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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Þjóð Yt 17I

Edith Marold (ed.) 2012, ‘Þjóðólfr ór Hvini, Ynglingatal 17’ 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. 38.

Þjóðólfr ór HviniYnglingatal
161718

Veitk ‘I know’

1. vita (verb): know

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Eysteins ‘of Eysteinn’

Eysteinn (noun m.): Eysteinn

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enda ‘the end’

endi (noun m.): end

notes

[2-3] enda lokins lífs ... folginn ‘the end of the concluded life ... to be hidden’: The notion of a life’s ‘end’ being ‘hidden’ somewhere can be linked to the idea of a person’s life following a thread or string and ending where this thread is hidden, cf. HHund I 3/1-2, 4/1-4 (NK 130); cf. also KormǪ Lv 33/7-8V (Korm 52).

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ginn ‘’

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fal ‘’

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folginn ‘hidden’

2. fela (verb): hide

[2] folginn: folgin F, ‘fal ginn’ R685ˣ

notes

[2-3] enda lokins lífs ... folginn ‘the end of the concluded life ... to be hidden’: The notion of a life’s ‘end’ being ‘hidden’ somewhere can be linked to the idea of a person’s life following a thread or string and ending where this thread is hidden, cf. HHund I 3/1-2, 4/1-4 (NK 130); cf. also KormǪ Lv 33/7-8V (Korm 52).

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lokins ‘of the concluded’

1. lúka (verb): end, close

[3] lokins: lokinn J1ˣ, J2ˣ, R685ˣ

notes

[2-3] enda lokins lífs ... folginn ‘the end of the concluded life ... to be hidden’: The notion of a life’s ‘end’ being ‘hidden’ somewhere can be linked to the idea of a person’s life following a thread or string and ending where this thread is hidden, cf. HHund I 3/1-2, 4/1-4 (NK 130); cf. also KormǪ Lv 33/7-8V (Korm 52).

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lífs ‘life’

líf (noun n.; °-s; -): life

notes

[2-3] enda lokins lífs ... folginn ‘the end of the concluded life ... to be hidden’: The notion of a life’s ‘end’ being ‘hidden’ somewhere can be linked to the idea of a person’s life following a thread or string and ending where this thread is hidden, cf. HHund I 3/1-2, 4/1-4 (NK 130); cf. also KormǪ Lv 33/7-8V (Korm 52).

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á ‘in’

3. á (prep.): on, at

notes

[4] á Lófundi ‘in Lófund’: Noreen (1912a, 8-9; Yt 1925) associates the second element -und with the district name formant -hund, very common in Uppland, and he identifies Lófund with Lohärad in Lyhundra near Norrtälje.

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Lófundr ‘’

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Lófundi ‘Lófund’

Lófund (noun n.): Lófund

[4] Lófundi: lofðungi 521ˣ, F, Lófundr J1ˣ, R685ˣ

notes

[4] á Lófundi ‘in Lófund’: Noreen (1912a, 8-9; Yt 1925) associates the second element -und with the district name formant -hund, very common in Uppland, and he identifies Lófund with Lohärad in Lyhundra near Norrtälje.

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Ok ‘And’

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

[5] Ok: at F

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með ‘among’

með (prep.): with

notes

[6] með Svíum ‘among the Swedes’: The prepositional phrase can be construed in three possible ways: (a) It can be taken as modifying kvôðu ‘people said’, meaning that the burning was talked about among the Swedes (so Storm 1900, 32; Noreen 1912b, 131; Åkerlund 1939, 104; NN §3201). (b) It can be taken with brenna inni ‘to burn inside [a house]’, meaning that the burning takes place ‘among the Swedes’, i.e. in Sweden (ÍF 26; Hkr 1991). (c) It can be taken with sikling ‘the ruler’, meaning that Eysteinn is burned along with his Swedish companions (so Hkr 1893-1901, IV; Skj B; Lindquist 1929, 67). Solution (a) is most likely, because it preserves the unity of l. 6, and because numerous examples, collected by Kock (NN §3201), show that Yt repeatedly refers to word-of-mouth reports among the Swedes.

