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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Gsind Hákdr 5I/3 — Ónars ‘of Ónarr’

Ok sóknhattar setti
svellrjóðr at því fljóði
Ónars eiki grónu
austr geðbœti hraustan,
þann, es áðr frá Írum
íðvandr of kom skíðum
salbrigðandi Sveigðis
svanvangs liði þangat.

Ok sóknhattar svellrjóðr setti hraustan geðbœti austr at því fljóði Ónars, grónu eiki, þann, íðvandr Sveigðis salbrigðandi, es of kom áðr liði þangat frá Írum skíðum svanvangs.

And the reddener of the ice of the attack-hat [(lit. ‘ice-reddener of the attack-hat’) HELMET > SWORD > WARRIOR = Hákon] placed the valiant morale-improver [RULER = Tryggvi] in the east over that woman of Ónarr <giant> [= Jǫrð (jǫrð ‘land’)], grown with oak, that man, a diligent cleaver of the hall of Sveigðir <= Óðinn> [(lit. ‘diligent hall-cleaver of Sveigðir’) SHIELD > WARRIOR = Tryggvi], who had previously brought his following there from the Irish on the skis of the swan-plain [SEA > SHIPS].

readings

[3] Ónars: einars J1ˣ, J2ˣ, 61, Bb

notes

[1, 2-3] setti … at því fljóði Ónars ‘placed … over that woman of Ónarr <giant> [= Jǫrð (jǫrð “land”)]’: For discussion of forms of the name Ónarr see Finnur Jónsson (1884, 84-5) and Note to Þul Dverga 3/6III. The noun fljóð means ‘woman given to a man’ (see Note to Þul Kvenna I 1/3III), but the few other earth-kennings involving Ónarr refer to earth as his daughter (Meissner 87; ÍF 26). It may be that the variation of base-word from ‘daughter’ to ‘wife’ reflects conflation with earth-kennings based on the idea of ‘Óðinn’s spouse/concubine’. The metaphor of the marriage of ruler to land occurs in other poetry of the late C10th and early C11th (e.g. Eyv Hál 12, Hfr Hákdr 3-6III, Edáð Banddr 3; cf. SnE 1998, I, 158). The language may be purely figurative and conventional (cf. Frank 2007, 177, 190), but it has been regarded as pointing to an ancient rite of hieros gamos ‘sacred marriage’ (Ström 1983; Steinsland 1986b; Steinsland 1991; Steinsland 1992), perhaps even to a revival of such a cult under Hákon góði or more especially under the jarls of Hlaðir (Lade; e.g. Åkerblom 1899a, 271-2). The exact region placed under Tryggvi’s protection is not specified in the stanza. The prose narrative may be correct in mentioning Vík (Viken, the area around Oslofjorden), but Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson (ÍF 26) suggests that the reference might be to the Danish lands subjugated by Hákon in his campaign. The mention of oak forests would fit best with the Danish islands or the Skåne coast (cf. Price 2000b, 32, map).

kennings

grammar

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