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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Sigv Nesv 11I/6 — mǫrg ‘Many’

Þess getk meir, at missi
morðôrr, sás fór norðan,
harða margr í hǫrðum
heimkvômu styr þeima.
Sǫkk af sunda blakki
sunnu mǫrg til grunna
(satts, at Sveini mœttum)
samknúta (vér úti).

Getk þess meir, at harða margr morðôrr, sás fór norðan, missi heimkvômu í þeima hǫrðum styr. Mǫrg samknúta sunnu sǫkk af blakki sunda til grunna; satts, at vér mœttum Sveini úti.

I declare this, moreover, that very many a battle-envoy [WARRIOR], who travelled from the north, will be missing out on his homecoming in that hard battle. Many a one joined with the sun sank from the dark steed of the sounds [SHIP] to the bottom; true it is, that we met Sveinn offshore.


[6] mǫrg: ‘morgt’ Holm2, margr R686ˣ, J1ˣ, J2ˣ, 325VI, 75a, 73aˣ, 78aˣ, Bb


[6, 8] mǫrg samknúta sunnu ‘many a one joined with the sun’: The phrase samknúta sunnu, although kenning-like, remains mysterious, and none of the available solutions is wholly satisfactory. (a) Just conceivably, Sigvatr is stigmatising the Trøndelag faction as heathen sun-worshippers (‘adherents of the sun’): on sun-worship in Norway, see Jón Hnefill Aðalsteinsson (1997, 126-9). The tenacity of Trøndelag and contiguous regions in maintaining pre-Christian worship under the Hlaðajarlar was notorious. The f. gender of samknúta would be unusual, and presumably insulting, in reference to warriors. (b) Finnur Jónsson’s tentative ‘knuckle-bone of the sun of the sea [GOLD > MAN (?)]’ (Hkr 1893-1901, IV; Skj B; also ÍF 27), is unconvincing. (c) Hjelmqvist (1913, 7), followed by Kock (NN §622), emends sunnu to sunnan, linking this with the variant reading margr so as to result in mången söderifrå ‘many from the south’; in this analysis the cpd samknúta is used substantively, to mean ‘[ships] bound together’ (1913, 19). This produces good sense but the presumed corruption of sunnan would be difficult to account for.



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