Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Eskál Vell 22I/4 — sjau ‘seven’

Ok til móts á Meita
mjúkhurðum framm þurðu
með svǫrgœli Sǫrva
sjau landrekar randa.
Glumði allr, þás Ullar
eggþings Heðins veggjar
— gnótt flaut nás fyr nesjum —
Nóregr, saman fóru.

Ok sjau landrekar þurðu framm á mjúkhurðum Meita til móts randa með Sǫrva svǫrgœli. Allr Nóregr glumði, þás Ullar veggjar Heðins fóru saman eggþings; gnótt nás flaut fyr nesjum.

And seven commanders rushed onwards aboard the pliant doors of Meiti <sea-king> [SHIPS] to the meeting of shields [BATTLE] with the gladdener of the bird of Sǫrvi <sea-king> [RAVEN/EAGLE > WARRIOR]. All of Norway resounded, when the Ullar <gods> of the wall of Heðinn <legendary hero> [SHIELD > WARRIORS] crashed together in the blade-assembly [BATTLE]; an abundance of corpses was floating off the headlands.


[4] sjau: sjá 54, Bb


[4] sjau landrekar ‘seven commanders’: Snorri Sturluson explains the word landreki in Skm (SnE 1998, I, 101) as one who leads a host into the realm of another king or drives a host out of his own realm. However, this implied derivation from reka ‘drive’ is probably wrong (Faulkes, SnE 1998, I, 220), as is the derivation from *landríkr ‘land-ruler’ in LP: landreki. The word more likely derives from rekja ‘to straighten out’ (ÍO: 2 ‑reki; AEW: reki 2) and means ‘commander’, cf. for instance HHund I 32/3. These leaders have been identified either as seven commanders allied with Hákon or as commanders of the two opposing hosts. Their number, seven, is most likely connected to the seven fylki under Hákon’s rule (st. 13), each coming from a different fylki.



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