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skaldic

Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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ÞjóðA Lv 5II

Diana Whaley (ed.) 2009, ‘Þjóðólfr Arnórsson, Lausavísur 5’ 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. 169-71.

Þjóðólfr ArnórssonLausavísur
456

þrætu ‘quarrel’

1. þræta (noun f.; °-u; -ur): quarrel

[1] þrætu: om. H

kennings

þorpi þrætu
‘quarrel hamlet ’
   = MOUTH

quarrel hamlet → MOUTH
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þorpi ‘hamlet’

þorp (noun n.; °-s; -): village

kennings

þorpi þrætu
‘quarrel hamlet ’
   = MOUTH

quarrel hamlet → MOUTH
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Þórr ‘The Þórr’

Þórr (noun m.): Thor; giant, ogre, monster

kennings

Þórr stórra smiðbelgja
‘The Þórr of huge forge-bellows ’
   = SMITH

The Þórr of huge forge-bellows → SMITH
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smið ‘forge’

smiðr (noun m.; °-s, dat. -i/-; -ar/-ir, acc. -a/-i/-u): smithy, something crafted < smiðbelgr (noun m.)

kennings

Þórr stórra smiðbelgja
‘The Þórr of huge forge-bellows ’
   = SMITH

The Þórr of huge forge-bellows → SMITH
Close

belgja ‘bellows’

belgr (noun m.; °dat. -/-i; -ir, dat. -jum): skin, leather bag, bellows < smiðbelgr (noun m.)

[2] ‑belgja stórra: ‑belgjum stórum Hr

kennings

Þórr stórra smiðbelgja
‘The Þórr of huge forge-bellows ’
   = SMITH

The Þórr of huge forge-bellows → SMITH
Close

stórra ‘of huge’

stórr (adj.): large, great

[2] ‑belgja stórra: ‑belgjum stórum Hr

kennings

Þórr stórra smiðbelgja
‘The Þórr of huge forge-bellows ’
   = SMITH

The Þórr of huge forge-bellows → SMITH
Close

hvapt ‘jaw’

hváptr (noun m.; °-s, dat. -i; -ar): mouth, jaw < hváptelding (noun f.)

[3] hvapt‑: hvatt Mork, H, Hr, ‘huafft’ Flat, hross 593b

kennings

hvapteldingum
‘jaw-lightnings ’
   = INSULTS

jaw-lightnings → INSULTS

notes

[3] hvapt- ‘jaw-’: This is based on the Flat spelling ‘huaftt’, and with eldingum ‘lightnings’ it forms a witty kenning for speech, or specifically insults, and this is the solution preferred in most edns (Skj B with slight emendation to gen. sg. hvápts). The majority reading hvatt ‘keen(ly), swift(ly)’, and 593b’s hross ‘horse, mare’ do not fit the context.

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eldingum ‘lightnings’

elding (noun f.; °-ar, dat. -u/-; -ar): lightning < hváptelding (noun f.)

[3] ‑eldingum: ‘elldligum’ Hr

kennings

hvapteldingum
‘jaw-lightnings ’
   = INSULTS

jaw-lightnings → INSULTS
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hǫldnum ‘the proud’

halda (verb): hold, keep

[3] hǫldnum: ‘holdvm’ 593b

kennings

hǫldnum jǫtni kjǫts hafra.
‘the proud giant of goats’ flesh. ’
   = TANNER

the proud giant of goats’ flesh. → TANNER

notes

[3] hǫldnum ‘proud’: (a) The adjectival p. p. could be m. dat. sg. qualifying jǫtni ‘giant’, as assumed here and, e.g., in Skj B and Andersson and Gade 2000, 244. (b) Alternatively, it could be m. dat. pl. qualifying hvapteldingum ‘jaw-lightnings’. In this case it could have a literal sense, ‘held’, alluding to the myth in which Þórr grabs the lumps of molten metal that the giant flings at him (see Note to [All] above) or else a figurative sense ‘(insults to be) stored up’ (LP: halda B. 5) or ‘controlled, over which he had power’ (Turville-Petre 1976, 101, citing Kock and Meissner 1931, II, 64). ÍF 9 construes hǫldnum thus but does not translate it.

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hafra ‘of goats’’

hafr (noun m.; °hafrs/-s(SnEU 56¹⁹), dat. hafri; hafrar): goat

kennings

hǫldnum jǫtni kjǫts hafra.
‘the proud giant of goats’ flesh. ’
   = TANNER

the proud giant of goats’ flesh. → TANNER
Close

kjǫts ‘flesh’

kjǫt (noun n.; °-s, dat. kjǫti/kjǫtvi; -): [flesh, for meat]

kennings

hǫldnum jǫtni kjǫts hafra.
‘the proud giant of goats’ flesh. ’
   = TANNER

the proud giant of goats’ flesh. → TANNER
Close

jǫtni ‘giant’

jǫtunn (noun m.; °jǫtuns, dat. jǫtni; jǫtnar): giant

kennings

hǫldnum jǫtni kjǫts hafra.
‘the proud giant of goats’ flesh. ’
   = TANNER

the proud giant of goats’ flesh. → TANNER
Close

Hljóð ‘with his sound’

hljóð (noun n.; °-s; -): sound, silence, a hearing < hljóðgreip (noun f.): sound-grabber

