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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Líkn 27VII

George S. Tate (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Líknarbraut 27’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 257-8.

Anonymous PoemsLíknarbraut

Kross mun á þingi þessu
þjóðum sýndr með blóði
— uggs fyllaz þá allir
aumir menn — ok saumi.
Líta seggja sveitir,
svipur ok spjót á móti
sér ok sjá með dreyra
sjálfs Krists viðir Mistar.

Á þessu þingi mun kross sýndr þjóðum með blóði ok saumi; allir aumir menn fyllaz þá uggs. Sveitir seggja líta ok {viðir Mistar} sjá á móti sér svipur ok spjót með dreyra Krists sjálfs.

At this assembly the Cross will be shown to the people [lit. pl.] with blood and nails; all wretched men will be filled then with terror. Hosts of men look, and {the trees of Mist <valkyrie>} [WARRIORS] see before them the whips and spear with the blood of Christ himself.

Mss: B(11v), 399a-bˣ

Readings: [2] með: so 399a‑bˣ, ‘[...]’ B    [5] sveitir: so 399a‑bˣ, ‘sue[...]’ B    [7] ok: so 399a‑bˣ, ‘[...]’ B

Editions: Skj AII, 155, Skj BII, 167, Skald II, 88, NN §§1392, 2710A, cf. 3040; Sveinbjörn Egilsson 1844, 43, Rydberg 1907, 15-16, 50, Tate 1974, 72.

Notes: [All]: The appearance of the Cross in the heavens (often with other instruments of the Passion) at the Last Judgement is an iconographic and liturgical commonplace. The response Hoc signum crucis erit in coelo cum Dominus ad judicandum venerit; tunc manifesta abscondita cordis nostri ‘This sign of the cross will be in the heaven when the Lord comes to render judgement; then will be manifest the hidden things of our heart’ recurs in the Feast of the Invention of the Cross (3 May) and in the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross (14 September) (See Ordo Nidr., 339, 394, 414). The appearance of the blood-covered Cross is part of the chilling imagery of the Judgement in Has 32-3, in which the terror is so great that even the angels quake with fear and dread (ugg ok hræzlu 32/8) – a detail occurring also in the Icel. homily on All Saints (HómÍsl 1993, 21v; HómÍsl 1872, 45) and in the late medieval Rósa 124/2 (ÍM I.2, 33). The appearance of the Cross at Judgement is likewise mentioned in Píslardrápa 31/4 (ÍM I.2, 62) and Milska 67 (ÍM I.2, 53), the latter with other instruments of the Passion. These instruments, the arma Christi, are also depicted in the Islensk tegnebog (Fett 1910, pl. 4). — [4] saumi ‘nails’: See Note to 32/1, 4. — [5-7] líta ... ok sjá ‘look ... and see’: Cf. Icel. homily (above), with reference to the Last Judgement, where God’s enemies will be required at siá oc at líta ‘to see and look’ toward the Lord. — [5] sveitir ‘hosts’: Restoration of <itir> based upon 399a-bˣ; <t> confirmed by skothending. — [6-7] á móti sér ‘before them’: Skj B takes á móti to mean ‘at the assembly’ and sjá sér as ‘become fearful’ (cf. LP on this passage, the usage otherwise unattested). NN §1392 rightly objects to this, but construes með ‘with’ as också ‘as well’ (i.e. ‘blood as well as whips and spear’). Surely, however, með dreyra ‘with blood’ describes the condition of svipur ok spjót ‘whips and spear’. — [8] viðir Mistar ‘the trees of Mist <valkyrie> [WARRIORS]’: Mist is a valkyrie named in Grm (NK 64; SnE 1982, 30) and Þul Ásynja 4III and Valkyrja 1III. This is the only occurrence of a mythological name in Líkn. Rhymed with Krists, and in the context of judgement, it may suggest the juxtaposition of pagan and Christian realms.


  1. Bibliography
  2. Skj B = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1912-15b. Den norsk-islandske skjaldedigtning. B: Rettet tekst. 2 vols. Copenhagen: Villadsen & Christensen. Rpt. 1973. Copenhagen: Rosenkilde & Bagger.
  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. Rydberg, Hugo, ed. 1907. ‘Die geistlichen Drápur und Dróttkvættfragmente des Cod. AM 757 4to.’. Ph.D. thesis. University of Lund. Copenhagen: Møller.
  7. Tate, George S. 1974. ‘Líknarbraut: A Skaldic Drápa on the Cross’. Ph.D. thesis. Cornell University. DAI 35:6112A.
  8. Fett, Harry, ed. 1910. En islandsk Tegnebog fra Middelalderen. Videnskabs-Selskabets skrifter II. Hist.-filos. kl. 2. Kristiania (Oslo): Dybwad.
  9. NK = Neckel, Gustav and Hans Kuhn (1899), eds. 1983. Edda: Die Lieder des Codex Regius nebst verwandten Denkmälern. 2 vols. I: Text. 5th edn. Heidelberg: Winter.
  10. HómÍsl 1872 = Wisén, Theodor, ed. 1872. Homiliu-bók: Isländska homilier efter en handskrift från tolfte århundredet. Lund: Gleerup.
  11. HómÍsl 1993 = de Leeuw van Weenen, Andrea, ed. 1993. The Icelandic Homily Book: Perg. 15 4° in the Royal Library, Stockholm. Íslensk handrit/Icelandic Manuscripts Series in quarto 3. Reykjavík: Stofnun Árna Magnússonar á Íslandi.
  12. ÍM = Jón Helgason, ed. 1936-8. Íslenzk miðaldarkvæði: Islandske digte fra senmiddelalderen. 2 vols. Copenhagen: Munksgaard.
  13. SnE 1982 = Snorri Sturluson. 1982. Edda: Prologue and Gylfaginning. Ed. Anthony Faulkes. Oxford: Clarendon. Rpt. 1988. University College London: Viking Society for Northern Research.
  14. Sveinbjörn Egilsson, ed. 1844. Fjøgur gømul kvæði. Boðsrit til að hlusta á þá opinberu yfirheyrslu í Bessastaða Skóla þann 22-29 mai 1844. Viðeyar Klaustri: prentuð af Helga Helgasyni, á kostnað Bessastaða Skóla. Bessastaðir: Helgi Helgason.
  15. Internal references
  16. George S. Tate 2007, ‘(Introduction to) Anonymous, Líknarbraut’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 228-86.
  17. Elena Gurevich (ed.) 2017, ‘Anonymous Þulur, Heiti valkyrja 1’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 969.
  18. Elena Gurevich (ed.) 2017, ‘Anonymous Þulur, Ásynja heiti 4’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 770.
  19. Katrina Attwood (ed.) 2007, ‘Gamli kanóki, Harmsól 32’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 100-1.

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