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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Liðs 2I

Russell Poole (ed.) 2012, ‘Anonymous Poems, Liðsmannaflokkr 2’ 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. 1018.

Anonymous PoemsLiðsmannaflokkr
123

Margr ‘Many a’

2. margr (adj.; °-an): many

[1] Margr: marg 20dˣ

kennings

Margr frár Ullr oddsennu
‘Many a fierce Ullr of the point-quarrel ’
   = WARRIOR

the point-quarrel → BATTLE
Many a fierce Ullr of the BATTLE → WARRIOR
Close

Ullr ‘Ullr’

Ullr (noun m.): Ullr

kennings

Margr frár Ullr oddsennu
‘Many a fierce Ullr of the point-quarrel ’
   = WARRIOR

the point-quarrel → BATTLE
Many a fierce Ullr of the BATTLE → WARRIOR
Close

illan ‘the foul’

illr (adj.): bad, evil, unwell

[1] illan: allan DG8

notes

[1, 3, 4] illan fornan serk, þars órum fœddir ok bornir ‘foul old shirt in which we were born and brought up [lit. brought up and born]’: (a) An obvious interpretation would be that illan fornan serk ‘foul old shirt’ refers to a rusty mail-shirt (cf. st. 7/6 and Note for a reference to armour), and that the þars-clause means ‘where…’ and indicates that the attackers are on native soil, not in England, but this view of þar is problematic in view of the statement in st. 1 that they are in England, unless the reference were to Anglo-Scandinavian warriors born in England. The alternative assumption is made here, that þars means ‘in which’, perhaps producing an exaggerated claim that the men have been warriors since birth, so that armour is like a skin to them. (b) The sense might instead be that the warriors are fighting with no armour except their own skin, which is then the ‘shirt’ in which they were ‘born and bred’ (cf. Note to ll. 7-8 below). This could allude to the tradition of berserks who literally fought in their own skin (see Þhorn Harkv 8/5 and Note), but again in an exaggerated fashion, meaning that these warriors wore ordinary clothes rather than armour. (c) Holtsmark (1954, 107; cf. ÍF 35) has argued that the serk(r) ‘shirt’ is to be identified with the caul or amnion, traditionally linked in Scandinavia and England with luck and invulnerability in battle. However, the subject is qualified by margr ‘many’, whereas to be born with a caul is exceptional.

Close

odd ‘of the point’

oddr (noun m.; °-s, dat. -i; -ar): point of weapon < oddsenna (noun f.)

[2] odd‑: ‘od’ JÓ, 20dˣ, 873ˣ, 41ˣ

kennings

Margr frár Ullr oddsennu
‘Many a fierce Ullr of the point-quarrel ’
   = WARRIOR

the point-quarrel → BATTLE
Many a fierce Ullr of the BATTLE → WARRIOR
Close

odd ‘of the point’

oddr (noun m.; °-s, dat. -i; -ar): point of weapon < oddsenna (noun f.)

[2] odd‑: ‘od’ JÓ, 20dˣ, 873ˣ, 41ˣ

kennings

Margr frár Ullr oddsennu
‘Many a fierce Ullr of the point-quarrel ’
   = WARRIOR

the point-quarrel → BATTLE
Many a fierce Ullr of the BATTLE → WARRIOR
Close

sennu ‘quarrel’

1. senna (noun f.; °; -ur): quarrel < oddsenna (noun f.)

[2] ‑sennu: so all others, ‘senni’ Flat

kennings

Margr frár Ullr oddsennu
‘Many a fierce Ullr of the point-quarrel ’
   = WARRIOR

the point-quarrel → BATTLE
Many a fierce Ullr of the BATTLE → WARRIOR
Close

sennu ‘quarrel’

1. senna (noun f.; °; -ur): quarrel < oddsenna (noun f.)

[2] ‑sennu: so all others, ‘senni’ Flat

kennings

Margr frár Ullr oddsennu
‘Many a fierce Ullr of the point-quarrel ’
   = WARRIOR

the point-quarrel → BATTLE
Many a fierce Ullr of the BATTLE → WARRIOR
Close

frár ‘fierce’

frár (adj.; °compar. -ri, superl. -vastr/-str): agile, quick

[3] frár: so JÓ, 20dˣ, 873ˣ, 41ˣ, freyr Flat, frétt DG8

kennings

Margr frár Ullr oddsennu
‘Many a fierce Ullr of the point-quarrel ’
   = WARRIOR

the point-quarrel → BATTLE
Many a fierce Ullr of the BATTLE → WARRIOR
Close

þars ‘in which’

