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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

1. 37. Sigvatr Þórðarson, 3. Austrfararvísur, 4 [Vol. 1, 589]

[1] Hofs ‘Hof’: The status of this is uncertain. (a) Snorri plainly regards Hof as a proper name (see Context above). Hof is common as a simplex p. n. (as well as prefixed by names of heathen gods), and there are various possible identifications. Some have identified the place with Stora Hov, 23 kilometres south-west of Skara, while if Sigvatr came from Sognefjorden, the reference could be to Hov, on the north-eastern shore of Randsfjorden in Norway (so, tentatively, Edqvist 1943, 65), and if he passed to the east of Lake Vänern, the reference would be to Hova, on the southern shore of Skagern, in Sweden (so Patzig 1930b, 90). Toll (1924, 551-2), supposing Sigvatr set out from Trondheimsfjorden, locates a Hov in the parish of Sødorp in Nordre Fron, Gudbrandsdalen, in Norway, and he presents evidence that the area remained heathen until a late date. (Locating Hof in Norway would have consequences for the interpretation of st. 14: see Note to [All].) (b) Others read hofs, a common noun referring to a heathen temple or cult site (e.g. Noreen 1922a, 75, followed by Jón Skaptason 1983, 85; Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson, ÍF 27, 137 n., though he capitalizes the word in the text; cf. Beckman 1923, 330-1). The Christian Sigvatr might have been expected to avoid such a site (so Finnur Jónsson 1932, 12; see also de Vries 1932-3, 169-70), though there is evidence for farms used for blót ‘ritual sacrifice’ (Lidén 1993, 639) as well as for specifically religious buildings (Kaliff 2007).


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