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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Sigv Knútdr 10I/5 — af

Kom á fylki
farlyst, þeims bar
hervíg í hug,
hafanda staf.
Rauf ræsir af
Rúms veg suman
kærr keisara
klúss Pétrúsi.

Farlyst kom á fylki hafanda staf, þeims bar hervíg í hug. Ræsir, kærr keisara, klúss Pétrúsi, rauf af suman veg Rúms.

Desire for a journey came upon the ruler bearing a staff, who bore warfare in his heart. The leader, dear to the emperor, close to Peter, enjoyed some of the glory of Rome.

notes

[5, 6] rauf af suman veg ‘enjoyed some of the glory’: The basic meaning of rjúfa is ‘to break, tear’, and af must be adverbial, hence ‘enjoyed’, lit. ‘broke off’, with suman veg as the acc. sg. object. There are two identical nouns vegr, both m., one meaning ‘way’ and the other ‘glory’. (a) Finnur Jónsson (Skj B; LP: rjúfa 5) assumes the former, and so interprets the clause ‘quickly put behind him some of the way’, i.e. ‘quickly travelled some of the way’. (b) Kock prefers the latter (NN §652), and so offers skördade en del av Roms berömmelse ‘reaped a portion of the glory of Rome’. Kock’s reading is preferred here, as it avoids the potential illogicality of Finnur’s reading (why did Knútr not travel all of the way to Rome?), and more appropriately emphasises Knútr’s glory and European horizons. In his 1027 Letter Knútr declares that in Rome the pope, the emperor, and the attendant nobles omnes me et honorifice suscepere et muneribus pretiosis honorauere ‘all both received me with honour and honoured me with precious gifts’ (Darlington and McGurk 1995-, II, 514-15).

grammar

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