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Svíum ‘the Swedes’

svíar (noun m.): Swedes

notes

[6] með Svíum ‘among the Swedes’: The prepositional phrase can be construed in three possible ways: (a) It can be taken as modifying kvôðu ‘people said’, meaning that the burning was talked about among the Swedes (so Storm 1900, 32; Noreen 1912b, 131; Åkerlund 1939, 104; NN §3201). (b) It can be taken with brenna inni ‘to burn inside [a house]’, meaning that the burning takes place ‘among the Swedes’, i.e. in Sweden (ÍF 26; Hkr 1991). (c) It can be taken with sikling ‘the ruler’, meaning that Eysteinn is burned along with his Swedish companions (so Hkr 1893-1901, IV; Skj B; Lindquist 1929, 67). Solution (a) is most likely, because it preserves the unity of l. 6, and because numerous examples, collected by Kock (NN §3201), show that Yt repeatedly refers to word-of-mouth reports among the Swedes.

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józka ‘from Jutland’

józkr (adj.): [from Jutland]

notes

[7] józka menn ‘men from Jutland’: HN (2003, 78-9) seems to contradict this, for it identifies the adversary as Gautones ‘Gautar, men from Gautland (Götaland)’. Storm (1873, 109) takes this to be scribal error in HN, and Finnur Jónsson (1934b, 191) thinks it denotes Jótar. Koht (1921a, 30 n.) assumes the Gautar were indeed the original adversary, which could seem likely for geographical and perhaps for historical reasons (cf. also Beyschlag 1950, 75 n. 122; Yng 1952, 69-70). Accordingly Yt would either have mistaken the Gautar for Jutes or transmitted an older error, which may have arisen because of the Norwegian perspective (Krag 1991, 126).

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menn ‘men’

maðr (noun m.): man, person

notes

[7] józka menn ‘men from Jutland’: HN (2003, 78-9) seems to contradict this, for it identifies the adversary as Gautones ‘Gautar, men from Gautland (Götaland)’. Storm (1873, 109) takes this to be scribal error in HN, and Finnur Jónsson (1934b, 191) thinks it denotes Jótar. Koht (1921a, 30 n.) assumes the Gautar were indeed the original adversary, which could seem likely for geographical and perhaps for historical reasons (cf. also Beyschlag 1950, 75 n. 122; Yng 1952, 69-70). Accordingly Yt would either have mistaken the Gautar for Jutes or transmitted an older error, which may have arisen because of the Norwegian perspective (Krag 1991, 126).

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bit ‘the biting’

bit (noun n.; °-s; -): [biting] < bitsótt (noun f.)

kennings

bitsótt þangs hlíðar
‘the biting sickness of the sea-weed of the hill-slope ’
   = FIRE

the sea-weed of the hill-slope → FOREST
the biting sickness of the FOREST → FIRE
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sótt ‘sickness’

sótt (noun f.; °-ar; -ir): illness < bitsótt (noun f.)

kennings

bitsótt þangs hlíðar
‘the biting sickness of the sea-weed of the hill-slope ’
   = FIRE

the sea-weed of the hill-slope → FOREST
the biting sickness of the FOREST → FIRE
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brayd ‘’

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branduni ‘’

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brand ‘the fire’

brandr (noun m.; °-s, dat. -i; -ar): sword, prow; fire < brandnór (noun m.)

