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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Þul Sverða 8III

Elena Gurevich (ed.) 2017, ‘Anonymous Þulur, Sverða heiti 8’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 804.

Anonymous ÞulurSverða heiti

Logi ok mundgjallr,         langhvass ok eldr,
ǫrn ok œgir         ok naglfari,
brigðir, mǫrnir,         blær ok skerðir,
hyrr ok helsingr,         hríðir, atti.

Logi ok mundgjallr, langhvass ok eldr, ǫrn ok œgir ok naglfari, brigðir, mǫrnir, blær ok skerðir, hyrr ok helsingr, hríðir, atti.

Flame and hand-ringing one, long-sharp one and fire, eagle and frightener and nail-studded one, fickle one, crusher, blær and diminisher, blaze and long-neck, stormer, inciter.

Mss: R(43r), Tˣ(44v-45r), C(12r), A(18v), B(8v), 744ˣ(68r-v) (SnE)

Readings: [1] mund‑: so Tˣ, A, B, munn‑ R, mun‑ C    [2] lang‑: langr A, leggr B;    ‑hvass: ‘hu[…]’ B, ‘huass’ 744ˣ;    ok: om. Tˣ    [3] œgir: so A, eygir R, C, ‘eugir’ Tˣ, ‘[…]’ B, ‘e᷎gir’ 744ˣ    [4] naglfari: nagfari C, ‘n[…]lfare’ B, ‘naglfare’ 744ˣ    [5] brigðir: ‘br[…]ir’ B, ‘bridir’ 744ˣ    [6] blær: so A, ‘blǫr’ R, ‘blo᷎r’ Tˣ, ‘blorr’ C, ‘ble᷎rr’ B    [7] helsingr: ‘[…]sinngr’ B, ‘helsinngr’ 744ˣ    [8] hríðir: hirðir C

Editions: Skj AI, 664, Skj BI, 664, Skald I, 328; SnE 1848-87, I, 566-7, II, 476-7, 560, 620, SnE 1931, 202, SnE 1998, I, 120.

Notes: [1] logi (m.) ‘flame’: This and the other terms for ‘fire’ listed in this stanza (cf. eldr ‘fire’ and hyrr ‘blaze’ in ll. 2, 7) are regularly used as base-words in sword-kennings (e.g. benlogi ‘wound-flame [SWORD]’, LP: benlogi), but only eldr occurs several times as a heiti for ‘sword’. It is doubtful whether such metaphorical names ought to be considered half-kennings (see Falk 1914b, 49). — [1] mundgjallr (m.) ‘hand-ringing one’: So , A, B. An otherwise unattested cpd from mund f. ‘hand’ and the adj. gjallr ‘clamouring, ringing, resounding’. The R variant munngjallr probably means ‘with a ringing blade’, in which the first element is munnr m. ‘mouth, blade’ (Falk 1914b, 56). Cf. also gjallr ‘clamouring one’ (st. 1/6 above). — [2] langhvass (m.) ‘long-sharp one’: This cpd, which is not found elsewhere, either means ‘long and sharp’ or, as LP: langhvass suggests, hvis skarphed varer længe ‘whose sharpness lasts long’. Mss A and B have two words instead of a cpd, (normalised) langr, hvass ‘long, sharp’ (A) and leggr, hvass ‘leg, sharp’ (B, 744ˣ; leggr m. ‘leg, bone’ must be a scribal error). None of these words occurs as sword-heiti. — [2] eldr (m.) ‘fire’: See Note to logi ‘flame’ (l. 1 above). — [3] ǫrn (m.) ‘eagle’: This word never occurs in poetry as a sword-heiti (cf. Note to nættingr ‘night-bringer’, st. 7/8 above). — [3] œgir (m.) ‘frightener’: So A. This is also a heiti for ‘helmet’ (see Note to Þul Hjálms 2/3), but it is not found in poetry as a term for ‘sword’. The R, C variant eygir m., perhaps lit. ‘looker, observer’ from the weak verb eygja ‘see’ (cf. CVC: eygja), does not occur elsewhere. — [4] naglfari (m.) ‘nail-studded one’: Or ‘rivet-farer(?)’. Probably denoting a sword with a hilt decorated with rows of rivets (cf. OE Nægling, the name of Beowulf’s sword; see Beowulf 2008, 471 and references there). See Falk (1914b, 57) and Bragi Rdr 5/3 (see Note to ll. 3-4 there). Alternatively, Lie (1982, 340-1) takes the second element ‑fari in the sense ‘destroyer’ (cf. Fritzner: fara 13, 14) and interprets this heiti as ‘one who destroys spikes (naglar)’, i.e. ‘knife’. See also Note to Þul Skipa 1/7. — [5] brigðir (m.) ‘fickle one’: See Note to st. 5/5. — [5] mǫrnir (m.) ‘crusher’: Probably an agent noun derived from a weak verb *marunja- ‘crush’, and not found elsewhere as a sword-heiti (see Falk 1914b, 56; cf. also mǫrn ‘troll-woman’). — [6] blær (m.): The origin and meaning of this heiti are unclear. According to Falk (1914b, 47-8), it is derived either from the adj. blár ‘dark, blue’ (cf. blár eggjar ‘dark edges’) or from blær m., a heiti for ‘ram’ (see Þul Hrúts l. 8; cf. MHG blæjen ‘bleat’). The word occurs only in the þulur. The meaning ‘bleater’, i.e. ‘noise-maker’, might be supported by other sword-heiti (cf. gjallr ‘clamouring one’ st. 1/6, galmr ‘clanging one’ st. 2/5, skerkir ‘noise-maker’ st. 2/1), as well as by semantically similar heiti listed in other þulur (see Gurevich 1992c, 40-4). — [6] skerðir (m.) ‘diminisher’: Cf. skerðingr ‘notcher’ (st. 7/2). As a sword-heiti the word is not found elsewhere. Falk (1914b, 59) suggests that the heiti might have been taken from KormǪ Lv 27/7-8V (Korm 31), where the sword Skǫfnungr (see Note to st. 7/4) is described as skerðir þrafna fetils ‘diminisher of the staff of the baldric’ because it notched the edge of the sword Hvítingr (see st. 7/5). — [7] hyrr (m.) ‘blaze’: See Note to logi ‘flame’ (l. 1 above). — [7] helsingr (m.) ‘long-neck’: Cf. helsingr ‘barnacle goose’ (Þul Fugla 1/4). The word could be identical with Helsingjar, the people of Hälsingland (ON Helsingjaland) in Sweden, and hence ‘Helsingja-sword’ (OE Hælsingas; AEW: helsingr). Alternatively, it could have been derived directly from hals m. ‘neck’. Falk (1914b, 51) suggests that the heiti might come from a pers. n. or a nickname (cf. Þórir helsingr in Hkr, ÍF 28, 371). As a term for ‘sword’ it is not found elsewhere. — [8] hríðir (m.) ‘stormer’: A hap. leg. that can be connected with hríð f. ‘storm, attack’ (cf. SnE 1998, II, 318). The C variant hirðir m. ‘shepherd’ must be a scribal error. — [8] atti (m.) ‘inciter’: A hap. leg. Hellquist (1891, 167) explains the word as a derivative of the weak verb etja ‘incite, egg on’ (p. p. attr), while Falk (1914b, 47) believes that it was transferred to a sword from the m. pers. n. Atti.


