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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Þul Fiska 4III/2 — vartarivartari

Þyrsklingr, ufsi,         þorskr, vartari,
grunnungr, gedda,         gjǫlnir, keila,
áll ok karfi,         krabbi, geirsíl,
hár ok goðlax,         hornsíl, ígull.

Þyrsklingr, ufsi, þorskr, vartari, grunnungr, gedda, gjǫlnir, keila, áll ok karfi, krabbi, geirsíl, hár ok goðlax, hornsíl, ígull.

Codling, coalfish, cod, vartari, shallows-dweller, pike, gilled one, tusk, eel and carp, crab, garfish, shark and moonfish, stickleback, sea-urchin.


[2] vartari: ‘[…]ari’ B, ‘uartari’ 744ˣ


[2] vartari (m.): Lit. ‘warty one’. The referent of this heiti has not been identified. Nordgaard (1912, 62) suggests that vartari may be the term for a kind of vortefisk ‘wart-fish’, possibly ‘sculpin’. Vartari is also the name of the thong that was used to stitch up Loki’s mouth in Old Norse myth (Skm, SnE 1998, I, 43). As a fish-heiti the word is not found elsewhere, unless it is the same word as -vartarir in holtvartarir (Anon (Ldn) 4b/7V (Bárð 6)), a kenning for ‘serpent’, which can be translated either as ‘forest-fish’ or as ‘forest-thong’ (both meanings are suitable as a base-word in this kenning). Based on this kenning-type, Kristensen (1917, 112) argues that vartari might have been included in the list of heiti for ‘fish’ by mistake, i.e. owing to misinterpretation of a base-word that was normally represented both by terms for ‘thong’ (e.g. þvengr) and for ‘fish’.



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