[5] Hljóðgreipum: ‘hliodsgnipvm’ 593b

kennings

hljóðgreipum
‘with his sound-grabbers ’
   = EARS

with his sound-grabbers → EARS
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greipum ‘grabbers’

greip (noun f.; °; -r, -ar): hand, talon < hljóðgreip (noun f.): sound-grabber

[5] Hljóðgreipum: ‘hliodsgnipvm’ 593b

kennings

hljóðgreipum
‘with his sound-grabbers ’
   = EARS

with his sound-grabbers → EARS
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tók ‘took in’

2. taka (verb): take

[5] tók: greip Hr

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húða ‘of hides’

húð (noun f.; °-ar; -ir): hide

[5] húða: húðar Flat, 593b

kennings

Glaðr Geirrøðr hrøkkviskafls húða
‘The cheerful Geirrøðr of the curving scraper of hides ’
   = TANNER

The cheerful Geirrøðr of the curving scraper of hides → TANNER
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hrøkkvi ‘of the curving’

1. hrøkkva (verb): coil < hrøkkviskafl (noun m.)

[6] hrøkkvi‑: ‘hrauki’ Flat

kennings

Glaðr Geirrøðr hrøkkviskafls húða
‘The cheerful Geirrøðr of the curving scraper of hides ’
   = TANNER

The cheerful Geirrøðr of the curving scraper of hides → TANNER

notes

[6] hrøkkviskafls ‘of the curving scraper’: Another time-honoured editorial solution. Skafl m. normally means ‘(snow-)drift’ or ‘high wave or sea’, yet the symmetry of the st. seems to demand a term which will combine with húða ‘of skins’ to produce some attribute of the tanner which will be determinant to a kenning for ‘tanner’ with the giant-name Geirrøðr as base-word, and the translation ‘scraper’, highlighting a major aspect of the tanner’s craft, seems justified on the basis of skafa f. ‘scraper’ and the verb skafa ‘scrape’ as well as skaf(-dreki) ‘scraping dragon’ in Lv 6/3.

Close

skafls ‘ scraper’

skafl (noun m.; °-s, dat. -i; -ar): snow-drift < hrøkkviskafl (noun m.)

[6] ‑skafls: ‘skalfs’ H, ‘kafls’ Flat

kennings

Glaðr Geirrøðr hrøkkviskafls húða
‘The cheerful Geirrøðr of the curving scraper of hides ’
   = TANNER

The cheerful Geirrøðr of the curving scraper of hides → TANNER

notes

[6] hrøkkviskafls ‘of the curving scraper’: Another time-honoured editorial solution. Skafl m. normally means ‘(snow-)drift’ or ‘high wave or sea’, yet the symmetry of the st. seems to demand a term which will combine with húða ‘of skins’ to produce some attribute of the tanner which will be determinant to a kenning for ‘tanner’ with the giant-name Geirrøðr as base-word, and the translation ‘scraper’, highlighting a major aspect of the tanner’s craft, seems justified on the basis of skafa f. ‘scraper’ and the verb skafa ‘scrape’ as well as skaf(-dreki) ‘scraping dragon’ in Lv 6/3.

Close

af ‘’

af (prep.): from

[6] af: so Flat, ór Mork, H, Hr, at 593b

notes

[6] af afli ‘powerfully’: Afl n. ‘strength’ and afl m. ‘forge’ are both possible here, and doubtless a pun is intended, but the primary reading may be Flat’s af afli (cf. at afli in 593b) as assumed here, since it is not clear how ór afli ‘from the forge’ in Mork, H and Hr would fit. This reading is adopted ÍF 9, though without being translated. Finnur Jónsson, acknowledging Björn Magnússon Ólsen, adopted it in the additions and corrections (Tillæg og rettelser) to Skj BI (683), taking ór afli galdra smiðju together, hence presumably ‘out of the forge of the smithy of spells’; this Kock describes as nonsense (huller-om-buller-fantasi, NN §1140).

Close

afli ‘powerfully’

2. afl (noun n.; °-s; *-): strength

notes

[6] af afli ‘powerfully’: Afl n. ‘strength’ and afl m. ‘forge’ are both possible here, and doubtless a pun is intended, but the primary reading may be Flat’s af afli (cf. at afli in 593b) as assumed here, since it is not clear how ór afli ‘from the forge’ in Mork, H and Hr would fit. This reading is adopted ÍF 9, though without being translated. Finnur Jónsson, acknowledging Björn Magnússon Ólsen, adopted it in the additions and corrections (Tillæg og rettelser) to Skj BI (683), taking ór afli galdra smiðju together, hence presumably ‘out of the forge of the smithy of spells’; this Kock describes as nonsense (huller-om-buller-fantasi, NN §1140).