  1. Bibliography
  2. SnE 1848-87 = Snorri Sturluson. 1848-87. Edda Snorra Sturlusonar: Edda Snorronis Sturlaei. Ed. Jón Sigurðsson et al. 3 vols. Copenhagen: Legatum Arnamagnaeanum. Rpt. Osnabrück: Zeller, 1966.
  3. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  4. AEW = Vries, Jan de. 1962. Altnordisches etymologisches Wörterbuch. 2nd rev. edn. Rpt. 1977. Leiden: Brill.
  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. CVC = Cleasby, Richard, Gudbrand Vigfusson [Guðbrandur Vigfússon] and W. A. Craigie. 1957. An Icelandic-English Dictionary. 2nd edn. Oxford: Clarendon.
  7. Gurevich, Elena A. 1992c. ‘Þulur in Skáldskaparmál: An Attempt at Skaldic Lexicology’. ANF 107, 35-52.
  8. Fritzner = Fritzner, Johan. 1883-96. Ordbog over det gamle norske sprog. 3 vols. Kristiania (Oslo): Den norske forlagsforening. 4th edn. Rpt. 1973. Oslo etc.: Universitetsforlaget.
  9. ÍF 26-8 = Heimskringla. Ed. Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson. 1941-51.
  10. Beowulf 2008 = Fulk, Robert D., Robert E. Bjork and John D. Niles, eds. 2008. Klaeber’s Beowulf and the Fight at Finnsburg. 4th rev. edn of Beowulf and the Fight at Finnsburg, ed. Fr. Klaeber. Toronto, Buffalo and London: University of Toronto Press.
  11. Falk, Hjalmar. 1914b. Altnordische Waffenkunde. Videnskapsselskapets skrifter, II. Hist.-filos. kl. 1914, 6. Kristiania (Oslo): Dybwad.
  12. SnE 1931 = Snorri Sturluson. 1931. Edda Snorra Sturlusonar. Ed. Finnur Jónsson. Copenhagen: Gyldendal.
  13. SnE 1998 = Snorri Sturluson. 1998. Edda: Skáldskaparmál. Ed. Anthony Faulkes. 2 vols. University College London: Viking Society for Northern Research.
  14. Lie, Hallvard. 1982. Om sagakunst og skaldskap: Utvalgte avhandlinger. Øvre Ervik: Alvheim & Eide.
  15. Hellquist, Elof. 1891. ‘Bidrag till läran om den nordiska nominalbildningen’. ANF 7, 1-62, 142-74.
  16. Internal references
  17. Kari Ellen Gade 2009, ‘Heimskringla (Hkr)’ in Kari Ellen Gade (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 2: From c. 1035 to c. 1300. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 2. Turnhout: Brepols [check printed volume for citation].
  18. Elena Gurevich (ed.) 2017, ‘Anonymous Þulur, Hjálms heiti 2’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 830.
  19. Elena Gurevich (ed.) 2017, ‘Anonymous Þulur, Fugla 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. 952.
  20. Elena Gurevich (ed.) 2017, ‘Anonymous Þulur, Skipa 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. 861.
  21. Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.) 2017, ‘Bragi inn gamli Boddason, Ragnarsdrápa 5’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 35.
  22. Elena Gurevich 2017, ‘(Introduction to) Anonymous, Hrúts heiti’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 890.
  23. Not published: do not cite (KormǪ Lv 27V (Korm 31))
  24. Not published: do not cite ()

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