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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Mey 46VII

Kirsten Wolf (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Heilagra meyja drápa 46’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 919-20.

Anonymous PoemsHeilagra meyja drápa

Eufémía ágæt meyja
eigi vildi goðunum hneigja;
Priskus jarl liet pína feska
plómu guðs að raungum dómi.
Ágætust úr ofni heitum
jungfrú giekk og sakaði ekki;
síðan skyldu sagirnar meiða
sætu þá, sem drottinn gætir.

Eufémía, ágæt meyja, vildi eigi hneigja goðunum; Priskus jarl liet {feska plómu guðs} pína að raungum dómi. Ágætust jungfrú giekk úr heitum ofni og sakaði ekki; síðan skyldu sagirnar meiða þá sætu, sem drottinn gætir.

Euphemia, an excellent maiden, would not pay homage to the gods; Earl Priscus had {the fresh plum-tree of God} [HOLY WOMAN] tormented in accordance with a wrong judgement. The most excellent maiden walked out of a hot oven and was unscathed; later the saws were intended to injure that woman whom the Lord watches over.

Mss: 721(9v), 713(27)

Readings: [4] raungum: so 713, rögum 721    [8] gætir: ‘g[...]’ 713

Editions: Skj AII, 536, Skj BII, 593, Skald II, 328, NN §2971C.

Notes: [All]: S. Euphemia, celebrated in sts 46-7, was not the object of a cult in Iceland, nor is there any extant prose saga of her life. She is said to have been martyred at Chalcedon (in Asia Minor), after being subjected to many tortures, because she refused to attend a festival in honour of the pagan god Ares. She miraculously survived these assaults until she was thrown to wild beasts. — [3-4] feska plómu guðs ‘the fresh plum-tree [or plum] of God [HOLY WOMAN]’: An unusual kenning for a holy woman. Plóma ‘plum’ occurs only here and in Þul Viðar 1/4III in skaldic poetry, while fe[r]skr, a late loan from Low German, has the sense of ‘good, good-looking, fresh, new’.


  1. Bibliography
  2. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  3. NN = Kock, Ernst Albin. 1923-44. Notationes Norrœnæ: Anteckningar till Edda och skaldediktning. Lunds Universitets årsskrift new ser. 1. 28 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  4. Internal references
  5. Elena Gurevich (ed.) 2017, ‘Anonymous Þulur, Viðar heiti 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. 881.

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