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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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ÞjóðA Sex 8II

Diana Whaley (ed.) 2009, ‘Þjóðólfr Arnórsson, Sexstefja 8’ 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, p. 120.

Þjóðólfr ArnórssonSexstefja

Ok hertoga hneykir
herfingnum lét stinga
— leyfð berk hans — ór hǫfði
haugs skundaði augu.

Ok {hneykir hertoga} lét stinga augu ór hǫfði {herfingnum skundaði haugs}; berk leyfð hans.

And {the confounder of war-leaders} [RULER] had the eyes stabbed out of the head of {the war-captured impeller of the mound} [GENEROUS RULER]; I proffer a eulogy of him [Haraldr].

Mss: R(39r), Tˣ(41r), B(7r), 744ˣ(46v), C(8r) (SnE)

Readings: [1] Ok: ‘[...]k’ B, Ok 744ˣ;    ‑toga: ‘‑tug[…]’ B, ‘‑tuge’ 744ˣ;    hneykir: hnykkir B, hnekkir C    [2] her‑: ‘h[…]’ B, harð 744ˣ;    ‑fingnum: ‘fengnum’ R, Tˣ, C, ‘‑feinngium’ B;    lét stinga: ‘l[...]a’ B, lét stinga 744ˣ    [4] haugs: haug B;    skundaði: so Tˣ, skyndaði R, B, C;    augu: ‘a[...]’ B, augu 744ˣ

Editions: Skj AI, 375, Skj BI, 345, Skald I, 173, NN §488; SnE 1848-87, I, 514-15, II, 545, 604, SnE 1931, 180, SnE 1998, I, 100.

Context: Within a discussion in Skm of heiti for rulers, the st. illustrates the point that hertogi ‘army leader’ can designate kings as well as jarls, since they lead armies into battle.

Notes: [All]: The st. seems to refer to the same incident as st. 7. — [2] herfingnum ‘war-captured’: The form -fingnum is secured by the rhyme on stinga. It is dat. sg. of p. p. finginn, a variant on fenginn apparently modelled on pret. pl. fingum (later fengum; ANG §504 and Anm. 5; Finnur Jónsson 1901, 98). — [4] skundaði haugs ‘of the impeller of the mound [GENEROUS RULER]’: Haugs is secured by the rhyme on augu, and evidently forms a kenning with dat. sg. skundaði. Its meaning in this context is elusive but it might stand for treasure, hence designating the referent as a generous distributor of treasure. Haugr often refers to burial mounds, potentially containing valuable grave-goods (the mound of the legendary king Hǫlgi alternated gold and silver layers with earth ones, SnE 1998, I, 60). Skundaðr, though unique (to judge from LP), clearly derives from skunda ‘hasten, impel’, and must be synonymous with skyndir, which forms kennings with terms for treasure such as GSúrs Lv 16/5V baugskyndir and Þmáhl Máv 11/5V menskyndir, both with variants. Kock (Skald; NN §488), following an unidentified ‘older edition’ (äldre upplaga), preferred to assume an imperfect aðalhending, and to read hauks (skundaði), presumably referring to an aristocrat as one who flies falcons or hawks. (Sveinbjörn Egilsson read haugs but translated accipitris ‘hawk’s’ in SnE 1848-87, I, 514-15). The identity of the referent of the kenning is a matter of speculation, but the simplest assumption is that this is the blinding of the same victim as in st. 7 (see Note to st. 7/1).


  1. Bibliography
  2. SnE 1848-87 = Snorri Sturluson. 1848-87. Edda Snorra Sturlusonar: Edda Snorronis Sturlaei. Ed. Jón Sigurðsson et al. 3 vols. Copenhagen: Legatum Arnamagnaeanum. Rpt. Osnabrück: Zeller, 1966.
  3. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  4. NN = Kock, Ernst Albin. 1923-44. Notationes Norrœnæ: Anteckningar till Edda och skaldediktning. Lunds Universitets årsskrift new ser. 1. 28 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  5. LP = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1931. Lexicon poeticum antiquæ linguæ septentrionalis: Ordbog over det norsk-islandske skjaldesprog oprindelig forfattet af Sveinbjörn Egilsson. 2nd edn. Copenhagen: Møller.
  6. ANG = Noreen, Adolf. 1923. Altnordische Grammatik I: Altisländische und altnorwegische Grammatik (Laut- und Flexionslehre) unter Berücksichtigung des Urnordischen. 4th edn. Halle: Niemeyer. 1st edn. 1884. 5th unrev. edn. 1970. Tübingen: Niemeyer.
  7. Finnur Jónsson. 1901. Det norsk-islandske skjaldesprog omtr. 800-1300. SUGNL 28. Copenhagen: Møller.
  8. SnE 1931 = Snorri Sturluson. 1931. Edda Snorra Sturlusonar. Ed. Finnur Jónsson. Copenhagen: Gyldendal.
  9. SnE 1998 = Snorri Sturluson. 1998. Edda: Skáldskaparmál. Ed. Anthony Faulkes. 2 vols. University College London: Viking Society for Northern Research.
  10. Internal references
  11. Not published: do not cite (SkmIII)
  12. Not published: do not cite (GSúrs Lv 16V (Gísl 19))
  13. Not published: do not cite (Þmáhl Máv 11V (Eb 13))

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