þars (conj.): where

[3] þars (‘þar er’): þar JÓ, 20dˣ, 873ˣ, 41ˣ

notes

[1, 3, 4] illan fornan serk, þars órum fœddir ok bornir ‘foul old shirt in which we were born and brought up [lit. brought up and born]’: (a) An obvious interpretation would be that illan fornan serk ‘foul old shirt’ refers to a rusty mail-shirt (cf. st. 7/6 and Note for a reference to armour), and that the þars-clause means ‘where…’ and indicates that the attackers are on native soil, not in England, but this view of þar is problematic in view of the statement in st. 1 that they are in England, unless the reference were to Anglo-Scandinavian warriors born in England. The alternative assumption is made here, that þars means ‘in which’, perhaps producing an exaggerated claim that the men have been warriors since birth, so that armour is like a skin to them. (b) The sense might instead be that the warriors are fighting with no armour except their own skin, which is then the ‘shirt’ in which they were ‘born and bred’ (cf. Note to ll. 7-8 below). This could allude to the tradition of berserks who literally fought in their own skin (see Þhorn Harkv 8/5 and Note), but again in an exaggerated fashion, meaning that these warriors wore ordinary clothes rather than armour. (c) Holtsmark (1954, 107; cf. ÍF 35) has argued that the serk(r) ‘shirt’ is to be identified with the caul or amnion, traditionally linked in Scandinavia and England with luck and invulnerability in battle. However, the subject is qualified by margr ‘many’, whereas to be born with a caul is exceptional.

Close

fœddir ‘brought up’

2. fœða (verb): to feed, give food to, bring up, bear, give birth to

notes

[1, 3, 4] illan fornan serk, þars órum fœddir ok bornir ‘foul old shirt in which we were born and brought up [lit. brought up and born]’: (a) An obvious interpretation would be that illan fornan serk ‘foul old shirt’ refers to a rusty mail-shirt (cf. st. 7/6 and Note for a reference to armour), and that the þars-clause means ‘where…’ and indicates that the attackers are on native soil, not in England, but this view of þar is problematic in view of the statement in st. 1 that they are in England, unless the reference were to Anglo-Scandinavian warriors born in England. The alternative assumption is made here, that þars means ‘in which’, perhaps producing an exaggerated claim that the men have been warriors since birth, so that armour is like a skin to them. (b) The sense might instead be that the warriors are fighting with no armour except their own skin, which is then the ‘shirt’ in which they were ‘born and bred’ (cf. Note to ll. 7-8 below). This could allude to the tradition of berserks who literally fought in their own skin (see Þhorn Harkv 8/5 and Note), but again in an exaggerated fashion, meaning that these warriors wore ordinary clothes rather than armour. (c) Holtsmark (1954, 107; cf. ÍF 35) has argued that the serk(r) ‘shirt’ is to be identified with the caul or amnion, traditionally linked in Scandinavia and England with luck and invulnerability in battle. However, the subject is qualified by margr ‘many’, whereas to be born with a caul is exceptional.

Close

órum ‘we were’

várr (pron.; °f. ór/vár; pl. órir/várir): our

notes

[1, 3, 4] illan fornan serk, þars órum fœddir ok bornir ‘foul old shirt in which we were born and brought up [lit. brought up and born]’: (a) An obvious interpretation would be that illan fornan serk ‘foul old shirt’ refers to a rusty mail-shirt (cf. st. 7/6 and Note for a reference to armour), and that the þars-clause means ‘where…’ and indicates that the attackers are on native soil, not in England, but this view of þar is problematic in view of the statement in st. 1 that they are in England, unless the reference were to Anglo-Scandinavian warriors born in England. The alternative assumption is made here, that þars means ‘in which’, perhaps producing an exaggerated claim that the men have been warriors since birth, so that armour is like a skin to them. (b) The sense might instead be that the warriors are fighting with no armour except their own skin, which is then the ‘shirt’ in which they were ‘born and bred’ (cf. Note to ll. 7-8 below). This could allude to the tradition of berserks who literally fought in their own skin (see Þhorn Harkv 8/5 and Note), but again in an exaggerated fashion, meaning that these warriors wore ordinary clothes rather than armour. (c) Holtsmark (1954, 107; cf. ÍF 35) has argued that the serk(r) ‘shirt’ is to be identified with the caul or amnion, traditionally linked in Scandinavia and England with luck and invulnerability in battle. However, the subject is qualified by margr ‘many’, whereas to be born with a caul is exceptional.

