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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

1. 18. Einarr skálaglamm Helgason, 2. Vellekla, 13 [Vol. 1, 299]

[1, 2, 3] síma silkis grundar brúna ‘of the silken band of the land of the brows [HEAD > HEADBAND]’: Silk had been imported from Byzantium, and to a lesser extent from China, since the C8th (Mayerhofer 2005, 122-3). Clothing, headdresses, and headbands made of silk have been recovered from graves, especially in Birka (Sweden) and in Mammen (Jutland), in which decorative ornaments of silver, gold and silk are taken to have symbolized social standing (Hägg 1991; Hägg 2000, 619). The silk band worn by Hákon jarl must indicate high status, but it is uncertain whether it was specifically the emblem of a ruler (so Konráð Gíslason 1895-7, I, 120; Ohlmarks 1958, 371). KormǪ Sigdr 3/1III and Egill Arkv 19/1-4V (Eg 115) mention similar bands but do not resolve the issue.


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