[10] brandnói: ‘brandvni’ F;    brand‑: ‘brayd‑’ R685ˣ

kennings

brandnói,
‘the fire-ship ’
   = HOUSE

the fire-ship → HOUSE

notes

[10] brandnói ‘the fire-ship [HOUSE]’: Cf. st. 4/10 arinkjóll ‘hearth-ship [HOUSE]’. The alternative suggestion (Hkr 1893-1901, IV) that the determinant is brandar ‘beams (decorating a house)’ is unlikely since brandar are also part of a ship (Jesch 2001a, 147-8). According to the interpretation proposed by Lindqvist (1936, 306), the stanza describes a funeral pyre aboard a ship (likewise Norr 1996, 26-7), but the second kenning in l. 14, nǫkkvi toptar ‘boat of the building plot [HOUSE]’ tells against this interpretation.

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nói ‘ship’

nór (noun m.): ship < brandnór (noun m.)nór (noun m.): ship

[10] brandnói: ‘brandvni’ F

kennings

brandnói,
‘the fire-ship ’
   = HOUSE

the fire-ship → HOUSE

notes

[10] brandnói ‘the fire-ship [HOUSE]’: Cf. st. 4/10 arinkjóll ‘hearth-ship [HOUSE]’. The alternative suggestion (Hkr 1893-1901, IV) that the determinant is brandar ‘beams (decorating a house)’ is unlikely since brandar are also part of a ship (Jesch 2001a, 147-8). According to the interpretation proposed by Lindqvist (1936, 306), the stanza describes a funeral pyre aboard a ship (likewise Norr 1996, 26-7), but the second kenning in l. 14, nǫkkvi toptar ‘boat of the building plot [HOUSE]’ tells against this interpretation.

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hlíðar ‘of the hill-slope’

1. hlíð (noun f.; °-ar; -ir): slope

kennings

bitsótt þangs hlíðar
‘the biting sickness of the sea-weed of the hill-slope ’
   = FIRE

the sea-weed of the hill-slope → FOREST
the biting sickness of the FOREST → FIRE

notes

[11] þangs hlíðar ‘of the sea-weed of the hill-slope [FOREST]’: The kenning can be interpreted as ‘grass’ or as ‘forest’. ‘Forest’ is selected here because hlíðþang is presented as an expression for ‘forest’ in Alv 28/3; cf. also Meissner 89, 101. Finnur Jónsson (Hkr 1893-1901, IV) favours ‘grass’.

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hlíðar ‘of the hill-slope’

1. hlíð (noun f.; °-ar; -ir): slope

kennings

bitsótt þangs hlíðar
‘the biting sickness of the sea-weed of the hill-slope ’
   = FIRE

the sea-weed of the hill-slope → FOREST
the biting sickness of the FOREST → FIRE

notes

[11] þangs hlíðar ‘of the sea-weed of the hill-slope [FOREST]’: The kenning can be interpreted as ‘grass’ or as ‘forest’. ‘Forest’ is selected here because hlíðþang is presented as an expression for ‘forest’ in Alv 28/3; cf. also Meissner 89, 101. Finnur Jónsson (Hkr 1893-1901, IV) favours ‘grass’.

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þangs ‘of the sea-weed’

þang (noun n.; °-s): seaweed, kelp

kennings

bitsótt þangs hlíðar
‘the biting sickness of the sea-weed of the hill-slope ’
   = FIRE

the sea-weed of the hill-slope → FOREST
the biting sickness of the FOREST → FIRE

notes

[11] þangs hlíðar ‘of the sea-weed of the hill-slope [FOREST]’: The kenning can be interpreted as ‘grass’ or as ‘forest’. ‘Forest’ is selected here because hlíðþang is presented as an expression for ‘forest’ in Alv 28/3; cf. also Meissner 89, 101. Finnur Jónsson (Hkr 1893-1901, IV) favours ‘grass’.

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þangs ‘of the sea-weed’

þang (noun n.; °-s): seaweed, kelp

kennings

bitsótt þangs hlíðar
‘the biting sickness of the sea-weed of the hill-slope ’
   = FIRE

the sea-weed of the hill-slope → FOREST
the biting sickness of the FOREST → FIRE

notes

[11] þangs hlíðar ‘of the sea-weed of the hill-slope [FOREST]’: The kenning can be interpreted as ‘grass’ or as ‘forest’. ‘Forest’ is selected here because hlíðþang is presented as an expression for ‘forest’ in Alv 28/3; cf. also Meissner 89, 101. Finnur Jónsson (Hkr 1893-1901, IV) favours ‘grass’.

