation described by Snorri (see Context), in which Óláfr is associated with Þorkell inn hávi ‘the Tall’ Strút-Haraldsson, brother of the Dane Sigvaldi jarl. Á miðli tends to mean ‘among’ (a large group, or more than two parties) and í miðli tends to mean ‘between’ (two parties), although the distinction is not absolute and many mss have variants with í and á respectively for these (LP: miðli).

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sundr ‘sundered’

sundr (adv.): (a)sunder

notes

[6-7] friðr á miðli liðs jǫfra gekk sundr ‘peace among the army of the rulers was sundered’: This implies the transition from peace to war within an attacking host led by two or more leaders, and would fit the situation described by Snorri (see Context), in which Óláfr is associated with Þorkell inn hávi ‘the Tall’ Strút-Haraldsson, brother of the Dane Sigvaldi jarl. Á miðli tends to mean ‘among’ (a large group, or more than two parties) and í miðli tends to mean ‘between’ (two parties), although the distinction is not absolute and many mss have variants with í and á respectively for these (LP: miðli).

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í ‘in’

í (prep.): in, into

[7] í: með 325VI, 73aˣ, 78aˣ

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slíðri ‘dangerous’

3. slíðr (adj.): [horrib, dangerous]

[7] slíðri: suðri 325VI, Tóm, saðri 61

notes

[7] slíðri ‘dangerous’: The adj. is rare as a simplex, though occurring in compounds such as slíðrhugaðr ‘ruthless-minded’ (Anon Liðs 6/5). The range of senses seems to be ‘terrible, cruel, fearsome, dangerous’ (cf. AEW: slíðr 2), but ‘dangerous’ seems appropriate in most cases. It is not clear why Suðrvík is described as ‘dangerous’ or ‘cruel’; Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson (ÍF 27) speculates that it was thought to be ‘dangerous to vikings’.

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Suðrvík ‘Søndervig’

Suðrvík (noun f.): [Søndervig]

notes

[8] Suðrvík ‘Søndervig’: Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson (ÍF 27, 475) identifies this with Søndervig on the west coast of Jutland, and explains kuðri Dǫnum ‘known to the Danes’ as ‘in Denmark’. ÓHLeg (1982, 42-3) does not cite the stanza, but places the battle in England, presumably identifying Suðrvík with Southwark (see st. 6/8 and Note, below). Fell (1981b) points out that ‘a town or port in England might equally well be ... described’ as kuðri Dǫnum ‘known to the Danes’.

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kvedri ‘’

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kuðri ‘known’

kunnr (adj.): known (?)

[8] kuðri: ‘kvedri’ Bb

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

Óláfr sails to Denmark where he is joined by Þorkell inn hávi. Together they take on numerous ships of vikings at a place called Suðrvík (Søndervig on the Jutland coast), winning the battle and much booty. The briefer account in ÓH does not mention Þorkell.

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