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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon (ÓH) 1I/2 — Visund ‘Visundr’

Ôleifr knýr und ôrum
orðsnjallr Visund norðan;
brýtr annarr gramr úti
unnheim dreka sunnan.

Orðsnjallr Ôleifr knýr Visund norðan und ôrum; annarr gramr brýtr unnheim dreka sunnan úti.

The word-sharp Óláfr [Haraldsson] propels Visundr (‘Bison’) from the north using oars; another monarch cleaves the wave-world [SEA] with a dragon-ship from the south, out at sea.


[2] Visund: ‘vishund’ Flat


[1] Visund ‘Visundr (“Bison”)’: Óláfr Haraldsson’s prized ship, which is celebrated in the same breath as Óláfr Tryggvason’s famous Ormr inn langi ‘the Long Serpent’ in Sigv ErfÓl 3/8, cited earlier in the same chapter as the present stanza. Visundr was inherited by Óláfr’s son Magnús, and hence also appears in poetry about him (ÞjóðA Magnfl 4/8II, Arn Hryn 9/4II, 16/8II). It is described in Hkr (ÍF 28, 34) as a magnificent vessel, with a bison’s head and tail at prow and stern, gold-adorned stems and more than thirty pairs of rowing benches.



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