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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Þjóð Yt 7I

Edith Marold (ed.) 2012, ‘Þjóðólfr ór Hvini, Ynglingatal 7’ 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. 19.

Þjóðólfr ór HviniYnglingatal
678

Kveðkat ‘I call it no’

2. kveðja (verb): say, greet

notes

[1] kveðkat dul ‘I call it no secret’: Lit. ‘I do not call it a secret’. The poet uses several phrases that refer to people’s knowledge of events described in the poem (sts 6, 8, 15, 16, 20, 22). ON dul f. means ‘concealment, (self-)delusion, conceit’, and hence kveðkat dul could alternatively mean ‘it really is true’ (Lie 1957, 68).

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dul ‘secret’

1. dul (noun f.; °-ar; -ar): delusion

notes

[1] kveðkat dul ‘I call it no secret’: Lit. ‘I do not call it a secret’. The poet uses several phrases that refer to people’s knowledge of events described in the poem (sts 6, 8, 15, 16, 20, 22). ON dul f. means ‘concealment, (self-)delusion, conceit’, and hence kveðkat dul could alternatively mean ‘it really is true’ (Lie 1957, 68).

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Dyggva ‘of Dyggvi’

Dyggvi (noun m.): Dyggvi

notes

[2] Dyggva ‘of Dyggvi’: The prince’s name was probably a nickname meaning ‘the Good, the Doughty’, out of which an independent pers. n. developed. Whether conclusions about the prince’s personality are safely drawn on this basis is doubtful (cf. Turville-Petre 1978-9, 64).

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hrør ‘the corpse’

hrør (noun n.; °; dat. -um): corpse

[2] hrør: reyr F, hreyr J2ˣ, R685ˣ

notes

[2] hrør ‘the corpse’: The two readings hreyr ‘burial place’ and hrør ‘corpse’ have the same distribution as in st. 6/2, but here, unlike in st. 6/2, hrør is probably the correct choice for the original word. This is also the position of Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson (ÍF 26). He suggests as an alternative that the kenning hlífi-Nauma hallvarps ‘the protecting Nauma <goddess> of the cairn [= Hel]’ in st. 22/5-6 might favour the notion that Hel has the burial-mound (hreyr) instead of the corpse (hrør) to her delight (at gamni) in this stanza, but this is unlikely.

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Glitnis ‘of Glitnir’

Glitnir (noun m.): Glitnir, hall, shining one

kennings

Gnô Glitnis
‘the Gná of Glitnir ’
   = Hel

the Gná of Glitnir → Hel

notes

[3] Gnô Glitnis ‘the Gná <goddess> of Glitnir <horse> [= Hel]’: Almost all interpreters of the stanza have assumed this kenning refers to Hel, the being who presides over the realm of the dead (see Note to Bjbp Jóms 34/1, 4). This assumption is favoured by the occurrence of a kenning for Hel in both of the stanza’s other two four-line units. Gná, the name of one of the Ásynjur (goddesses), occurs as the base-word in woman-kennings (Meissner 406). Glitnir means ‘the shining one’ (cf. glitra ‘glitter, shine’), and is recorded as a name of the hall of the god Forseti, which was decorated with gold and silver (Grí 15/2-3), but there are divergent views of the significance of Glitnir here. The present edn tentatively takes Glitnir to be the horse-heiti recorded in Þul Hesta 1/3III (so also Yt 1925; NN §1011; Turville-Petre 1964, 56, 226; ÍF 26). If this is correct, Gn Glitnis, interpreted as ‘the goddess of the horse’, might refer to Hel’s appearance as a mounted goddess of death. Turville-Petre (1964, 56-7) points out a fundamental association between horses and death, as indicated by numerous graves in which horses were burial objects, and by the belief that people rode horses into the realm of the dead. The motif of Death’s horse or of Death mounted is familiar from many folk tales (‘Pferd 3. Mythologisches’, HDA 6, 109). Moreover, the name Glitnir ‘the shining one’ fits the circumstance that Death traditionally rides a white horse (loc. cit.).

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Gnô ‘the Gná’

Gná (noun f.): Gná

kennings

Gnô Glitnis
‘the Gná of Glitnir ’
   = Hel

the Gná of Glitnir → Hel

notes

[3] Gnô Glitnis ‘the Gná <goddess> of Glitnir <horse> [= Hel]’: Almost all interpreters of the stanza have assumed this kenning refers to Hel, the being who presides over the realm of the dead (see Note to Bjbp Jóms 34/1, 4). This assumption is favoured by the occurrence of a kenning for Hel in both of the stanza’s other two four-line units. Gná, the name of one of the Ásynjur (goddesses), occurs as the base-word in woman-kennings (Meissner 406). Glitnir means ‘the shining one’ (cf. glitra ‘glitter, shine’), and is recorded as a name of the hall of the god Forseti, which was decorated with gold and silver (Grí 15/2-3), but there are divergent views of the significance of Glitnir here. The present edn tentatively takes Glitnir to be the horse-heiti recorded in Þul Hesta 1/3III (so also Yt 1925; NN §1011; Turville-Petre 1964, 56, 226; ÍF 26). If this is correct, Gn Glitnis, interpreted as ‘the goddess of the horse’, might refer to Hel’s appearance as a mounted goddess of death. Turville-Petre (1964, 56-7) points out a fundamental association between horses and death, as indicated by numerous graves in which horses were burial objects, and by the belief that people rode horses into the realm of the dead. The motif of Death’s horse or of Death mounted is familiar from many folk tales (‘Pferd 3. Mythologisches’, HDA 6, 109). Moreover, the name Glitnir ‘the shining one’ fits the circumstance that Death traditionally rides a white horse (loc. cit.).

