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skaldic

Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Mey 52VII

Kirsten Wolf (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Heilagra meyja drápa 52’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 923-4.

Anonymous PoemsHeilagra meyja drápa
515253

Barbara ‘Barbara’

Barbara (noun f.): Barbara

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blíðufyld ‘full of grace’

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skrýddiz ‘adorned herself’

2. skrýða (verb): adorn, clothe

[2] skrýddiz fríðum: skríðiz síðan 713

notes

[2] skrýddiz fríðum ‘adorned herself with virtues’: The translation of fríðum is uncertain; here it is translated ‘virtues’ and understood as a substantival use of the adj. friðr ‘beautiful, fine’. LP: 1. fríðr adj. suggests that the noun kostum ‘good qualities, virtues’ may be understood.

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fríðum ‘with virtues’

fríðr (adj.; °compar. -ari, superl. -astr): beautiful, fair

[2] skrýddiz fríðum: skríðiz síðan 713

notes

[2] skrýddiz fríðum ‘adorned herself with virtues’: The translation of fríðum is uncertain; here it is translated ‘virtues’ and understood as a substantival use of the adj. friðr ‘beautiful, fine’. LP: 1. fríðr adj. suggests that the noun kostum ‘good qualities, virtues’ may be understood.

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syrgiliga ‘sadly’

syrgiliga (adv.): [sadly]

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skáru ‘cut’

skera (verb): cut

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Ságu ‘Sága’

Sága (noun f.): [Sága, for Sága]

kennings

Ságu gulls;
‘the Sága of gold; ’
   = WOMAN

the Sága of gold; → WOMAN
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gulls ‘of gold’

gull (noun n.): gold

kennings

Ságu gulls;
‘the Sága of gold; ’
   = WOMAN

the Sága of gold; → WOMAN
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vágu ‘struck’

1. vega (verb): strike, slay

[7] vágu: so 713, hjuggu 721

notes

[7] vágu ‘they struck’: 713’s reading (from vega ‘to strike, slay’) is preferred over 721’s hjuggu, with similar sense, to give aðalhending (ságu:vágu), though skothending would be expected in an odd l.

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Like Christina, S. Barbara was a beautiful maiden whose father, Dioscurus, shut her up in a tower to keep her away from her numerous suitors. Dioscurus found out that Barbara had become a Christian, so he attempted to kill her, but she was miraculously removed from his reach. He then denounced her to the prefect of the province, who tortured her (including cutting off a breast; for this motif, see Wolf 1997) to make her renounce her faith. She refused to do so, whereupon her father was ordered to kill her, which he did, and was immediately struck by lightning. There are two C15th mss of a saga of S. Barbara, both independently derived from the same exemplar (Unger 1877, I, 153-7; Widding, Bekker-Nielsen and Shook 1963, 301; Wolf 2000 and 2003, 142-7 and 176-7). For evidence of her cult in Iceland, see Cormack 1994, 2, 16, 19 n. 26, 29, 37, 83-4 and Wolf 2000, 68-72.

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