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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Ásb Ævkv 5VIII (OStór 8)

Peter Jorgensen (ed.) 2017, ‘Orms þáttr Stórólfssonar 8 (Ásbjǫrn, Ævikviða 5)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 612.

ÁsbjǫrnÆvikviða
456

sveittri ‘to the bloody’

sveittr (adj.)

[2] sveittri: ‘suittri’ 2845

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með ‘with’

með (prep.): with

notes

[3-4] með hvassri tuggu Herjans ‘with the sharp mouthful of Herjan <= Fenrir(?)> [SWORD]’: What makes this kenning problematical is the use of Herjan, normally a name for the god Óðinn (cf. LP: Herjan(n)), within a kenning whose other elements suggest a reference to the wolf Fenrir, and the myth, recounted in Gylf (SnE 2005, 27-9), of how the gods wedged a sword between Fenrir’s open jaws when they were binding him. It seems that the poet either thought Herjan was an alternative name for Fenrir or had forgotten the myth to which sword-kennings of the type ‘mouthful, mouth-prop of the wolf’ conventionally refer. Cf. Meissner 150, who suggests hergarmr, ‘war-Garmr <monstrous dog>’. Kock (NN §2495B) understands the kenning to mean ‘Óðinn’s biter’, i.e. ‘Óðinn’s sword’.

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hvassri ‘the sharp’

hvass (adj.; °-an; -ari, -astr): keen, sharp

kennings

hvassri tuggu Herjans
‘the sharp mouthful of Herjan ’
   = SWORD

the sharp mouthful of Herjan → SWORD

notes

[3-4] með hvassri tuggu Herjans ‘with the sharp mouthful of Herjan <= Fenrir(?)> [SWORD]’: What makes this kenning problematical is the use of Herjan, normally a name for the god Óðinn (cf. LP: Herjan(n)), within a kenning whose other elements suggest a reference to the wolf Fenrir, and the myth, recounted in Gylf (SnE 2005, 27-9), of how the gods wedged a sword between Fenrir’s open jaws when they were binding him. It seems that the poet either thought Herjan was an alternative name for Fenrir or had forgotten the myth to which sword-kennings of the type ‘mouthful, mouth-prop of the wolf’ conventionally refer. Cf. Meissner 150, who suggests hergarmr, ‘war-Garmr <monstrous dog>’. Kock (NN §2495B) understands the kenning to mean ‘Óðinn’s biter’, i.e. ‘Óðinn’s sword’.

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tuggu ‘mouthful’

tugga (noun f.; °-u): [mouthful]

kennings

hvassri tuggu Herjans
‘the sharp mouthful of Herjan ’
   = SWORD

the sharp mouthful of Herjan → SWORD

notes

[3-4] með hvassri tuggu Herjans ‘with the sharp mouthful of Herjan <= Fenrir(?)> [SWORD]’: What makes this kenning problematical is the use of Herjan, normally a name for the god Óðinn (cf. LP: Herjan(n)), within a kenning whose other elements suggest a reference to the wolf Fenrir, and the myth, recounted in Gylf (SnE 2005, 27-9), of how the gods wedged a sword between Fenrir’s open jaws when they were binding him. It seems that the poet either thought Herjan was an alternative name for Fenrir or had forgotten the myth to which sword-kennings of the type ‘mouthful, mouth-prop of the wolf’ conventionally refer. Cf. Meissner 150, who suggests hergarmr, ‘war-Garmr <monstrous dog>’. Kock (NN §2495B) understands the kenning to mean ‘Óðinn’s biter’, i.e. ‘Óðinn’s sword’.

