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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Þjóð Yt 16I

Edith Marold (ed.) 2012, ‘Þjóðólfr ór Hvini, Ynglingatal 16’ 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. 36.

Þjóðólfr ór HviniYnglingatal
151617

frák ‘I have learned’

1. fregna (verb): hear of

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Aðils ‘of Aðils’

Aðils (noun m.): Aðils

notes

[2] Aðils ‘of Aðils’: The Swedish king Aðils appears in several Scandinavian legends. In Beowulf he (Ēadgils, son of Ōhthere) vies with his uncle Onela for control of Sweden and is able to prevail with Beowulf’s help. Scandinavian prose sources (SnE 1998, I, 58; Yng, ÍF 26, 57; Skjǫldunga saga, ÍF 35, 29) report violent conflicts between Aðils and a Norwegian king, Áli inn upplenzki, whom he conquers in a battle on the frozen Lake Vänern (on this cf. also Anon Kálfv 3III). Áli inn upplenzki and Onela might be one and the same person, because the nickname upplenzki could mean ‘the one from Uppland’ (Olrik 1903-10, I, 203; Schneider 1933, 116-17). A prominent motif of the legend is the humiliation of Aðils by Hrólfr kraki by strewing gold on the plains of Fýrisvellir (see Note to Eyv Lv 8/3-4). Also, a fragment of a stanza from Hrólfs saga kraka (Anon Hrólf 1VIII) alludes to the fight between the two parties by the fire in the hall of Aðils. On Aðils cf. also Anon Bjark 1/8III.

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fjǫrvi ‘the life’

fjǫr (noun n.): life

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vitta ‘of charms’

vitt (noun n.): charm

[3] vitta: vitra F, vita J1ˣ, J2ˣ

kennings

véttr vitta
‘the creature of charms ’
   = SORCERESS

the creature of charms → SORCERESS

notes

[3] véttr vitta ‘the creature of charms [SORCERESS]’: See Note to st. 3/3. Yt gives no indication of the identity of this sorceress, nor of how and why she causes Aðils’s death. HN and later prose sources contain various accounts of the circumstances of his death, but the cause of the fatal fall remains unclear.

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véttr ‘the creature’

1. vættr (noun f.): being, creature

[3] véttr: vætr F

kennings

véttr vitta
‘the creature of charms ’
   = SORCERESS

the creature of charms → SORCERESS

notes

[3] véttr vitta ‘the creature of charms [SORCERESS]’: See Note to st. 3/3. Yt gives no indication of the identity of this sorceress, nor of how and why she causes Aðils’s death. HN and later prose sources contain various accounts of the circumstances of his death, but the cause of the fatal fall remains unclear.

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viða ‘destroy’

2. viða (verb): gain, bring about

[4] viða: við J1ˣ, J2ˣ

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dáð ‘the deed’

dáð (noun f.; °; -ir): feat, deed < dáðgjarn (adj.): °eager to undertake bold deeds, valiant

kennings

dáðgjarn ôttungr Freys
‘the deed-eager descendant of Freyr ’
   = Swedish king

the deed-eager descendant of Freyr → Swedish king
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gjarn ‘eager’

gjarn (adj.; °compar. -ari, superl. -astr): eager < dáðgjarn (adj.): °eager to undertake bold deeds, valiant

kennings

dáðgjarn ôttungr Freys
‘the deed-eager descendant of Freyr ’
   = Swedish king

the deed-eager descendant of Freyr → Swedish king
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dralls ‘’

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drasils ‘of the steed’

drasill (noun m.): steed

[6] drasils: ‘dralls’ J1ˣ, R685ˣ

notes

[6] bógum drasils ‘the back of the steed’: Lit. ‘shoulders of the steed’.

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bógum ‘the back’

bógr (noun m.; °dat. bǿgi; bǿgir, acc. bógu): shoulder

notes

[6] bógum drasils ‘the back of the steed’: Lit. ‘shoulders of the steed’.

