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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

1. 37. Sigvatr Þórðarson, 3. Austrfararvísur, 11 [Vol. 1, 599]

[6] ferri Dǫnum ‘farther from Danes’: There is no universally agreed explanation for this phrase. Beckman (1923, 331, but cf. Beckman 1934, 212-13) explains it as meaning ‘along the way from the Danes’, i.e. after passing Stora Hov, Sigvatr took the road from Lödöse and Halland, which was then Danish territory. Barði Guðmundsson (1927, 549-50) supposes that Sigvatr composed this stanza on the return journey from Västergötland, which, he argues, was then under Danish control. Sahlgren (1927-8, I, 187-8; similarly Turville-Petre, 1976, 80) suggests that the import of the remark is that the political situation of the day was such that it would have been dangerous for Sigvatr to travel anywhere near Danish territory. Schreiner (1927-9c, 42-3) imagines that an earlier phase of the journey took Sigvatr sailing through Øresund, with Danish territory on both sides. The eds of Hkr 1991 suggest that Sigvatr may have had in mind that the Swedes and their king would turn out to be more effective opponents to King Óláfr than the Danes had been. Frank (1978, 74) interprets the phrase to mean ‘inland’, i.e. ‘away from the seaboard which was largely Danish territory’. See also Toll (1925, 157-8).


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