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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Óldr 15I/8 — heiðnir ‘heathen’

Ǫll vas hrædd við hollan
hrafni elgbjóð stafna
(vítt bauð ǫðlingr ýtum)
óþjóð (siðu góða).
Þann vissu gram gumnar,
grímu fárs þeirs vôru
sannmiðjungar, svinna
sér leiðastan, heiðnir.

Ǫll óþjóð vas hrædd við stafna elgbjóð, hollan hrafni; ǫðlingr bauð ýtum góða siðu vítt. Gumnar, þeirs vôru heiðnir sannmiðjungar fárs grímu, vissu þann svinna gram leiðastan sér.

The whole wicked tribe was afraid of the offerer of the elk of stems [(lit. ‘elk-offerer of stems’) SHIP > SEAFARER], gracious to the raven; the ruler proclaimed a good faith to people widely. Men who were heathen true giants of the harm of the helmet [SWORD > WARRIORS] knew that clever prince [to be] most hateful to them.


[8] heiðnir: ‘heidn̄’ Bb


[7, 8] heiðnir sannmiðjungar ‘heathen true giants’: The (slightly corrupt) ms. form of the adj. corresponds to heiðinn (m. nom./acc. sg.) ‘heathen’. It is emended here to pl., as in all previous eds, to agree with pl. sannmiðjungar ‘true giants’. The allusion to giants in a reference to heathens illustrates Snorri Sturluson’s remark that man-kennings with giant-names as base-word are normally insulting (SnE 1998, I, 40); cf. also Note to Anon Liðs 6/7-8.




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