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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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ǪrvOdd Ævdr 9VIII (Ǫrv 79)

Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.) 2017, ‘Ǫrvar-Odds saga 79 (Ǫrvar-Oddr, Ævidrápa 9)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 894.


Váru hoskir         á herskipum
frændr mínir tveir         at forráði.
Vildu hásetar         hoskir eignaz
tak, þat er áttu         Tyrfifinnar.

Mínir tveir frændr váru hoskir at forráði á herskipum. Hoskir hásetar vildu eignaz tak, þat er Tyrfifinnar áttu.

My two kinsmen were wise in their captaincy on the warships. The wise oarsmen wanted to get their hands on the possessions that the Ter-Saami owned.

Mss: 343a(80v), 471(94r), 173ˣ(61rb) (Ǫrv)

Readings: [4] forráði: so 471, 173ˣ, ‘foradi’ 343a    [8] Tyrfi‑: so 471, 173ˣ, ‘tyfvi’ 343a

Editions: Skj AII, 307, Skj BII, 326, Skald II, 174; Ǫrv 1888, 199, FSGJ 2, 343.

Notes: [All]: This stanza needs to be read ironically to reflect the speaker’s (Oddr’s) distaste for the raiding of the other members of the party, and this point of view is signalled by the repeated use of the adj. ho(r)skr ‘wise’ in ll. 1 and 6. According to the saga prose (Ǫrv 1888, 24-7), the party sees Saami huts (gammar) on the coast as they travel north to Permia. The crew on Guðmundr’s ship go ashore, rob the huts and terrify the Saami women, but Oddr does not allow his crew to do so. Oddr is invited to join a similar raiding party the following day, but refuses to participate. His attitude on this occasion is to be contrasted with the alacrity with which he engages in raiding on the Permians (see the following stanza), and is doubtless attributable to his awareness of his family’s kinship with the Saami through his father’s mother Hrafnhildr Brúnadóttir (cf. GrL and Ket). — [7] tak ‘the possessions’: Tak is the legal term for chattels or moveable possessions (cf. Fritzner: tak 2; CVC: tak II), deriving from the noun’s lit. sense of ‘taking (hold), grasp’. — [8] Tyrfifinnar ‘the Ter-Saami’: Name for a group of Saami hunter-gatherers living in the Kola peninsula. The word is nowhere else recorded in Old Norse, but it occurs in Old English as Terfinnas, the name for a group of inhabitants of this region, according to the witness of the trader Ohthere (ON Óttarr), who distinguished the Terfinnas from the Beormas because the former lived by hunting, fishing and bird-catching, whereas the Beormas had extensive settlements (Lund 1984, 19; Ross 1981, 24-8). The first element tyrfi- is probably derived by folk etymology from the noun torf ‘turf’, but is likely to come from the old Saami name for the Kola Peninsula, Ter or Tre (but see AEW: Tyrfifinnar for different possible etymologies).


  1. Bibliography
  2. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  3. AEW = Vries, Jan de. 1962. Altnordisches etymologisches Wörterbuch. 2nd rev. edn. Rpt. 1977. Leiden: Brill.
  4. CVC = Cleasby, Richard, Gudbrand Vigfusson [Guðbrandur Vigfússon] and W. A. Craigie. 1957. An Icelandic-English Dictionary. 2nd edn. Oxford: Clarendon.
  5. 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.
  6. FSGJ = Guðni Jónsson, ed. 1954. Fornaldar sögur norðurlanda. 4 vols. [Reykjavík]: Íslendingasagnaútgáfan.
  7. Ǫrv 1888 = Boer, R. C., ed. 1888. Ǫrvar-Odds saga. Leiden: Brill.
  8. Ross, Alan S. C. 1981. The Terfinnas and Beormas of Ohthere. Rev. Michael Chesnutt. London: Viking Society for Northern Research.
  9. Lund, Niels and Christine Fell, trans. 1984. Two Voyagers at the Court of King Alfred. York, England: William Sessions.
  10. Internal references
  11. 2017, ‘(Introduction to) Anonymous, Ketils saga hœngs’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 548.
  12. 2017, ‘(Introduction to) Anonymous, Gríms saga loðinkinna’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 288.

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