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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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ÞjóðA Sex 14II

Diana Whaley (ed.) 2009, ‘Þjóðólfr Arnórsson, Sexstefja 14’ 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. 126-7.

Þjóðólfr ArnórssonSexstefja
131415

frið ‘The peace’

friðr (noun m.): peace < friðvandr (adj.)

[2] frið‑: ferð E

notes

[2] friðvandr ‘peace-concerned’: This assumes that vandr has the sense ‘particular about, careful, cultivating’, as in numerous compounds, but the cpd is in fact nicely ambiguous, with ‘difficult’ as another possibility (see LP).

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vandr ‘concerned’

vandr (adj.): difficult < friðvandr (adj.)

notes

[2] friðvandr ‘peace-concerned’: This assumes that vandr has the sense ‘particular about, careful, cultivating’, as in numerous compounds, but the cpd is in fact nicely ambiguous, with ‘difficult’ as another possibility (see LP).

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standa ‘to stand’

standa (verb): stand

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hamalt ‘in a wedge-shape’

hamall (adj.): wedge-shaped

notes

[3] hamalt ‘in a wedge-shape’: This, the n. of hamall, of uncertain origin, almost always occurs adverbially with fylkja ‘line up troops’ (e.g. ÞjóðA Run 1 and Note; Notes to Gísl Magnkv 10/6 and Mark Eirdr 15/3; LP; Fritzner). In the present context of a sea-battle it is slightly problematic. (a) It is assumed here that the two couplets of the helmingr form self-contained clauses, and hence that it is the disposition of shields along the ship’s two gunwales that forms a wedge shape, as explained in LP: hamalt. The image may alternatively be of shields touching at the edges, forming a secure wall (as assumed in Hkr 1991). (b) To take hamalt with standa ‘stand’ (l. 2), predicated of the troop in l. 1, would seem attractive, although standa is already qualified by fast ‘firm’ (l. 1). Finnur Jónsson in Hkr 1893-1901 and Skj B, perhaps in order to link hamalt with standa, chose the minority pl. reading sýndusk ‘they seemed’ in l. 3 and assumed a difficult cl. arrangement in which listeners would have to resist taking bað ‘ordered’ (l. 1) with the first inf. standa ‘stand’ and take it instead with the second inf. skilda ‘to set shields’ (l. 4), but his entry on hamall in LP suggests a change of mind (and see Kock’s response to the Skj B version in NN §858).

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sýndisk ‘witnessed’

sýna (verb): show, seem

[3] sýndisk: sýndusk F, H

notes

[3] sýndisk mér ‘I witnessed [lit. it appeared to me that]’: This is the majority reading, which yields an impersonal construction (so also ÍF 28 and Hkr 1991). The F reading, pl. sýndusk ‘they seemed’, would have vinir hildings ‘the friends of the commander’ (l. 4) as its subject (so Finnur Jónsson, as noted above).

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mér ‘I’

ek (pron.; °mín, dat. mér, acc. mik): I, me

notes

[3] sýndisk mér ‘I witnessed [lit. it appeared to me that]’: This is the majority reading, which yields an impersonal construction (so also ÍF 28 and Hkr 1991). The F reading, pl. sýndusk ‘they seemed’, would have vinir hildings ‘the friends of the commander’ (l. 4) as its subject (so Finnur Jónsson, as noted above).

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hǫmlur ‘at the rowing-positions’

1. hamla (noun f.; °*-u; *-ur): rowing position

notes

[3] hǫmlur ‘the rowing-positions’: See Note to Arn Hryn 9/5.

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hildings ‘of the commander’

hildingr (noun m.; °; -ar): king, ruler

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vinir ‘the friends’

vinr (noun m.; °-ar, dat. -/(-i OsvReyk 92.17); -ir): friend

[4] vinir: viðir H, Hr

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skilda ‘shields’

skjǫldr (noun m.; °skjaldar/skildar, dat. skildi; skildir, acc. skjǫldu): shield

[4] skilda: skildar J2ˣ, skjalda H, Hr

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Ramm ‘the strong’

rammr (adj.; °compar. -ari, superl. -astr): mighty < rammsyndr (adj.)

[5] Rammsyndan: ‘rꜹndsyndann’ J2ˣ

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syndan ‘swimming’

syndr (adj.): [swimming] < rammsyndr (adj.)

[5] Rammsyndan: ‘rꜹndsyndann’ J2ˣ

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ráðandi ‘performer’

ráðandi (noun m.; °-a; ráðendr): ruler

kennings

Nýtr ráðandi manndáða
‘The excellent performer of manly deeds ’
   = RULER

The excellent performer of manly deeds → RULER
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manndáða ‘of manly deeds’

manndáð (noun f.)

kennings

Nýtr ráðandi manndáða
‘The excellent performer of manly deeds ’
   = RULER

The excellent performer of manly deeds → RULER
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nýtr ‘The excellent’

nýtr (adj.; °compar. -ri, superl. nýztr/nýtastr): useful, able

kennings

Nýtr ráðandi manndáða
‘The excellent performer of manly deeds ’
   = RULER

The excellent performer of manly deeds → RULER
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Nizi ‘the Nissan’

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naðr ‘serpent’

naðr (noun m.): snake

notes

[8] naðr ‘serpent’: Naðr (cf. Engl. adder) means ‘snake, serpent’, and was used as a poetic synonym for ships named Ormr ‘Serpent’, as well as for the generic word dreki ‘dragon’, hence ‘dragon-ship, warship’ (see LP: naðr). The use of naðr here and in Arn Hardr to refer to a dragon-ship or warship is therefore not unexpected, especially when qualified by rammsyndan ‘powerfully swimming’ (l. 5).

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svát ‘so that’

svát (conj.): so that, so as

[8] svát: so F, E, H, Hr, svá Kˣ, papp18ˣ, J2ˣ

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hver ‘each one’

2. hverr (pron.): who, whom, each, every

[8] hver: hverr H, Hr

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tók ‘abutted’

2. taka (verb): take

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

The st. follows st. 13, with the comment that Haraldr’s ship was excellently equipped and manned. H-Hr adds that the king urged his men to stand firm behind their shields if the battle got under way.

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