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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Gestumbl Heiðr 32VIII (Heiðr 79)

Hannah Burrows (ed.) 2017, ‘Hervarar saga ok Heiðreks 79 (Gestumblindi, Heiðreks gátur 32)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 446.

GestumblindiHeiðreks gátur

text and translation

Hverjar eru þeir þegnar,         er ríða þingi at
        sáttir allir saman?
Lýða sína         senda þeir lönd yfir
        at byggja bólstaði.
Heiðrekr konungr,         hyggðu at gátu.

Hverjar eru þeir þegnar, er ríða allir saman sáttir at þingi? Þeir senda lýða sína yfir lönd at byggja bólstaði. Heiðrekr konungr, hyggðu at gátu.
‘Who are those thanes, who all ride together reconciled to the assembly? They send their men over lands to settle homesteads. King Heiðrekr, think about the riddle.

notes and context

Heiðrekr’s response is (Heiðr 1960, 37): þat er Ítrekr ok Andaðr, er þeir sitja at tafli sínu ‘That is Ítrekr and Andaðr, when they sit at their tafl-board’. The H redaction has (Heiðr 1924, 79): þat er tafl Ítreks konungs ‘That is King Ítrekr’s tafl’. On tafl or hnefatafl see Heiðr 66, Note to [All]. One Ítreksjóð (lit. ‘offspring of Ítrekr’) appears in Þul Ása I 1/8III, names for Óðinn’s sons (cf. SnE 1998, I, 113), suggesting Ítrekr is an Óðinn-name. An Anduðr or Ǫnduðr appears in a list of heiti for giants in the same text (SnE 1998, I, 111; Þul Jǫtna I 4/6III). Further details of such a skill-contest have not survived, but are not dissimilar to the wisdom-contests between gods and giants in e.g. Vafþr or Alv. — Cf. Heiðr 66 and 73, which both also refer to aspects of the game tafl. — [1-2]: Ms. R715ˣ has these two lines (with a slight variation in l. 1) at the beginning of Heiðr 83. — [3]: The H redaction has: ok eru sextán saman ‘and are sixteen together’, which is adopted by Edd. Min. On a 7x7 hnefatafl board there would be sixteen attackers.



Text is based on reconstruction from the base text and variant apparatus and may contain alternative spellings and other normalisations not visible in the manuscript text. Transcriptions may not have been checked and should not be cited.

editions and texts

Skj: Anonyme digte og vers [XIII], D. 5. Heiðreks gátur 12: AII, 223, BII, 242, Skald II, 125-6; Heiðr 1672, 146, FSN 1, 473, Heiðr 1873, 259, 337-8, Heiðr 1924, 67, 79, 134, FSGJ 2, 43, Heiðr 1960, 37; Edd. Min. 118.


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