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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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ÞjóðA Magnfl 18II

Diana Whaley (ed.) 2009, ‘Þjóðólfr Arnórsson, Magnússflokkr 18’ in Kari Ellen Gade (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 2: From c. 1035 to c. 1300. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 2. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 85-6.

Þjóðólfr ArnórssonMagnússflokkr
171819

Flýði ‘fled’

flýja (verb): to flee, take flight

[1] Flýði: ‘Fluðe’ FskAˣ, Hlýði Flat

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af ‘from’

af (prep.): from

[1] af: á 39

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auðu ‘empty’

3. auðr (adj.): empty, barren

[1] auðu: ‘auð[…]’ 39, ‘oðru’ Flat

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ótvínn ‘The unwavering’

ótvínn (adj.): unwavering

[2] ótvínn: so FskBˣ, 51ˣ, ‘otvin’ Kˣ, ‘vt vín’ 39, ‘ót vín’ F, ‘ottinn’ E, ‘otinn’ J2ˣ, ‘ut vinn’ FskAˣ, ‘otvín’ H, ‘ottvín’ Hr, ‘ættuin’ Flat

notes

[2] ótvínn ‘unwavering’: The word is somewhat uncommon and the scribes were evidently puzzled, but -tvínn is secured by the rhyme and the sense ‘undivided, unwavering, resolute’ is compatible with the contexts (cf. Konráð Gíslason and Eiríkur Jónsson 1875-1889, II, 376, concluding a thorough discussion; see also Þfisk Lv 2/2 and Steinn Óldr 5/2). The nom. sg. adj. could grammatically qualify either of two subjects. (a) It is assumed here, and by most eds, to qualify jarl in l. 1. Although this may seem too complimentary an epithet for the fleeing enemy Sveinn, there is a nice irony in an enemy who is unwavering about escape. (b) Ótvínn is taken with Magnús by Finnur Jónsson (Hkr 1893-1901; Fsk 1902-3; Skj B); this is firmly rejected by Kock in NN §854.

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morð ‘the killing’

1. morð (noun n.; °-s; -): killing, battle

[3] morð: morðs F, ‘modr’ Flat

notes

[3] morð ‘the killing’: Flýði ‘fled’ (l. 2) is normally construed with both af auðu skipi sínu ‘from his empty ship’ (ll. 1, 2) and morð ‘the killing, battle’. In order to avoid this, Kock suggested, at least as an alternative, reading morð Magnús, in which Magnús (l. 3) is a subjective gen. Magnúss qualifying morð, hence ‘where Magnús’s killing made it grievous for Sveinn to go from there’ (NN §854). Konráð Gíslason had raised the possibility of gen. but was not satisfied by it (Konráð Gíslason and Eiríkur Jónsson 1875-1889, II, 374).

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þars ‘where’

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

[3] þars (‘þar er’): þat er E, þar FskBˣ, Hr, ‘þer er’ FskAˣ, þeir er Flat

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mein ‘perilous’

mein (noun n.; °-s; -): harm, injury < meinfœrr (adj.): dangerous

notes

[4] meinfœrt þaðan ‘perilous to go from there’: To take þaðan with meinfœrt ‘perilous to go’, as here and in most of the eds listed above, avoids mentally detaching the adv. from the second cl., in which it is embedded. The juxtaposition of þar ‘there’ and þaðan ‘from there’ may appear awkward, but is not so if þaðan refers specifically to escaping from the ship (so Nj 1875-8, II, 374). Finnur Jónsson in Hkr 1893-1901 and Skj B (though not, to judge from the punctuation, in Fsk 1902-3) takes it with flýði ‘fled’ in the first cl. (see Kock’s objections, NN §§806, 854). Since in Finnur’s interpretation meinfœrt is not connected with þaðan, it does not necessarily refer to Sveinn’s desperate flight, but is taken to mean ‘(Magnús made it) difficult (for Sveinn) to advance’.

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fœrt ‘’

fœrr (adj.): capable < meinfœrr (adj.): dangerous

[4] ‑fœrt: so all others, ‑fǫr Kˣ

notes

[4] meinfœrt þaðan ‘perilous to go from there’: To take þaðan with meinfœrt ‘perilous to go’, as here and in most of the eds listed above, avoids mentally detaching the adv. from the second cl., in which it is embedded. The juxtaposition of þar ‘there’ and þaðan ‘from there’ may appear awkward, but is not so if þaðan refers specifically to escaping from the ship (so Nj 1875-8, II, 374). Finnur Jónsson in Hkr 1893-1901 and Skj B (though not, to judge from the punctuation, in Fsk 1902-3) takes it with flýði ‘fled’ in the first cl. (see Kock’s objections, NN §§806, 854). Since in Finnur’s interpretation meinfœrt is not connected with þaðan, it does not necessarily refer to Sveinn’s desperate flight, but is taken to mean ‘(Magnús made it) difficult (for Sveinn) to advance’.

