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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

7. Anonymous Poems, Sólarljóð, 78 [Vol. 7, 352-3]

[4] hjartarhorn ‘hart’s horn’: For Björn M. Ólsen (1915, 51-2) the horn is a surface on which the runes of the next st. are carved; for Bugge and Paasche (1914a, 159 and 1914b, 71) the hart’s horn is the weapon used in Christ’s (the sólar hjört ‘hart of the sun’ of st. 55) fight with the devil in serpent or dragon form, i.e. the Cross. After this he casts off his old horns and grows new ones, a token of redemption which he brings out of the grave-mound in l. 4. Falk (1914a, 51-2) cites Anon Mhkv 8/4III: Niðjungr skóf af haugi horn ‘Niðjungr shaved (sc. brought into being a new) horn from the mound’, suggesting that the horn is the horn of our salvation (cornu salutis nobis) of Luke I.69, though Amory (1985, 24 n. 42 and 1990, 262 n. 43) argues that in this st. the word horn means the corner of the haugr. Cf. also Hávm 139 where Óðinn brings up occult wisdom from below. Amory (1985, 12; 1990, 261) suggests that the runes carry the message of sin and its consequences from beyond the grave (haugr) and are to be equated with the Gospel. Brennecke’s suggestion that the reference is to Christ the unicorn has little merit.

references

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