Close

fornan ‘old’

forn (adj.; °compar. -ari, superl. -astr): ancient, old

notes

[1, 3, 4] illan fornan serk, þars órum fœddir ok bornir ‘foul old shirt in which we were born and brought up [lit. brought up and born]’: (a) An obvious interpretation would be that illan fornan serk ‘foul old shirt’ refers to a rusty mail-shirt (cf. st. 7/6 and Note for a reference to armour), and that the þars-clause means ‘where…’ and indicates that the attackers are on native soil, not in England, but this view of þar is problematic in view of the statement in st. 1 that they are in England, unless the reference were to Anglo-Scandinavian warriors born in England. The alternative assumption is made here, that þars means ‘in which’, perhaps producing an exaggerated claim that the men have been warriors since birth, so that armour is like a skin to them. (b) The sense might instead be that the warriors are fighting with no armour except their own skin, which is then the ‘shirt’ in which they were ‘born and bred’ (cf. Note to ll. 7-8 below). This could allude to the tradition of berserks who literally fought in their own skin (see Þhorn Harkv 8/5 and Note), but again in an exaggerated fashion, meaning that these warriors wore ordinary clothes rather than armour. (c) Holtsmark (1954, 107; cf. ÍF 35) has argued that the serk(r) ‘shirt’ is to be identified with the caul or amnion, traditionally linked in Scandinavia and England with luck and invulnerability in battle. However, the subject is qualified by margr ‘many’, whereas to be born with a caul is exceptional.

Close

serk ‘shirt’

1. serkr (noun m.; °-s, dat. -/-i; -ir): shirt

notes

[1, 3, 4] illan fornan serk, þars órum fœddir ok bornir ‘foul old shirt in which we were born and brought up [lit. brought up and born]’: (a) An obvious interpretation would be that illan fornan serk ‘foul old shirt’ refers to a rusty mail-shirt (cf. st. 7/6 and Note for a reference to armour), and that the þars-clause means ‘where…’ and indicates that the attackers are on native soil, not in England, but this view of þar is problematic in view of the statement in st. 1 that they are in England, unless the reference were to Anglo-Scandinavian warriors born in England. The alternative assumption is made here, that þars means ‘in which’, perhaps producing an exaggerated claim that the men have been warriors since birth, so that armour is like a skin to them. (b) The sense might instead be that the warriors are fighting with no armour except their own skin, which is then the ‘shirt’ in which they were ‘born and bred’ (cf. Note to ll. 7-8 below). This could allude to the tradition of berserks who literally fought in their own skin (see Þhorn Harkv 8/5 and Note), but again in an exaggerated fashion, meaning that these warriors wore ordinary clothes rather than armour. (c) Holtsmark (1954, 107; cf. ÍF 35) has argued that the serk(r) ‘shirt’ is to be identified with the caul or amnion, traditionally linked in Scandinavia and England with luck and invulnerability in battle. However, the subject is qualified by margr ‘many’, whereas to be born with a caul is exceptional.

Close

ok ‘and’

3. ok (conj.): and, but; also

[4] ok: um JÓ, 20dˣ, 873ˣ, 41ˣ

notes

[1, 3, 4] illan fornan serk, þars órum fœddir ok bornir ‘foul old shirt in which we were born and brought up [lit. brought up and born]’: (a) An obvious interpretation would be that illan fornan serk ‘foul old shirt’ refers to a rusty mail-shirt (cf. st. 7/6 and Note for a reference to armour), and that the þars-clause means ‘where…’ and indicates that the attackers are on native soil, not in England, but this view of þar is problematic in view of the statement in st. 1 that they are in England, unless the reference were to Anglo-Scandinavian warriors born in England. The alternative assumption is made here, that þars means ‘in which’, perhaps producing an exaggerated claim that the men have been warriors since birth, so that armour is like a skin to them. (b) The sense might instead be that the warriors are fighting with no armour except their own skin, which is then the ‘shirt’ in which they were ‘born and bred’ (cf. Note to ll. 7-8 below). This could allude to the tradition of berserks who literally fought in their own skin (see Þhorn Harkv 8/5 and Note), but again in an exaggerated fashion, meaning that these warriors wore ordinary clothes rather than armour. (c) Holtsmark (1954, 107; cf. ÍF 35) has argued that the serk(r) ‘shirt’ is to be identified with the caul or amnion, traditionally linked in Scandinavia and England with luck and invulnerability in battle. However, the subject is qualified by margr ‘many’, whereas to be born with a caul is exceptional.