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Freys ‘of Freyr’

Freyr (noun m.): (a god)

kennings

dáðgjarn ôttungr Freys
‘the deed-eager descendant of Freyr ’
   = Swedish king

the deed-eager descendant of Freyr → Swedish king
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ôttungr ‘descendant’

1. áttungr (noun m.; °; -ar): kinsman

kennings

dáðgjarn ôttungr Freys
‘the deed-eager descendant of Freyr ’
   = Swedish king

the deed-eager descendant of Freyr → Swedish king
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falla ‘fall’

falla (verb): fall

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ægist ‘’

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ægir ‘the sea [fluid]’

2. ægir (noun m.): ocean, sea

[10] ægir: so F, ægis Kˣ, 521ˣ, J1ˣ, J2ˣ, 761aˣ, ægis corrected from ægir papp18ˣ, ‘ægist’ R685ˣ

notes

[10] ægir hjarna ‘the sea [fluid] of the brains’: The mss give either ægis (, J1ˣ, J2ˣ) or ‘ø̨ger’ (normalised ægir) (F). Most eds have selected the F reading and conjoined ægir ‘sea’ and hjarna, as a gen. attribute, to form a kenning in which hjarna is taken to mean ‘skull’ and the kenning referent as ‘brain’, although hjarni itself normally means ‘brains’ and the kenning is unparalleled. Meissner suggests regarding it instead as a free composition (Meissner 129), and this is the solution tentatively adopted here.

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hjarna ‘of the brains’

hjarni (noun m.): brain

notes

[10] ægir hjarna ‘the sea [fluid] of the brains’: The mss give either ægis (, J1ˣ, J2ˣ) or ‘ø̨ger’ (normalised ægir) (F). Most eds have selected the F reading and conjoined ægir ‘sea’ and hjarna, as a gen. attribute, to form a kenning in which hjarna is taken to mean ‘skull’ and the kenning referent as ‘brain’, although hjarni itself normally means ‘brains’ and the kenning is unparalleled. Meissner suggests regarding it instead as a free composition (Meissner 129), and this is the solution tentatively adopted here.

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bragnings ‘of the ruler’

bragningr (noun m.; °; -ar): prince, ruler

[11] bragnings: bragning J1ˣ, J2ˣ

kennings

burs bragnings
‘of the son of the ruler ’
   = RULER

the son of the ruler → RULER
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burs ‘of the son’

burr (noun m.; °; -ir): son

kennings

burs bragnings
‘of the son of the ruler ’
   = RULER

the son of the ruler → RULER
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dáð ‘the deed’

dáð (noun f.; °; -ir): feat, deed < dáðsæll (adj.)

[13] dáð‑: dag‑ J1ˣ, J2ˣ, R685ˣ

notes

[13] dáðsæll ‘deed-fortunate’: ÍF 26 selects the J reading dagsæll ‘having fortunate days’, as Wadstein (1895a, 70-1) had suggested, and notes that dáðsæll could have been influenced by the preceding dáðgjarn ‘deed-eager’. However, there is no necessity to depart from the main ms.  here.

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sæll ‘fortunate’

sæll (adj.): happy, blessed < dáðsæll (adj.)sæll (adj.): happy, blessed < dagsæll (adj.)

notes

[13] dáðsæll ‘deed-fortunate’: ÍF 26 selects the J reading dagsæll ‘having fortunate days’, as Wadstein (1895a, 70-1) had suggested, and notes that dáðsæll could have been influenced by the preceding dáðgjarn ‘deed-eager’. However, there is no necessity to depart from the main ms.  here.

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Ála ‘of Áli’

Áli (noun m.): Áli

notes

[15] Ála ‘of Áli’: On Áli, see Note to l. 2 above.

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dolgr ‘enemy’

dolgr (noun m.; °dat. -; -ar): enemy, battle

[15] dolgr: drengr F

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Uppsǫlum ‘Uppsala’

Uppsalir (noun m.): [Uppsala]

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

At a sacrificial feast for the dísir (minor female deities), while riding around the dísarsalr (the hall (or temple?) of the dís), King Aðils, son of Óttarr falls from his horse. He hits his head on a stone, shattering his skull so that his brains spill out onto the ground. He is buried in a mound in Uppsala.

This stanza contains a series of correspondences with other stanzas of Yt: véttr vitta ‘the creature of charms’ in l. 3 corresponds with st. 3/3, of viða skyldi ‘had to destroy’ in l. 4 with sts 1/8 and 26/14, and at Uppsǫlum ‘at Uppsala’ in l. 16 with st. 13/2. This is remarkable, because Yt as a whole contains few such repetitions (ok sikling ‘and the ruler’ in sts 1/5 and 17/5 and ok allvald ‘and the almighty’ in sts 4/9 and 7/9).

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