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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Alpost 11VII

Ian McDougall (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Allra postula minnisvísur 11’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 867-8.

Anonymous PoemsAllra postula minnisvísur

Oss giefi Símón sóma
sannheilagr í ranni
píndr á Persiðalandi
postuli hlaðinn af kostum.
Giekk, sá græddi flekka
góðfúss í blóthúsi
dauða dyrr með náðum;
dýrð hans guði skýrðiz.
Sankte Símóns minni
sie hier vegsamað inni.

Sannheilagr Símón giefi oss sóma í ranni, postuli hlaðinn af kostum, píndr á Persiðalandi. Góðfúss, sá græddi flekka, giekk dyrr dauða í blóthúsi með náðum; hans dýrð skýrðiz guði. Minni Sankte Símóns sie vegsamað hier inni.

May the truly holy Simon grant us honour in the house, the Apostle filled with virtues, martyred in the land of Persia. The benevolent one, who healed defects, walked through the doors of death in the heathen temple in peace; his glory was made manifest to God. Let a memorial toast for Saint Simon be celebrated herein.

Mss: 721(15v)

Readings: [2] ranni: ‘roma’ 721

Editions: Skj AII, 511, Skj BII, 561-2, Skald II, 308.

Notes: [1] Símón: On S. Simon the Apostle, see generally Cross and Livingstone 1983, 1276-7; Widding, Bekker-Nielsen and Shook 1963, 332; Saxtorph 1970, 295-6; Foote 1976, 170-1; Cormack 1994, 152. — [2] í ranni ‘in the house’: Ms. ‘i roma’, perhaps due to dittography with sóma in l. 1, or simply a mechanical echo of a more familiar phrase (cf. 1/4 í Róma). No doubt in part because it is difficult to make good sense in this context of an exhortation ‘May … Simon grant us honour in Rome’, but largely to restore the requisite aðalhending, Skj B and Skald emend ms. ‘roma’ to ranni. The poet may intend to reinforce his representation of memorial toasts made in a drinking hall, cf. LP: mjǫðrann ‘mead-hall’ (Akv 9/7); or he may intend to refer to a church, cf. guðs rann ‘God’s house’ (RKet Lv 1/6IV), Jésú rann ‘Jesus’ house’ (EGils Guðv 6/4IV), see LP: rann; Meissner, 430, 432. — [3] píndr á Persiðalandi ‘martyred in the land of Persia’: On the martyrdom of SS. Simon and Jude/Judas-Thaddaeus in ‘Persia’, cf. Festa 3/13-15: occisi sunt in Suanis civitate magna apud Persidam ‘they were martyred in Suanis, a great city in Persia’. Cf. Cross 1979, 169, for further Lat. analogues for Cynewulf’s description of the same martyrdom in land Persea ‘the land of the Persians’ (Fates of the Apostles 76 in Brooks 1961, 58). A fairly close Icel. parallel is provided by AM 764 4° 16v: Símon ok íudas uoro lagdir igegnum meþ kesiu a persida landi ‘Simon and Jude were thrust through with a halberd in the land of Persia’; cf. Holm perg 5 fol, 59vb: ꜳ Serk landi ‘in Serkland’ (Foote 1976, 155; cf. 170). — [5, 6, 7] giekk dyrr dauða í blóthúsi með náðum ‘[the benevolent one] walked through the doors of death in the heathen temple in peace’: Cf. reference to the murder of SS. Simon and Jude a templorum pontificibus ‘by the high priests of the temples’ in Festa 3/13, and Holm perg 5 fol, 59vb: þeir voru pindir af blot byskupum ‘they were martyred by the heathen priests’ (Foote 1976, 155; cf. 170, and SJ1ˣ 788-9; for further analogues, see Cross 1979, 170). On dauða dyrr see ONP: dauðadyrr, a rendering of the biblical collocation portae mortis ‘the gates of death’; cf., e.g., Ps. IX.15 de portis mortis, CVI.18 ad portas mortis. — [6] góðfúss ‘the benevolent one’: The term may have the general sense ‘benevolent’; or perhaps a more literal sense ‘eager for good’ may be intended, as a pun on the traditional folk-etymological interpretation of the Apostle’s cognomen Zelotes ‘the zealot’; cf. Brev. 4/21-2: Simon Zelotis qui interpraetatur zelus ... zelo Dei fervens ‘Simon Zelotis, who signifies “zealous” ... burning with zeal for God’.


  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. Brev. = [Anonymous] ‘Incipit breviarium Apostolorum ex nomine vel locis ubi praedicaverunt, orti vel obiti sunt’. In Acta Sanctorum Novembris collecta digesta illustrata II.2, 3-4.
  7. Brooks, Kenneth R., ed. 1961. Andreas and the Fates of the Apostles. Oxford: Clarendon.
  8. Cormack, Margaret. 1994. The Saints in Iceland: Their Veneration from the Conversion to 1400. Studia Hagiographica 78. Brussels: Société des Bollandistes.
  9. Cross, F. L. and E. A. Livingstone. 1983. The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church. 2nd edn. 4th impression. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 3rd rev. edn 2005 by E. A. Livingstone. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  10. Cross, James E. 1979. ‘Cynewulf’s traditions about the apostles in Fates of the Apostles’. ASE 8, 163-75.
  11. NS = Nygaard, Marius. 1906. Norrøn syntax. Kristiania (Oslo): Aschehoug. Rpt. 1966.
  12. ONP = Degnbol, Helle et al., eds. 1989-. A Dictionary of Old Norse Prose / Ordbog over det norrøne prosasprog. 1-. Copenhagen: The Arnamagnæan Commission.
  13. Internal references
  14. Not published: do not cite (EGils Guðv 6IV)
  15. Not published: do not cite ()
  16. Not published: do not cite (RKet Lv 1IV)

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