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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Mey 14VII

Kirsten Wolf (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Heilagra meyja drápa 14’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 900-1.

Anonymous PoemsHeilagra meyja drápa

nafni ‘name’

nafn (noun n.; °-s; *-): name

[1] nafni: ‘[...]fni’ 713


Máría ‘Mary’

María (noun f.): Mary


kölluð ‘called’

kalla (verb): call


kæra ‘woman’

1. kæra (noun f.; °-u; -ur): wife, woman

[3] kæra: kæri 721, 713


égypzk ‘Egyptian’

egipzkr (adj.): [Egyptian]


hörmuliga ‘pitifully’

hǫrmuliga (adv.): [pitifully]


fyldiz ‘happened’

fylla (verb): fill


mart ‘many’

2. margr (adj.; °-an): many

[8] mart: margt 713


er ‘that’

2. er (conj.): who, which, when

[8] það er: so 713, þar 721


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

Like Mary Magdalene, Mary of Egypt, to whom sts 14-16 are dedicated, was a type of the contemplative and the penitent. Like Mary Magdalene also, Mary of Egypt began life as a sinner. She is said to have been a prostitute of Alexandria in C5th AD who was converted to Christianity at the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross on the threshold of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. She then crossed the River Jordan and lived in the desert as a hermit for the rest of her life. Mary of Egypt is named in the majority of Icel. calendars (Cormack 1994, 40) but there appears to be no evidence for her cult in Iceland. There are, however, several C14th and C15th versions of a prose saga of her life (Unger 1877, I, 482-512; Widding, Bekker-Nielsen and Shook 1963, 324; Wolf 2003 xxxi-iii, 25-39, 156-8).


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