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at ‘for’

3. at (prep.): at, to

notes

[4] hefr ... at gamni ‘has ... for [her] pleasure’: Most interpreters justifiably view this phrase as a reference to an erotic relationship between the dead and the goddess of death. However, it does not follow that Hel is depicted as an erotic, appealing woman (as suggested by Bergsveinn Birgisson 2008, 352); nor is it necessary to suppose that the motif as it appears here is humorous (so Krag 1991, 108). While the image of a death goddess having an erotic relationship with the dead is found only in Yt, the dead are often claimed by goddesses. The sea-goddess Rán receives the drowned (cf. prose introduction to Reg, HHj 18/5, Egill St 7/1V (Eg 78)), and Freyja receives half of the fallen (Grí 14/4-5).

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gafin ‘’

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gamni ‘pleasure’

gaman (noun n.): joy, pleasure

[4] gamni: ‘gafin’ R685ˣ

notes

[4] hefr ... at gamni ‘has ... for [her] pleasure’: Most interpreters justifiably view this phrase as a reference to an erotic relationship between the dead and the goddess of death. However, it does not follow that Hel is depicted as an erotic, appealing woman (as suggested by Bergsveinn Birgisson 2008, 352); nor is it necessary to suppose that the motif as it appears here is humorous (so Krag 1991, 108). While the image of a death goddess having an erotic relationship with the dead is found only in Yt, the dead are often claimed by goddesses. The sea-goddess Rán receives the drowned (cf. prose introduction to Reg, HHj 18/5, Egill St 7/1V (Eg 78)), and Freyja receives half of the fallen (Grí 14/4-5).

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hefr ‘has’

hafa (verb): have

notes

[4] hefr ... at gamni ‘has ... for [her] pleasure’: Most interpreters justifiably view this phrase as a reference to an erotic relationship between the dead and the goddess of death. However, it does not follow that Hel is depicted as an erotic, appealing woman (as suggested by Bergsveinn Birgisson 2008, 352); nor is it necessary to suppose that the motif as it appears here is humorous (so Krag 1991, 108). While the image of a death goddess having an erotic relationship with the dead is found only in Yt, the dead are often claimed by goddesses. The sea-goddess Rán receives the drowned (cf. prose introduction to Reg, HHj 18/5, Egill St 7/1V (Eg 78)), and Freyja receives half of the fallen (Grí 14/4-5).

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jódís ‘the sister’

Jódís (noun f.): [sister]

kennings

jódís Ulfs ok Narfa
‘the sister of the Wolf and of Narfi ’
   = Hel

the sister of the Wolf and of Narfi → Hel

notes

[5-6] jódís Ulfs ok Narfa ‘the sister of the Wolf and of Narfi [= Hel]’: This kenning is explicable on the basis that Hel, the wolf Fenrir and Narfi (also named Nari) are the offspring of Loki. Nari/Narfi’s mother is Sigyn, Loki’s wife, while the giantess Angrboða gives birth to Hel and Fenrir (as well as the Miðgarðsormr ‘World Serpent’, Gylf, SnE 2005, 27). The word jódís occurs only here and in SnE (1998, I, 108), where it is given together with systir ‘sister’ and dís ‘goddess, minor female deity’ among the heiti for ‘woman’. The sense ‘sister’ is clearly required by the present context and this finds some limited support in the SnE context (cf. st. 9/7, where dís Loga appears to mean ‘sister of Logi’; see Note). The second element of the cpd is dís, while the first is uncertain (see AEW: jódís, jóðdís).

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Ulfs ‘of the Wolf’

1. ulfr (noun m.; °-s, dat. -i; -ar): wolf

kennings

jódís Ulfs ok Narfa
‘the sister of the Wolf and of Narfi ’
   = Hel

the sister of the Wolf and of Narfi → Hel

notes

[5-6] jódís Ulfs ok Narfa ‘the sister of the Wolf and of Narfi [= Hel]’: This kenning is explicable on the basis that Hel, the wolf Fenrir and Narfi (also named Nari) are the offspring of Loki. Nari/Narfi’s mother is Sigyn, Loki’s wife, while the giantess Angrboða gives birth to Hel and Fenrir (as well as the Miðgarðsormr ‘World Serpent’, Gylf, SnE 2005, 27). The word jódís occurs only here and in SnE (1998, I, 108), where it is given together with systir ‘sister’ and dís ‘goddess, minor female deity’ among the heiti for ‘woman’. The sense ‘sister’ is clearly required by the present context and this finds some limited support in the SnE context (cf. st. 9/7, where dís Loga appears to mean ‘sister of Logi’; see Note). The second element of the cpd is dís, while the first is uncertain (see AEW: jódís, jóðdís).

