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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Rloð Lv 9VIII (Ragn 26)/4 — fimm ‘fifty’

Orrostur hefi ek áttar,
þær er ágætar þóttu
— görða ek mörgum mönnum
mein — fimm tigu ok eina.
Eigi hugðumz orma
at aldrlagi mínu;
* mjök verðr mörgu sinni,
þat er minst varir sjálfan.

Ek hefi áttar fimm tigu orrostur ok eina, þær er þóttu ágætar; ek görða mörgum mönnum mein. Hugðumz eigi orma at aldrlagi mínu; verðr * mjök mörgu sinni, þat er minst varir sjálfan.

I have engaged in fifty-one battles, which were reckoned magnificent; I did many people harm. I did not think that snakes would cause my death; very often that which oneself least expects comes to pass.


[4] fimm tigu: ʟ all


[4] fimm tigu ok eina ‘fifty-one’: Lit. ‘five tens and one’. In none of the surviving accounts of Ragnarr loðbrók can as many battles as this (in which he takes part) be counted. It is noteworthy that in folk narrative, as Olrik (1921, 75; 1992, 52) has indicated, the number five tends to signify ‘many’. It seems likely that the number fifty, as it occurs here and in Krm, was originally chosen to suggest a large number, and that ok eina ‘and one’ has been added in each case to fill out the line with a rhyming cadence. See further the second Note to Krm 28/2-4. 



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