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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

1. 29. Bárðr á Upplǫndum, Lausavísa, 1 [Vol. 1, 442]

[3] skalpgrana ‘to a sheath-mouth’: Grani is otherwise unknown, except as the name of the hero Sigurðr’s horse, but may be from grǫn f. ‘moustache, lips’, here translated ‘mouth’. Skalp- here may be either of two words: (a) Skalpr m. ‘sheath (of a sword)’. The cpd Skalp-Grani appears in the C14th Króka-Refs saga as the name of a showy womanizer who is also referred to in coded word-play as Sverðhúss-Grani ‘Sword-house Grani’ (ÍF 14, 153, cf. 151 n. 2). The use elsewhere of sverð as a synonym for ‘penis’ (e.g. Grett Lv 33/1V (Gr 65)), suggests that sexual innuendo based on the ‘sheath’ meaning may be present in Króka-Refs saga (cf. Lat. vagina ‘sheath, scabbard’). In the present context, Þorvaldr is probably being likened to the receptive partner in anal intercourse in the usual níð fashion. (b) Previous eds (including the ed. of Króka-Refs saga in ÍF 14, cf. above) have preferred skalp n. ‘chatter’. Skalpgrani would then mean ‘chatterbox’ (NN §166) or even ‘boaster’ (Skj B; ÍF 9).


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