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Herjans ‘of Herjan’

1. herjan (noun m.): herjan

kennings

hvassri tuggu Herjans
‘the sharp mouthful of Herjan ’
   = SWORD

the sharp mouthful of Herjan → SWORD

notes

[3-4] með hvassri tuggu Herjans ‘with the sharp mouthful of Herjan <= Fenrir(?)> [SWORD]’: What makes this kenning problematical is the use of Herjan, normally a name for the god Óðinn (cf. LP: Herjan(n)), within a kenning whose other elements suggest a reference to the wolf Fenrir, and the myth, recounted in Gylf (SnE 2005, 27-9), of how the gods wedged a sword between Fenrir’s open jaws when they were binding him. It seems that the poet either thought Herjan was an alternative name for Fenrir or had forgotten the myth to which sword-kennings of the type ‘mouthful, mouth-prop of the wolf’ conventionally refer. Cf. Meissner 150, who suggests hergarmr, ‘war-Garmr <monstrous dog>’. Kock (NN §2495B) understands the kenning to mean ‘Óðinn’s biter’, i.e. ‘Óðinn’s sword’.

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í ‘among’

í (prep.): in, into

notes

[4-5] í skerjum Elfar ‘among the skerries of the Götaälv’: Although its two parts are separated across the end of the first helmingr and the beginning of the second helmingr for metrical reasons, í skerjum Elfar is to be understood as the cpd p. n. Elfarsker, name of a group of skerries at the mouth of the Göta river in present-day Sweden. Separation of cpd elements across helmingr boundaries is otherwise always avoided in skaldic poetry. The name Elfarsker occurs in several mythical-heroic sagas, including three times in Ǫrv, once in verse (ǪrvOdd Lv 16/2 (Ǫrv 49), FSGJ 2, 348). Kock (NN §2495) proposes elfar as the object of the verb forma ‘create, bring about, do’ in the sense ‘create rivers (of blood)’. 

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skerjum ‘the skerries’

sker (noun n.; °-s; -, gen. -ja): skerry

notes

[4-5] í skerjum Elfar ‘among the skerries of the Götaälv’: Although its two parts are separated across the end of the first helmingr and the beginning of the second helmingr for metrical reasons, í skerjum Elfar is to be understood as the cpd p. n. Elfarsker, name of a group of skerries at the mouth of the Göta river in present-day Sweden. Separation of cpd elements across helmingr boundaries is otherwise always avoided in skaldic poetry. The name Elfarsker occurs in several mythical-heroic sagas, including three times in Ǫrv, once in verse (ǪrvOdd Lv 16/2 (Ǫrv 49), FSGJ 2, 348). Kock (NN §2495) proposes elfar as the object of the verb forma ‘create, bring about, do’ in the sense ‘create rivers (of blood)’. 

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Elfar ‘of the Götaälv’

elfr (noun f.): river

[5] Elfar: ‘ejder’ 554h βˣ

notes

[4-5] í skerjum Elfar ‘among the skerries of the Götaälv’: Although its two parts are separated across the end of the first helmingr and the beginning of the second helmingr for metrical reasons, í skerjum Elfar is to be understood as the cpd p. n. Elfarsker, name of a group of skerries at the mouth of the Göta river in present-day Sweden. Separation of cpd elements across helmingr boundaries is otherwise always avoided in skaldic poetry. The name Elfarsker occurs in several mythical-heroic sagas, including three times in Ǫrv, once in verse (ǪrvOdd Lv 16/2 (Ǫrv 49), FSGJ 2, 348). Kock (NN §2495) proposes elfar as the object of the verb forma ‘create, bring about, do’ in the sense ‘create rivers (of blood)’. 

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Opt ‘often’

opt (adv.): often

[5] Opt nam kólfi (‘kolfui’): opt nam bölvi 2845, ‘hier allkýntur’ 554h βˣ

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nam ‘’

1. nema (verb): to take

[5] Opt nam kólfi (‘kolfui’): opt nam bölvi 2845, ‘hier allkýntur’ 554h βˣ

notes

[6] nam … forma ‘aimed’: Forma (a variant of formera, with the same sense) is a late loan into Old Norse, ultimately from Lat. formare (cf. AEW: forma, formera), found mostly in ecclesiastical contexts (cf. ONP: forma). The verb’s usual meaning is ‘form, fashion’, so the sense here is unusual, and Finnur Jónsson translates it as skød ‘shot’ with a question mark in Skj B.