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þaðan ‘from there’

þaðan (adv.): from there

notes

[4] meinfœrt þaðan ‘perilous to go from there’: To take þaðan with meinfœrt ‘perilous to go’, as here and in most of the eds listed above, avoids mentally detaching the adv. from the second cl., in which it is embedded. The juxtaposition of þar ‘there’ and þaðan ‘from there’ may appear awkward, but is not so if þaðan refers specifically to escaping from the ship (so Nj 1875-8, II, 374). Finnur Jónsson in Hkr 1893-1901 and Skj B (though not, to judge from the punctuation, in Fsk 1902-3) takes it with flýði ‘fled’ in the first cl. (see Kock’s objections, NN §§806, 854). Since in Finnur’s interpretation meinfœrt is not connected with þaðan, it does not necessarily refer to Sveinn’s desperate flight, but is taken to mean ‘(Magnús made it) difficult (for Sveinn) to advance’.

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Sveini ‘for Sveinn’

2. Sveinn (noun m.): Sveinn

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Réð ‘’

ráða (verb): advise, rule, interpret, decide

[5] Réð: rauð E, J2ˣ, FskBˣ, 51ˣ

notes

[5] réð hrjóða ‘painted [lit. did paint]’: There is good ms. support for both hrjóða and the variant rjóða ‘redden’ (cf. the hrauð/rauð alternation in ÞjóðA Magn 1/1), but the metre favours hrjóða, which, as the cadence of a Type C l., must alliterate, and must alliterate with h- (i.e. with her- and hneitis). That rjóða is a secondary reading is also confirmed by the fact that it is the lectio facilior, since reddening a sword is such a stock item in battle descriptions. Hrjóða evidently cannot have its normal meaning of ‘clear’ here, but perhaps something akin to ‘decorate, paint’, a sense which could be influenced by rjóða but is also ancient, on the evidence of hroðit sigli, probably ‘adorned brooch’ (Sigsk 49, NK 215), and the OE p. p. hroden applied to precious objects and found in compounds such as goldhroden ‘adorned with gold’, applied to royal brides in Beowulf (ll. 614, 640, 1948, 2025). This would imply a verb *hrēodan, cognate with hrjóða. In the light of the OE compounds, it is possible that gollroðinn ‘gold-reddened’ should be read as gollhroðinn ‘gold-adorned’ in Akv 4 and perhaps Anon Krm 21VIII (LP).

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hrjóða ‘painted’

1. hrjóða (verb): clear, destroy

[5] hrjóða: rjóða E, J2ˣ, FskBˣ, FskAˣ, Flat

notes

[5] réð hrjóða ‘painted [lit. did paint]’: There is good ms. support for both hrjóða and the variant rjóða ‘redden’ (cf. the hrauð/rauð alternation in ÞjóðA Magn 1/1), but the metre favours hrjóða, which, as the cadence of a Type C l., must alliterate, and must alliterate with h- (i.e. with her- and hneitis). That rjóða is a secondary reading is also confirmed by the fact that it is the lectio facilior, since reddening a sword is such a stock item in battle descriptions. Hrjóða evidently cannot have its normal meaning of ‘clear’ here, but perhaps something akin to ‘decorate, paint’, a sense which could be influenced by rjóða but is also ancient, on the evidence of hroðit sigli, probably ‘adorned brooch’ (Sigsk 49, NK 215), and the OE p. p. hroden applied to precious objects and found in compounds such as goldhroden ‘adorned with gold’, applied to royal brides in Beowulf (ll. 614, 640, 1948, 2025). This would imply a verb *hrēodan, cognate with hrjóða. In the light of the OE compounds, it is possible that gollroðinn ‘gold-reddened’ should be read as gollhroðinn ‘gold-adorned’ in Akv 4 and perhaps Anon Krm 21VIII (LP).

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hneitis ‘the sword’s’

hneitir (noun m.): sword

notes

[6] hneitis ‘sword’s’: Lit. ‘wounder’s’. The etymological sense seems to be ‘striker, wounder’, cf. hníta ‘strike, wound’. The word occurs in ESk Geisl 43/1VII as the name of Óláfr helgi’s sword, and it may be used consciously here and in Arn Magndr 1 and 13 to emphasise Magnús’s status as heir of the venerated king.

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sprændi ‘spurted’

spræna (verb): spurt

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brýndan ‘the sharpened’

brýna (verb; °-nd-): sharpen, whet

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gramr ‘the prince’

1. gramr (noun m.): ruler

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landa ‘lands’

land (noun n.; °-s; *-): land

[8] landa: handa E, FskAˣ, Flat

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In Hkr and H-Hr this is cited in relation to the battle of Helgenæs (Helganes; see st. 17). Sveinn’s ships are all cleared, and he flees. In Fsk and Flat it is cited in relation to another encounter, south of Århus (Áróss) after the lapse of a winter; they follow the st. with a remark that it demonstrates that Magnús and his men called Sveinn ‘jarl’ while Sveinn called himself king, as did his men.

Flat cites both this st. and Okík Magn 1, implicitly crediting Þjóðólfr with both of them.

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