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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

2. Gísl Illugason, 1. Erfikvæði about Magnús berfœttr, 8 [Vol. 2, 421-2]

[4] þanns konungr bœtti ‘which the king had improved’: Skj B translates this cl. as som han gav dem ‘which he gave them’. However, the verb bœta (bœtti, 3rd pers. sg. pret. indic.) means ‘improve’ and not ‘give’ (see NN §2269). The sense of this half-st. is that Magnús had previously established a law for the merchants, which he now finalised. Alternatively, ‘the king’ could refer to Magnús’s cousin, Hákon Magnússon, who promulgated new and improved laws for the people of Trøndelag and Opplandene before he died in 1094 (see ÍF 29, 42 and n. 1, 302; ÍF 28, 211; Mork 1928-32, 297).

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