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ok ‘and’

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

kennings

jódís Ulfs ok Narfa
‘the sister of the Wolf and of Narfi ’
   = Hel

the sister of the Wolf and of Narfi → Hel

notes

[5-6] jódís Ulfs ok Narfa ‘the sister of the Wolf and of Narfi [= Hel]’: This kenning is explicable on the basis that Hel, the wolf Fenrir and Narfi (also named Nari) are the offspring of Loki. Nari/Narfi’s mother is Sigyn, Loki’s wife, while the giantess Angrboða gives birth to Hel and Fenrir (as well as the Miðgarðsormr ‘World Serpent’, Gylf, SnE 2005, 27). The word jódís occurs only here and in SnE (1998, I, 108), where it is given together with systir ‘sister’ and dís ‘goddess, minor female deity’ among the heiti for ‘woman’. The sense ‘sister’ is clearly required by the present context and this finds some limited support in the SnE context (cf. st. 9/7, where dís Loga appears to mean ‘sister of Logi’; see Note). The second element of the cpd is dís, while the first is uncertain (see AEW: jódís, jóðdís).

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Narfa ‘of Narfi’

Narfi (noun m.): Narfi

kennings

jódís Ulfs ok Narfa
‘the sister of the Wolf and of Narfi ’
   = Hel

the sister of the Wolf and of Narfi → Hel

notes

[5-6] jódís Ulfs ok Narfa ‘the sister of the Wolf and of Narfi [= Hel]’: This kenning is explicable on the basis that Hel, the wolf Fenrir and Narfi (also named Nari) are the offspring of Loki. Nari/Narfi’s mother is Sigyn, Loki’s wife, while the giantess Angrboða gives birth to Hel and Fenrir (as well as the Miðgarðsormr ‘World Serpent’, Gylf, SnE 2005, 27). The word jódís occurs only here and in SnE (1998, I, 108), where it is given together with systir ‘sister’ and dís ‘goddess, minor female deity’ among the heiti for ‘woman’. The sense ‘sister’ is clearly required by the present context and this finds some limited support in the SnE context (cf. st. 9/7, where dís Loga appears to mean ‘sister of Logi’; see Note). The second element of the cpd is dís, while the first is uncertain (see AEW: jódís, jóðdís).

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konung ‘the king’

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mann ‘’

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kjósa ‘choose’

kjósa (verb): choose

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all ‘’

all- ((prefix)): very < allvaldr (noun m.): mighty ruler

[9] allvald: ‘alld ualld’ R685ˣ

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vald ‘the sovereign’

valdr (noun m.): ruler < allvaldr (noun m.): mighty ruler

[9] allvald: ‘alld ualld’ R685ˣ

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laka ‘’

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Yngva ‘of Yngvi’

Yngvi (noun m.): Yngvi, prince

kennings

þjóðar Yngva.
‘of the people of Yngvi. ’
   = Svíar

the people of Yngvi. → Svíar

notes

[10] þjóðar Yngva ‘of the people of Yngvi [= Svíar]’: On Yngvi, see the Introduction. The people of Uppland, the Svíar, are thought to have been his descendants.

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þjóðar ‘of the people’

þjóð (noun f.; °-ar, dat. -/-u; -ir): people

kennings

þjóðar Yngva.
‘of the people of Yngvi. ’
   = Svíar

the people of Yngvi. → Svíar

notes

[10] þjóðar Yngva ‘of the people of Yngvi [= Svíar]’: On Yngvi, see the Introduction. The people of Uppland, the Svíar, are thought to have been his descendants.

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Loka ‘of Loki’

Loki (noun m.): [to Loki, Loki]

[11] Loka: ‘laka’ papp18ˣ

kennings

mær Loka
‘the maiden of Loki ’
   = Hel

the maiden of Loki → Hel

notes

[11] mær Loka ‘the maiden of Loki [= Hel]’: On Hel’s parentage, see Note to ll. 5-6.

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lekjum ‘’

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mær ‘the maiden’

mær (noun f.; °meyjar, dat. meyju; meyjar): maiden

kennings

mær Loka
‘the maiden of Loki ’
   = Hel

the maiden of Loki → Hel

notes

[11] mær Loka ‘the maiden of Loki [= Hel]’: On Hel’s parentage, see Note to ll. 5-6.

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of ‘’

4. of (particle): (before verb)

[12] of leikinn: ‘at lekiom’ J2ˣ, R685ˣ

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leikinn ‘outplayed’

3. leika (verb): play

[12] of leikinn: ‘at lekiom’ J2ˣ, R685ˣ

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hefr ‘has’

hafa (verb): have

[12] hefr: ‘hófr’ F

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Yng relates that nothing is known about Dyggvi, son of Dómarr, except that he died of an illness.

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