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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Óldr 15I

Kate Heslop (ed.) 2012, ‘Anonymous Poems, Óláfs drápa Tryggvasonar 15’ in Diana Whaley (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 1: From Mythical Times to c. 1035. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 1. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 1047.

Anonymous PoemsÓláfs drápa Tryggvasonar

Ǫll vas hrædd við hollan
hrafni elgbjóð stafna
(vítt bauð ǫðlingr ýtum)
óþjóð (siðu góða).
Þann vissu gram gumnar,
grímu fárs þeirs vôru
sannmiðjungar, svinna
sér leiðastan, heiðnir.

Ǫll óþjóð vas hrædd við {{stafna elg}bjóð}, hollan hrafni; ǫðlingr bauð ýtum góða siðu vítt. Gumnar, þeirs vôru {heiðnir sannmiðjungar {fárs grímu}}, vissu þann svinna gram leiðastan sér.

The whole wicked tribe was afraid of {the offerer {of the elk of stems}} [(lit. ‘elk-offerer of stems’) SHIP > SEAFARER], gracious to the raven; the ruler proclaimed a good faith to people widely. Men who were {heathen true giants {of the harm of the helmet}} [SWORD > WARRIORS] knew that clever prince [to be] most hateful to them.

Mss: Bb(112vb)

Readings: [8] heiðnir: ‘heidn̄’ Bb

Editions: Skj AI, 576, Skj BI, 571, Skald I, 276; Munch and Unger 1847, 122, 141, Gullberg 1875, 15-16, 32-3.

Notes: [1]: The line echoes Hfr ErfÓl 13/1. — [5] gumnar ‘men’: This is abbreviated in the ms. with a superscript nasal bar over the first vowel. This is ambiguous, and previous eds have taken the word as gunnar, which could be gen. sg. of gunnr f. ‘battle’ or the valkyrie-name Gunnr, an additional determinant for the kenning. Thus LP: gríma 1 explains gríma gunnar ‘mask of battle’ as ‘helmet’, whose fár ‘harm’ is battle or sword. However, gríma f. often means ‘helmet’ alone (Meissner 164), and the same abbreviation stands for <m> in gumnum in st. 11/1. — [7] svinna ‘clever’: Skj B and Skald emend to svinnan, the strong form of the m. acc. sg. adj., but this is unnecessary as the adj. may be weak after the demonstrative pron., here þann ‘that’; see NS §49; LP: 1. — [7, 8] heiðnir sannmiðjungar ‘heathen true giants’: The (slightly corrupt) ms. form of the adj. corresponds to heiðinn (m. nom./acc. sg.) ‘heathen’. It is emended here to pl., as in all previous eds, to agree with pl. sannmiðjungar ‘true giants’. The allusion to giants in a reference to heathens illustrates Snorri Sturluson’s remark that man-kennings with giant-names as base-word are normally insulting (SnE 1998, I, 40); cf. also Note to Anon Liðs 6/7-8.


  1. Bibliography
  2. Skj B = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1912-15b. Den norsk-islandske skjaldedigtning. B: Rettet tekst. 2 vols. Copenhagen: Villadsen & Christensen. Rpt. 1973. Copenhagen: Rosenkilde & Bagger.
  3. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  4. Meissner = Meissner, Rudolf. 1921. Die Kenningar der Skalden: Ein Beitrag zur skaldischen Poetik. Rheinische Beiträge und Hülfsbücher zur germanischen Philologie und Volkskunde 1. Bonn and Leipzig: Schroeder. Rpt. 1984. Hildesheim etc.: Olms.
  5. LP = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1931. Lexicon poeticum antiquæ linguæ septentrionalis: Ordbog over det norsk-islandske skjaldesprog oprindelig forfattet af Sveinbjörn Egilsson. 2nd edn. Copenhagen: Møller.
  6. NS = Nygaard, Marius. 1906. Norrøn syntax. Kristiania (Oslo): Aschehoug. Rpt. 1966.
  7. SnE 1998 = Snorri Sturluson. 1998. Edda: Skáldskaparmál. Ed. Anthony Faulkes. 2 vols. University College London: Viking Society for Northern Research.
  8. Munch, P. A. and C. R. Unger, eds. 1847. Oldnorsk læsebog med tilhörende glossarium. Christiania (Oslo): Dahl.
  9. Gullberg, H., ed. 1875. Óláfs drápa Tryggvasonar: fragment ur “Bergsboken”. Lund: Berling.
  10. Internal references
  11. Kate Heslop (ed.) 2012, ‘Hallfreðr vandræðaskáld Óttarsson, Erfidrápa Óláfs Tryggvasonar 13’ in Diana Whaley (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 1: From Mythical Times to c. 1035. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 1. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 419.
  12. Russell Poole (ed.) 2012, ‘Anonymous Poems, Liðsmannaflokkr 6’ in Diana Whaley (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 1: From Mythical Times to c. 1035. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 1. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 1023.

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