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þás ‘when’

þás (conj.): when

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timbr ‘the timber’

timbr (noun n.; °-s; gen. -a): [timber] < timbrfastr (adj.)

kennings

timbrfastr nǫkkvi toptar,
‘the timber-fast boat of the building plot, ’
   = HOUSE

the timber-fast boat of the building plot, → HOUSE
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fastr ‘fast’

fastr (adj.; °compar. -ari, superl. -astr): firm, fast < timbrfastr (adj.)

kennings

timbrfastr nǫkkvi toptar,
‘the timber-fast boat of the building plot, ’
   = HOUSE

the timber-fast boat of the building plot, → HOUSE
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toptar ‘of the building plot’

tóft (noun f.; °; -ir): homestead, building plot

kennings

timbrfastr nǫkkvi toptar,
‘the timber-fast boat of the building plot, ’
   = HOUSE

the timber-fast boat of the building plot, → HOUSE
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notkin ‘’

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nokkju ‘’

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nǫkkvi ‘boat’

1. nǫkkvi (noun m.; °-a): boat

[14] nǫkkvi: so 521ˣ, F, J2ˣ, 761aˣ, corrected from ‘neq’ Kˣ, ‘nockiu’ J1ˣ, ‘notkin’ R685ˣ

kennings

timbrfastr nǫkkvi toptar,
‘the timber-fast boat of the building plot, ’
   = HOUSE

the timber-fast boat of the building plot, → HOUSE
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flotna ‘of seafarers’

flotnar (noun m.): mariners

notes

[15] flotna ‘of seafarers’: Þjóðólfr here characteristically extends the metaphor present in the base-word of the kenning into another part of the sentence. The base-words of the two house-kennings, brandnói ‘fire-ship’ and nǫkkvi toptar ‘boat of the building plot’ both mean ‘ship’, hence the people in the building are called flotnar ‘seafarers’.

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fullð ‘’

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fullr ‘full’

2. fullr (adj.; °compar. -ari, superl. -astr): full, complete

[15] fullr: so F, J1ˣ, J2ˣ, R685ˣ, 761aˣ, ‘fullþ’ Kˣ, papp18ˣ, 521ˣ

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fylki ‘the ruler’

fylkir (noun m.): leader

[16] fylki: corrected from fiski J2ˣ

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

Eysteinn, son and successor of Aðils, is enjoying hospitality in Lófund when Sǫlvi, a raider king based in Jutland, sets fire to the building by night, killing Eysteinn and his company. After an eleven-day battle, Sǫlvi gains power in Sweden.

[1-4]: Various syntactic interpretations are possible here, since the alternative readings, m. nom./acc. sg. lokinn (J1ˣ, J2ˣ, R685ˣ) or m./n. gen. sg. lokins (K transcripts, F) ‘concluded’ allow for the following combinations: lokinn with enda ‘end’, lokins with enda, lífs ‘life’ or Eysteins. (a) The interpretation adopted in this edn, as in many previous eds, chooses the reading lokins and construes lokins as a p. p. with lífs, hence ‘of the concluded life’. This results in a construal which connects l. 1 with l. 3 and l. 2 with l. 4, which is characteristic of Þjóðolfr’s composition. (b) Thinking lokins lífs cannot mean ‘of the concluded life’ because lúka governs the dat., Olson (1915, 222) translates lokins lífs as ‘shut in alive’ and thinks it a reference to the king’s burning alive in the brenna. Noreen (Yt 1925) and Lindquist (1929, 67) concur, though Noreen employs the reading lokinn. Kock (NN §2003) rightly objects to Olson’s premise, noting that the case governed by a verb (here the dat.) is irrelevant to the form of the participle.

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