Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Þjóð Yt 19I/11 — *reyrs ‘of the reed’

Varð Ǫnundr
Jónakrs bura
harmi heptr
und Himinfjǫllum.
Ok ofvæg
Eistra dolgi
heipt hrísungs
at hendi kom.
Ok sá frǫmuðr
foldar beinum
Hǫgna *reyrs
of horfinn vas.

Ǫnundr varð heptr harmi bura Jónakrs und Himinfjǫllum. Ok ofvæg heipt hrísungs kom at hendi dolgi Eistra. Ok sá frǫmuðr *reyrs Hǫgna vas of horfinn beinum foldar.

Ǫnundr was killed by the pain of the sons of Jónakr [STONES] beneath Himinfjǫll. And the crushing hatred of the bastard [STONES] came upon the enemy of the Estonians [= Ǫnundr]. And that wielder of the reed of Hǫgni <legendary hero> [SWORD > WARRIOR] was surrounded by the bones of the earth [STONES].


[11] *reyrs: hrørs , 761aˣ, hræs papp18ˣ, ‘hrors’ 521ˣ, hreyrs F, J1ˣ, J2ˣ, R685ˣ


[9, 11] sá frǫmuðr *reyrs Hǫgna ‘that wielder of the reed of Hǫgni <legendary hero> [SWORD > WARRIOR]’: The ms. readings underlying *reyrs present serious interpretive problems and have given rise to numerous suggestions. (a) This edn follows Kock’s suggestion (NN §77) of emending hreyrs to reyrs ‘of the reed’. This is a common base-word of sword-kennings (Meissner 152), and Hǫgni <legendary hero> is a fitting determinant. Together with frǫmuðr ‘wielder, promoter’ this produces a normal warrior-kenning; cf. st. 8/5, 7. (b) An alternative emendation is to hrør ‘corpse, death’. Finnur Jónsson (Hkr 1893-1901, IV; Yng 1912; Skj B) and subsequently ÍF 26 and Hkr 1991 take frǫmuðr hrørs Hǫgna to be a kenning for Ǫnundr. They render it as ‘producer of the death of Hǫgni’, i.e. the killer of Hǫgni. (c) Most others assume the reading hreyrs, translated as ‘of the cairn’, but their interpretations diverge considerably. Noreen (Yt 1925) and Lindquist (1929, 69) focus on Ǫnundr’s road-building activities, as described in Yng, reading hogna, which they take as gen. pl. of a postulated ON *hogn ‘large, steep cliff’. Åkerlund (1939, 107) returns to taking Hǫgna as a pers. n. and interprets frǫmuðr hreyrs Hǫgna as ‘producer of the cairn of Hǫgni’ (cf. also Beyschlag 1950, 29-30; Norr 1998, 138).



case: gen.


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