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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

1. 19. Tindr Hallkelsson, Hákonardrápa, 1 [Vol. 1, 338]

[7-8] riðmarar rastar Róða ‘the riding horses of the path of Róði <sea-king> [SEA > SHIPS]’: For Róði, see Þul Sea-kings 1/5III and Note, and Þul Sækonunga 3/7III. (a) This is the standard analysis (cf. LP (1860): röst; ÍF 26). (b) It is not clear how the interpretation of the helmingr in SnE, as exemplifying the kenning serkr Róða, was arrived at but, as Faulkes (SnE 1998, I, 195) comments, although ‘Róða serkr could well be a kenning for coat of mail, it does not seem to be recorded as such in any extant verse, and in this verse it is difficult to see how Róða can belong with any other word than rastar’. Sveinbjörn Egilsson (SnE 1848-87, I, 423, III, 78), followed by Finnur Jónsson (1886b, 322; Hkr 1893-1901, IV; Skj B), nevertheless attempted a defence of serkr Róða by interpreting rastar as from rǫst ‘whirlpool, current’ (LP: 2. rǫst) instead of from rǫst ‘unit of distance, way, path’ (LP: 1. rǫst). This produces a correct ship-kenning riðmarar rastar ‘riding horses of the current’, but it leaves Hanga without a function and in Skj B and LP: rǫst 1 Finnur opted for the analysis shown as (a) above.

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