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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

1. 35. Þórðr Kolbeinsson, Eiríksdrápa, 14 [Vol. 1, 508]

[6] of þingamǫnnum ‘over the þingamenn’: (a) This phrase is taken here with skulfu ‘shook’ (so Skj B; ÍF 27; ÍF 35). Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson (ÍF 27) notes that this most likely refers to Knútr’s men, and medieval Icelandic prose writers use this term for the band of Scandinavian retainers established by Knútr in England c. 1018 (see Note to Úlfr Lv 1/8II; ÍF 35, 100 n. 1). Such a sense is not certain here or in other C11th sources (Jesch 2001a, 192): Þórðr could be referring to the Scandinavian or English warriors, or both. (b) Poole (1987, 269-71), understanding þingamenn to refer to Knútr’s ‘elite corps’, construes the phrase with regn Þorins rekka rann, producing the reading, ‘the rain of Þorinn’s men ran over the þingamenn’, i.e. poetry was recited to them. Poole takes this as evidence of the poem’s delivery in England (see also Frank 1994b, 108). (c) Further possibilities are offered by af þingamǫnnum ‘from the þingamenn’, the reading of the Knýtl mss and several of the ÓH and ÓT mss. This phrase could be construed with Ulfkell fekk ýglig hǫgg, giving ‘Ulfkell received terrible blows from the þingamenn’ (so Skald). (d) Af þingamǫnnum could alternatively be construed with regn Þorins rekka rann, giving ‘the rain of Þorinn’s men ran from the þingamenn’, i.e. the þingamenn themselves recited poetry, for which see Anon Liðs.

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