Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Eskál Vell 24I/1 — gunnar ‘of battle’

Strǫng varð gunnr, áðr gunnar
gammi nás und hramma
þrøngvimeiðr of þryngvi
þrimr hundruðum lunda.
Knátti hafs at hǫfðum
— hagnaðr vas þat — bragna
folkeflandi fylkir
fangsæll þaðan ganga.

Gunnr varð strǫng, áðr þrøngvimeiðr lunda gunnar of þryngvi þrimr hundruðum und hramma gammi nás. Fangsæll folkeflandi fylkir knátti ganga þaðan hafs at hǫfðum bragna; þat vas hagnaðr.

The battle became intense before the oppressing-pole of trees of battle [WARRIORS > WARRIOR] pressed three hundred [men] under the claws of the vulture of the corpse [RAVEN/EAGLE]. The plunder-rich battle-supporting ruler was able to walk from there to the sea over the heads of men; that was an advantage.


[1] gunnar: gumnar F, 61, FskBˣ, gumar J1ˣ


[1, 3, 4] þrøngvimeiðr lunda gunnar ‘the oppressing-pole of trees of battle [WARRIORS > WARRIOR]’: To achieve a simpler word order, Kock (NN §405) takes lunda ‘of trees’ as a half-kenning meaning ‘of the men’, construing it with þrimr hundruðum ‘three hundreds’. However, half-kennings of this kind are rare and only occur later (see LP: 2. lundr; Reichardt 1930, 208-9). Moreover, semantic problems result within the warrior-kenning, which would then read ‘oppressing-pole of battle’, i.e. þrøngvi ‘oppressing’ would have gunnar ‘battle’ as its object. There are no warrior-kennings where the warrior oppresses battle, and therefore this and all other eds prefer the more complicated word order.




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