Close

glaðr ‘The cheerful’

2. glaðr (adj.; °compar. -ari, superl. -astr): cheerful, glad

kennings

Glaðr Geirrøðr hrøkkviskafls húða
‘The cheerful Geirrøðr of the curving scraper of hides ’
   = TANNER

The cheerful Geirrøðr of the curving scraper of hides → TANNER
Close

við ‘’

2. við (prep.): with, against

[7] við: í Hr

Close

galdra ‘of spells’

galdr (noun m.): chant, incantation

kennings

þeiri síu smiðju galdra
‘that molten substance of the smithy of spells, ’
   = INSULTS

the smithy of spells, → MOUTH
that molten substance of the MOUTH → INSULTS
Close

galdra ‘of spells’

galdr (noun m.): chant, incantation

kennings

þeiri síu smiðju galdra
‘that molten substance of the smithy of spells, ’
   = INSULTS

the smithy of spells, → MOUTH
that molten substance of the MOUTH → INSULTS
Close

smiðju ‘of the smithy’

smiðja (noun f.; °-u; -ur): [smithy]

[7] smiðju: smíði 593b

kennings

þeiri síu smiðju galdra
‘that molten substance of the smithy of spells, ’
   = INSULTS

the smithy of spells, → MOUTH
that molten substance of the MOUTH → INSULTS
Close

smiðju ‘of the smithy’

smiðja (noun f.; °-u; -ur): [smithy]

[7] smiðju: smíði 593b

kennings

þeiri síu smiðju galdra
‘that molten substance of the smithy of spells, ’
   = INSULTS

the smithy of spells, → MOUTH
that molten substance of the MOUTH → INSULTS
Close

Geirrøðr ‘Geirrøðr’

Geirrøðr (noun m.): Geirrøðr

kennings

Glaðr Geirrøðr hrøkkviskafls húða
‘The cheerful Geirrøðr of the curving scraper of hides ’
   = TANNER

The cheerful Geirrøðr of the curving scraper of hides → TANNER
Close

síu ‘molten substance’

2. sía (noun f.; °-u; -ur): spark, molten substance

[8] síu: so H, Hr, 593b, ‘siǫ’ Mork, sinn Flat

kennings

þeiri síu smiðju galdra
‘that molten substance of the smithy of spells, ’
   = INSULTS

the smithy of spells, → MOUTH
that molten substance of the MOUTH → INSULTS
Close

þeiri ‘that’

1. sá (pron.; °gen. þess, dat. þeim, acc. þann; f. sú, gen. þeirrar, acc. þá; n. þat, dat. því; pl. m. þeir, f. þǽ---): that (one), those

[8] þeiri: ‘þ[...]e’ H, ‘þeirre’ or ‘þeirra’ 593b

kennings

þeiri síu smiðju galdra
‘that molten substance of the smithy of spells, ’
   = INSULTS

the smithy of spells, → MOUTH
that molten substance of the MOUTH → INSULTS
Close

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

In a ch. about King Haraldr’s dealings with Sneglu-Halli (SnH) and other skalds, the story relates how Þjóðólfr, walking along the street with the king, overhears a row between a tanner (or cobbler, sútari in Flat) and a blacksmith. Þjóðólfr is at first affronted by the king’s demand that he compose about this, but when the king adds that to make the task more challenging he should present the antagonists as the giant Geirrøðr and the god Þórr, he recites this st.; the king is duly impressed by it and immediately commissions Lv 6. (The two sts are in reverse order in Flat and 593b.)

If the st. was truly extemporized, its royal patron was right to be impressed. The complex and innovative imagery creates parallels and oppositions between the quarrelling tanner and smith, while casting them as the antagonists in the mythical story of the god Þórr’s encounter with the giant Geirrøðr. The smith figures, appropriately, as Þórr, who in the Geirrøðr story lacks his famous hammer but has a pair of iron gloves. The story is told, cryptically, in Eilífr Goðrúnarson’s Þórsdrápa (Eil ÞdrIII), which is preserved, with prose paraphrase, in SnE (1998, I, 24-30). At its centre, Geirrøðr (supposedly in sport) throws a lump of molten iron at Þórr, who throws it back at, and through, the giant, and this is transformed into a metaphor for speech in Þjóðólfr’s skit. There is a good deal of vocabulary in common between Þjóðólfr’s Lv 5-6 and Þdr, e.g. tangar ‘tongs’ (Þdr 16/6III, with slight emendation, and Lv 6/8), afli ‘strength/forge’ (Þdr 16/7III and Lv 5/6), síu ‘molten substance’ (Þdr 18/4III and Lv 6/8) and greip ‘grabber’ (Þdr 17/8III and Lv 5/5); Greip is also the name of one of Geirrøðr’s daughters.

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