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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Hfr Hákdr 3III

Kate Heslop (ed.) 2017, ‘Hallfreðr vandræðaskáld Óttarsson, Hákonardrápa 3’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 218.

Hallfreðr vandræðaskáld ÓttarssonHákonardrápa

Ok geirrotu gǫtvar
gagls við strengjar hagli
hungreyðǫndum Hanga
hléðut járni séðar.

Ok {gǫtvar {geirrotu}}, séðar járni, hléðut {hungreyðǫndum {gagls Hanga}} við {hagli strengjar}.

And {garments {of spear-downpour}} [BATTLE > MAIL-SHIRTS], seamed with iron, did not protect {hunger-assuagers {of the gosling of Hangi <= Óðinn>}} [RAVEN > WARRIORS] from {the hailstone of the bowstring} [ARROW].

Mss: R(34v), Tˣ(35v), W(78), A(11v) (SnE)

Readings: [1] geirrotu: ‘geir ǫtv’ W, ‘gæira tó’ corrected from ‘gæiro tó’ in scribal hand A    [2] strengjar: strengja W    [4] hléðut: ‘hlóþvt’ R, ‘hlodut’ Tˣ, ‘hlǫðvt’ W, ‘hlæðvr’ A;    séðar: ‘sǫðar’ W

Editions: Skj AI, 155, Skj BI, 147, Skald I, 80; SnE 1848-87, I, 432-3, II, 441, III, 83, SnE 1931, 153, SnE 1998, I, 71; Davidson 1983, 448, 487-90.

Context: Cited in Skm as the second in a series of three instances of kennings for ‘arrows’ with hagl ‘hail’ as base-word.

Notes: [1] gǫtvar geirrotu ‘garments of spear-downpour [BATTLE > MAIL-SHIRTS]’: The same kenning occurs in Egill Lv 17/5V (Eg 24). The second element of the cpd could alternatively be Róta (or Rota), a valkyrie-name, so ‘spear-Róta’ (cf. geir-Skǫgul; LP: geir-Róta); ‘garments of Róta’ is then an armour-kenning. The valkyrie-name is only attested once outside kennings, in a context where Rota/Róta is portrayed acting together with the valkyrie Guðr/Gunnr, whose name means ‘battle’, in Gylf (SnE 2005, 30), while rota f. ‘rainshower’ is better attested, appearing e.g. in a list of missile-heiti in Skm’s prose (SnE 1998, I, 67). The common noun -rotu ‘of downpour’ is more in keeping with the extended ‘weather’ metaphor; most previous eds, however, print -Rótu. The length of the root vowel, [o] or [o:], cannot be determined, and both forms are possible metrically.  — [2, 3] gagls Hanga ‘of the gosling of Hangi <= Óðinn> [RAVEN]’: Alternatively, hangi m. ‘hanged man, corpse’, and so ‘gosling of the corpse [RAVEN]’. Meissner 121 favours the former interpretation, LP: hangi the latter. — [4] hléðut ‘did not protect’: 3rd pers. pl. pret. indic. of the verb hlýja ‘protect’, plus the negative suffix -t. The mss disagree on the stem vowel, and Noreen (ANG §513.2) describes the form with [e:] as old and rare. Emendation to hléðut, adopted by most previous eds, is supported by A’s reading ‘hlæðvr’, and Eskál Vell 34/4I has the same rhyming words, where R reads ‘hleþvt’.


  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. 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. ANG = Noreen, Adolf. 1923. Altnordische Grammatik I: Altisländische und altnorwegische Grammatik (Laut- und Flexionslehre) unter Berücksichtigung des Urnordischen. 4th edn. Halle: Niemeyer. 1st edn. 1884. 5th unrev. edn. 1970. Tübingen: Niemeyer.
  7. SnE 1931 = Snorri Sturluson. 1931. Edda Snorra Sturlusonar. Ed. Finnur Jónsson. Copenhagen: Gyldendal.
  8. SnE 1998 = Snorri Sturluson. 1998. Edda: Skáldskaparmál. Ed. Anthony Faulkes. 2 vols. University College London: Viking Society for Northern Research.
  9. Davidson, Daphne L. 1983. ‘Earl Hákon and his Poets’. D. Phil. thesis. Oxford.
  10. SnE 2005 = Snorri Sturluson. 2005. Edda: Prologue and Gylfaginning. Ed. Anthony Faulkes. 2nd edn. University College London: Viking Society for Northern Research.
  11. Internal references
  12. (forthcoming), ‘ Snorri Sturluson, Skáldskaparmál’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. . <> (accessed 22 September 2021)
  13. (forthcoming), ‘ Snorri Sturluson, Gylfaginning’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. . <> (accessed 22 September 2021)
  14. Not published: do not cite (Egill Lv 17V (Eg 24))
  15. Edith Marold (ed.) 2012, ‘Einarr skálaglamm Helgason, Vellekla 34’ 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. 326.

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