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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

1. 24. Þorleifr jarlsskáld Rauðfeldarson, 3. Drápa about Sveinn tjúguskegg, 1 [Vol. 1, 374]

[2] ǫðlings rǫðla himins ‘of the Lord of the discs of the sky [HEAVENLY BODIES > = God]’: The kenning rǫðla himins is at first sight unsatisfactory, since rǫðull can itself mean ‘sun’ or (in pl.) ‘heavenly bodies’, but rǫðull may have the more specific meaning ‘disc, circle’, deriving from its etymological links with words denoting circular objects (AEW: rǫðull 1). Fidjestøl (1982, 102) thinks this kenning seems young, and it is true that non-mythological kennings for the heavenly bodies (including some using hvél ‘wheel’ as base-word) are more frequent in late, especially Christian, poetry (Meissner 103-4, 378-82), though it is possible that the present stanza is an early instance of this trend.


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