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kólfi ‘with the arrow’

kolfr (noun m.; °dat. -i; -ar): °slank stang eller stamme; bolt, fodlænke; knebel, klokkehammer; pil med stumpt hoved (til bue eller armbrøst)

[5] Opt nam kólfi (‘kolfui’): opt nam bölvi 2845, ‘hier allkýntur’ 554h βˣ

notes

[5] kólfi ‘with the arrow’: This noun has several meanings, including ‘club’, ‘tongue of a bell’, ‘pole’ and ‘arrow with a blunt head’ (cf. ONP: kólfr).

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hagliga ‘skilfully’

hagliga (adv.): easily, comfortably

[6] hagliga: makliga 554h βˣ

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forma ‘aimed’

forma (verb): [Perform, forming]

[6] forma: forðum 554h βˣ

notes

[6] nam … forma ‘aimed’: Forma (a variant of formera, with the same sense) is a late loan into Old Norse, ultimately from Lat. formare (cf. AEW: forma, formera), found mostly in ecclesiastical contexts (cf. ONP: forma). The verb’s usual meaning is ‘form, fashion’, so the sense here is unusual, and Finnur Jónsson translates it as skød ‘shot’ with a question mark in Skj B.

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mest ‘mostly’

meirr (adv.): more

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Miðjungs ‘of Miðjungr’

Miðjungr (noun m.; °; -ar): Miðjungr, giants

[7] Miðjungs: niðjungs 2845, ‘midand’ 554h βˣ

kennings

traustir mágar Miðjungs
‘the trusted kinsmen of Miðjungr ’
   = GIANTS

the trusted kinsmen of Miðjungr → GIANTS

notes

[7-8] traustir mágar Miðjungs ‘the trusted kinsmen of Miðjungr <giant> [GIANTS]’: Miðjungr is a giant name (cf. Þjóð Haustl 8/8III), although it can also function as the base-word of kennings for ‘men’ where it appears to designate some unspecific supernatural being (cf. LP: miðjungr). Whatever its reference here, the kenning as a whole appears to allude to an episode in Ormr’s career that is no longer known.

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traustir ‘the trusted’

traustr (adj.): trusty

kennings

traustir mágar Miðjungs
‘the trusted kinsmen of Miðjungr ’
   = GIANTS

the trusted kinsmen of Miðjungr → GIANTS

notes

[7-8] traustir mágar Miðjungs ‘the trusted kinsmen of Miðjungr <giant> [GIANTS]’: Miðjungr is a giant name (cf. Þjóð Haustl 8/8III), although it can also function as the base-word of kennings for ‘men’ where it appears to designate some unspecific supernatural being (cf. LP: miðjungr). Whatever its reference here, the kenning as a whole appears to allude to an episode in Ormr’s career that is no longer known.

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mágar ‘kinsmen’

mágr (noun m.; °-s, dat. -i/-; -ar): brother-, father-, or son-in-law

[8] mágar: margar 2845, marga 554h βˣ

kennings

traustir mágar Miðjungs
‘the trusted kinsmen of Miðjungr ’
   = GIANTS

the trusted kinsmen of Miðjungr → GIANTS

notes

[7-8] traustir mágar Miðjungs ‘the trusted kinsmen of Miðjungr <giant> [GIANTS]’: Miðjungr is a giant name (cf. Þjóð Haustl 8/8III), although it can also function as the base-word of kennings for ‘men’ where it appears to designate some unspecific supernatural being (cf. LP: miðjungr). Whatever its reference here, the kenning as a whole appears to allude to an episode in Ormr’s career that is no longer known.

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lágu ‘lying’

liggja (verb): lie

[8] lágu: varga 554h βˣ

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