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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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ÞjóðA Magnfl 6II

Diana Whaley (ed.) 2009, ‘Þjóðólfr Arnórsson, Magnússflokkr 6’ 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. 70-2.

Þjóðólfr ArnórssonMagnússflokkr
567

Minn ‘My’

minn (pron.; °f. mín, n. mitt): my

[1] Minn: ‘Vímt’ or ‘Vnnt’ Hr

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‘won’

1. vega (verb): strike, slay

[1] vá: var Flat

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fyr ‘’

fyr (prep.): for, over, because of, etc.

notes

[1, 2, 3, 4] fyr sunnan Heiðabý; nær Skotborgarô ‘south of Hedeby (Heiðabýr)’; ‘near the Kongeå (Skotborgará)’: Arnórr also commemorates Magnús’s defeat of the Wends við skíra Skotborgar ‘by the gleaming Kongeå (Skotborgará)’ (Arn Hryn 13), but the prose sources locate this victory specifically on Lyrskovshede (Hlýrskógsheiðr), west of Hedeby, and neither of these places is near the river Kongeå (Skotborgará). (a) Bjarni Aðalbjarnason favours assuming two battles with a northwards pursuit in between (ÍF 28, 42 n. 1), but the st. seems to report a single battle, at least if the helmingar belong together, and there is no clear evidence of a second battle. (b) This leaves an uncomfortable choice between awkward geography and awkward language, and the solution adopted here has the disadvantage that it places the action both near the river and south of Hedeby, although the river lies well north of Hedeby. The compiler of H-Hr seems to have understood the st. this way, and believes that the river is south of Hedeby (see Context). (c) It is presumably for this geographical reason that some scholars construe these phrases the other way round: fyr sunnan ... Skotborgar ‘south of the river Kongeå’ and Heiðabý ... nær ‘near Hedeby’ (SHI 6, 58 and Skj B; Fms 12, 132 favours this but the punctuation in Fms 6, 64 does not match). However, this assumes an extremely complicated cl. arrangement in which an audience hearing Heiðabý mid-l. and following fyr sunnan ‘south of’ would have to realise that it belonged in an entirely different cl. (cf. NN §849 for Kock’s spirited objection to this), and this interpretation only slightly improves the geographical logic, since Hedeby and the river are still a long way apart.

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sunnan ‘south’

sunnan (adv.): (from the) south

notes

[1, 2, 3, 4] fyr sunnan Heiðabý; nær Skotborgarô ‘south of Hedeby (Heiðabýr)’; ‘near the Kongeå (Skotborgará)’: Arnórr also commemorates Magnús’s defeat of the Wends við skíra Skotborgar ‘by the gleaming Kongeå (Skotborgará)’ (Arn Hryn 13), but the prose sources locate this victory specifically on Lyrskovshede (Hlýrskógsheiðr), west of Hedeby, and neither of these places is near the river Kongeå (Skotborgará). (a) Bjarni Aðalbjarnason favours assuming two battles with a northwards pursuit in between (ÍF 28, 42 n. 1), but the st. seems to report a single battle, at least if the helmingar belong together, and there is no clear evidence of a second battle. (b) This leaves an uncomfortable choice between awkward geography and awkward language, and the solution adopted here has the disadvantage that it places the action both near the river and south of Hedeby, although the river lies well north of Hedeby. The compiler of H-Hr seems to have understood the st. this way, and believes that the river is south of Hedeby (see Context). (c) It is presumably for this geographical reason that some scholars construe these phrases the other way round: fyr sunnan ... Skotborgar ‘south of the river Kongeå’ and Heiðabý ... nær ‘near Hedeby’ (SHI 6, 58 and Skj B; Fms 12, 132 favours this but the punctuation in Fms 6, 64 does not match). However, this assumes an extremely complicated cl. arrangement in which an audience hearing Heiðabý mid-l. and following fyr sunnan ‘south of’ would have to realise that it belonged in an entirely different cl. (cf. NN §849 for Kock’s spirited objection to this), and this interpretation only slightly improves the geographical logic, since Hedeby and the river are still a long way apart.