Close

bornir ‘born’

3. bera (verb; °berr; bar, báru; borinn): bear, carry

notes

[1, 3, 4] illan fornan serk, þars órum fœddir ok bornir ‘foul old shirt in which we were born and brought up [lit. brought up and born]’: (a) An obvious interpretation would be that illan fornan serk ‘foul old shirt’ refers to a rusty mail-shirt (cf. st. 7/6 and Note for a reference to armour), and that the þars-clause means ‘where…’ and indicates that the attackers are on native soil, not in England, but this view of þar is problematic in view of the statement in st. 1 that they are in England, unless the reference were to Anglo-Scandinavian warriors born in England. The alternative assumption is made here, that þars means ‘in which’, perhaps producing an exaggerated claim that the men have been warriors since birth, so that armour is like a skin to them. (b) The sense might instead be that the warriors are fighting with no armour except their own skin, which is then the ‘shirt’ in which they were ‘born and bred’ (cf. Note to ll. 7-8 below). This could allude to the tradition of berserks who literally fought in their own skin (see Þhorn Harkv 8/5 and Note), but again in an exaggerated fashion, meaning that these warriors wore ordinary clothes rather than armour. (c) Holtsmark (1954, 107; cf. ÍF 35) has argued that the serk(r) ‘shirt’ is to be identified with the caul or amnion, traditionally linked in Scandinavia and England with luck and invulnerability in battle. However, the subject is qualified by margr ‘many’, whereas to be born with a caul is exceptional.

Close

enskra ‘of English’

enskr (adj.): English

Close

ǫlum ‘let us nourish’

ala (verb; °elr; ól, ólu; alinn): to beget, produce, procreate

[6] ǫlum: so all others, ‘aulun’ Flat

Close

gjóð ‘the osprey’

gjóðr (noun m.; °-s; -ar): osprey

[6] gjóð: so all others, gjóðs Flat

kennings

gjóð Hnikars
‘the osprey of Hnikarr ’
   = RAVEN

the osprey of Hnikarr → RAVEN
Close

Hnikars ‘of Hnikarr’

Hnikarr (noun m.): Hnikarr

[6] Hnikars: ‘hikars’ 20dˣ

kennings

gjóð Hnikars
‘the osprey of Hnikarr ’
   = RAVEN

the osprey of Hnikarr → RAVEN
Close

blóði ‘the blood’

blóð (noun n.; °-s): blood

Close

vart ‘scarcely’

2. varr (adj.): wary

[7] vart: ‘ært’ JÓ, ‘ørt’ 20dˣ, ‘ort’ 873ˣ, 41ˣ

notes

[7] vart ‘scarcely’: (a) The reading vart has support in both the Óláfr and the Knútr traditions. If the translation of ll. 7-8 above is correct, with vart as the adv. ‘scarcely’, the lines mean that the men fight without armour, and hence support interpretation (b) in the Note to ll. 1, 3, 4. (b) Alternatively, vart skald could be read as ‘the cautious skald’ who does put on armour. (c) Skj B, Skald and ÍF 35 print ǫrt ‘bold’ but this variant is restricted to two or possibly three Knýtl mss and could be explained as a scribal emendation.

Close

skald ‘the skald’

skáld (noun n.; °-s; -): poet

[7] skald: skjald 41ˣ

Close

skreiðask ‘creep’

skreiða (verb): slink, creep

[8] skreiðask: ‘skædaz’ JÓ, ‘skødaz’ 20dˣ, 873ˣ, ‘skódast’ 41ˣ

notes

[8] skreiðask ‘creep’: Scholars have suggested that underlying this word may be an Anglo-Saxonism that confused the copyists. Guðbrandur Vigfússon (CPB II, 107 n.) tentatively restored skrýðaz and Hofmann (1955, 64-70, apparently independently) refined this to *skréðask ‘clothe, adorn oneself’ representing a conjectured OE dialectal *scrēdan for West Saxon scrȳdan ‘to issue with clothing’. The normal OWN adaptation of OE scrȳdan is skrýða. The related ON skrúð ‘ornament, equipment’ is also thought to be a loan word from OE (AEW: skrúð). ODan. *skréðask could have been ‘restored’ to a diphthongised form skreiðask by OWN speakers (cf. Brøndum-Nielsen 1928, 315-16) under the influence of the verb skreiðask ‘to slide, creep’ (Poole 1987, 284).

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samða ‘put together’

2. semja (verb): befit

[8] samða: so DG8, seiða Flat, ‘sæda’ JÓ, ‘søda’ 20dˣ, 873ˣ, 41ˣ

notes

[8] samða ‘put together’: This reading, f. acc. sg. p. p. of semja, may represent a scribal emendation of original séða ‘sewn’, suggested by variants ‘seida’, ‘sæda’ and ‘søda’ (Hofmann 1955, 64-70).

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

In ÓHLeg and Flat, as for st. 1. In Knýtl, st. 2 is cited after sts 9/1-4 and 8/5-8 (see Context). After the stanza it is remarked that Knútr fought many battles in London but failed to capture it.

Both helmingar contain statements that the skald and his comrades either did or did not put on armour, depending on the interpretation chosen.

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