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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Liðs 8I/7 — brezkum ‘British’

Út mun ekkja líta
— opt glóa vôpn á lopti
of hjalmtǫmum hilmi —
hrein, sús býr í steini,
hvé sigrfíkinn sœkir
snarla borgar karla
— dynr á brezkum brynjum
blóðíss — Dana vísi.

Hrein ekkja, sús býr í steini, mun líta út — vôpn glóa opt á lopti of hjalmtǫmum hilmi —, hvé sigrfíkinn vísi Dana sœkir snarla karla borgar; blóðíss dynr á brezkum brynjum.

The chaste widow who lives in stone will look out — weapons often glint in the air above the helmet-wearing ruler —, [seeing] how the victory-avid leader of the Danes [DANISH KING = Knútr] attacks sharply the men of the city; the blood-ice [SWORD] clangs against British mail-shirts.


[7] brezkum brynjum: brezkar brynjur , 20dˣ, 873ˣ, 41ˣ


[7] brezkum ‘British’: The word brezkr here has been explained as ‘belonging to the inhabitants of Britain in general, i. e. the British Isles’ (Ashdown 1930, 207) or ‘English’ (Zachrisson 1927, 47), but skaldic attestations of brezkr/Bretar fit better with the gloss ‘Welsh, Briton’ (Poole 1987, 294; cf. Hermann Pálsson 1960, 43-6). There is support for the notion that Welsh people lent military aid to the defenders of London in Thietmar’s Merseburgensis episcopi Chronicon and Gaimar’s L’estoire des Engleis (Poole 1987, 294-6).



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