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Heiðabý ‘of Hedeby (Heiðabýr)’

Heiðabýr (noun m.): Hedeby

notes

[1, 2, 3, 4] fyr sunnan Heiðabý; nær Skotborgarô ‘south of Hedeby (Heiðabýr)’; ‘near the Kongeå (Skotborgará)’: Arnórr also commemorates Magnús’s defeat of the Wends við skíra Skotborgar ‘by the gleaming Kongeå (Skotborgará)’ (Arn Hryn 13), but the prose sources locate this victory specifically on Lyrskovshede (Hlýrskógsheiðr), west of Hedeby, and neither of these places is near the river Kongeå (Skotborgará). (a) Bjarni Aðalbjarnason favours assuming two battles with a northwards pursuit in between (ÍF 28, 42 n. 1), but the st. seems to report a single battle, at least if the helmingar belong together, and there is no clear evidence of a second battle. (b) This leaves an uncomfortable choice between awkward geography and awkward language, and the solution adopted here has the disadvantage that it places the action both near the river and south of Hedeby, although the river lies well north of Hedeby. The compiler of H-Hr seems to have understood the st. this way, and believes that the river is south of Hedeby (see Context). (c) It is presumably for this geographical reason that some scholars construe these phrases the other way round: fyr sunnan ... Skotborgar ‘south of the river Kongeå’ and Heiðabý ... nær ‘near Hedeby’ (SHI 6, 58 and Skj B; Fms 12, 132 favours this but the punctuation in Fms 6, 64 does not match). However, this assumes an extremely complicated cl. arrangement in which an audience hearing Heiðabý mid-l. and following fyr sunnan ‘south of’ would have to realise that it belonged in an entirely different cl. (cf. NN §849 for Kock’s spirited objection to this), and this interpretation only slightly improves the geographical logic, since Hedeby and the river are still a long way apart.

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spjalli ‘confidant’

spjalli (noun m.): confidant

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nær ‘near’

nær (adv.): near, almost; when

notes

[1, 2, 3, 4] fyr sunnan Heiðabý; nær Skotborgarô ‘south of Hedeby (Heiðabýr)’; ‘near the Kongeå (Skotborgará)’: Arnórr also commemorates Magnús’s defeat of the Wends við skíra Skotborgar ‘by the gleaming Kongeå (Skotborgará)’ (Arn Hryn 13), but the prose sources locate this victory specifically on Lyrskovshede (Hlýrskógsheiðr), west of Hedeby, and neither of these places is near the river Kongeå (Skotborgará). (a) Bjarni Aðalbjarnason favours assuming two battles with a northwards pursuit in between (ÍF 28, 42 n. 1), but the st. seems to report a single battle, at least if the helmingar belong together, and there is no clear evidence of a second battle. (b) This leaves an uncomfortable choice between awkward geography and awkward language, and the solution adopted here has the disadvantage that it places the action both near the river and south of Hedeby, although the river lies well north of Hedeby. The compiler of H-Hr seems to have understood the st. this way, and believes that the river is south of Hedeby (see Context). (c) It is presumably for this geographical reason that some scholars construe these phrases the other way round: fyr sunnan ... Skotborgar ‘south of the river Kongeå’ and Heiðabý ... nær ‘near Hedeby’ (SHI 6, 58 and Skj B; Fms 12, 132 favours this but the punctuation in Fms 6, 64 does not match). However, this assumes an extremely complicated cl. arrangement in which an audience hearing Heiðabý mid-l. and following fyr sunnan ‘south of’ would have to realise that it belonged in an entirely different cl. (cf. NN §849 for Kock’s spirited objection to this), and this interpretation only slightly improves the geographical logic, since Hedeby and the river are still a long way apart.

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frák ‘I learned’

1. fregna (verb): hear of

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skarpa ‘of a bitter’

skarpr (adj.): sharp, bitter

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Skotborgarô ‘the Kongeå (Skotborgará)’

skotborgará (noun f.): Kongeå

notes

[1, 2, 3, 4] fyr sunnan Heiðabý; nær Skotborgarô ‘south of Hedeby (Heiðabýr)’; ‘near the Kongeå (Skotborgará)’: Arnórr also commemorates Magnús’s defeat of the Wends við skíra Skotborgar ‘by the gleaming Kongeå (Skotborgará)’ (Arn Hryn 13), but the prose sources locate this victory specifically on Lyrskovshede (Hlýrskógsheiðr), west of Hedeby, and neither of these places is near the river Kongeå (Skotborgará). (a) Bjarni Aðalbjarnason favours assuming two battles with a northwards pursuit in between (ÍF 28, 42 n. 1), but the st. seems to report a single battle, at least if the helmingar belong together, and there is no clear evidence of a second battle. (b) This leaves an uncomfortable choice between awkward geography and awkward language, and the solution adopted here has the disadvantage that it places the action both near the river and south of Hedeby, although the river lies well north of Hedeby. The compiler of H-Hr seems to have understood the st. this way, and believes that the river is south of Hedeby (see Context). (c) It is presumably for this geographical reason that some scholars construe these phrases the other way round: fyr sunnan ... Skotborgar ‘south of the river Kongeå’ and Heiðabý ... nær ‘near Hedeby’ (SHI 6, 58 and Skj B; Fms 12, 132 favours this but the punctuation in Fms 6, 64 does not match). However, this assumes an extremely complicated cl. arrangement in which an audience hearing Heiðabý mid-l. and following fyr sunnan ‘south of’ would have to realise that it belonged in an entirely different cl. (cf. NN §849 for Kock’s spirited objection to this), and this interpretation only slightly improves the geographical logic, since Hedeby and the river are still a long way apart.

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gotna ‘of men’

gotnar (noun m.): men

[4] gotna: ‘gioruar’ Flat

notes

[4] gotna ‘of men’: This is here taken with skœru ‘conflict’. It would alternatively, as assumed in Fms and Skj B, form a natural phrasal unit with spjalli ‘confidant’, as it does in Arn Hryn 8, and indeed in all instances in LP it is accompanied by a noun or name in the gen. However, spjalli occurs alone in a list of man-heiti (Þul Manna 9/6III), and if taken with gotna in the present context it produces an awkward cl. arrangement and an overloaded phrase, minn snjallr spjalli gotna ‘my valiant confidant of men’.

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ótal ‘countless’

ótal (noun n.): countless

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Ellu ‘of Ella’

Ella (noun m.): Ella, Ælla, Ælle

[6] Ellu: ‘elle’ Flat

kennings

Konr Ellu
‘The descendant of Ella ’
   = Magnús

The descendant of Ella → Magnús

notes

[6] konr Ellu ‘descendant of Ella <legendary king> [= Magnús]’: Ella was a C9th king of Northumbria, and adversary of Ragnarr loðbrók, but unconnected with Magnús Óláfsson, and hence here figures as a generalised, legendary, king; see also ESk Hardr II 3/1 and Note.

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konr ‘The descendant’

konr (noun m.; °-ar): kind, descendant

kennings

Konr Ellu
‘The descendant of Ella ’
   = Magnús

The descendant of Ella → Magnús

notes

[6] konr Ellu ‘descendant of Ella <legendary king> [= Magnús]’: Ella was a C9th king of Northumbria, and adversary of Ragnarr loðbrók, but unconnected with Magnús Óláfsson, and hence here figures as a generalised, legendary, king; see also ESk Hardr II 3/1 and Note.

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fella ‘cutting down’

3. fella (verb): fell, kill

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hvar ‘where’

hvar (adv.): where

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hafi ‘have’

hafa (verb): have

[7] hafi: hafa Flat

notes

[7] hafi ‘might have’: The verb is subj., hence the translation.

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gumnar ‘men’

gumi (noun m.; °-a; gumar/gumnar): man

[7] gumnar: ‘gumnar’ or ‘gunmar’ Hr, gunnar Flat

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gǫrva ‘being made’

1. gera (verb): do, make

notes

[7] gǫrva ‘made’: (a) This is construed as a p. p. of gørva ‘do, make’, f. acc. sg. agreeing with geirhríð, hence ‘spear-storm [BATTLE] (being) made’. The verb is common with terms for ‘battle’: see LP: gørva 1, including st. 8 below. (b) Kock, pointing out the frequency with which adv. gǫrva co-occurs with verbs of saying or hearing, took it instead as the adv., qualifying fregit ‘learned of’ with the sense ‘certainly, reliably’ (NN §3083).

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geir ‘spear’

geirr (noun m.): spear < geirhríð (noun f.)

kennings

meiri geirhríð?
‘a greater spear-storm ’
   = BATTLE

a greater spear-storm → BATTLE
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hríð ‘storm’

hríð (noun f.; °-ar; -ir): time, storm < geirhríð (noun f.)

kennings

meiri geirhríð?
‘a greater spear-storm ’
   = BATTLE

a greater spear-storm → BATTLE
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fregit ‘heard of’

1. fregna (verb): hear of

[8] fregit: framit Flat

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meiri ‘a greater’

meiri (adj. comp.; °meiran; superl. mestr): more, most

kennings

meiri geirhríð?
‘a greater spear-storm ’
   = BATTLE

a greater spear-storm → BATTLE
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Interactive view: tap on words in the text for notes and glosses

Magnús takes on a massive army of heathen Wends at Lyrskovshede (Hlýskógsheiðr); the clash takes place by the Kongeå (Skotborgará), south [sic] of Hedeby (Heiðabýr). In H-Hr but not Flat the two helmingar are separated by the remark that the battle was ferocious, and Magnús killed almost numberless men. The traditions reported there are credited to the Icelander Oddr Gellisson.

The two helmingar, slightly separated in H-Hr (see Context) but joined in Flat, are neither crucially similar or dissimilar, but they both describe the victory against the Wends and are reasonably taken as a single st. — Like st. 5, this is anonymous in Flat.

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