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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

1. Anonymous Lausavísur, 8. Lausavísur from Vǫlsa þáttr, 4 [Vol. 1, 1095]

[3] gæddr líni ‘provided with linen’: Gæddr has been interpreted as parallel with the following studdr ‘supported’ in the sense that the phallus acquires a certain strength also through the linen, especially by being wrapped in it (Eitrem 1924, 85; Lehmann 1955, 166; Düwel 1971, 151; cf. F. Ström 1954, 23; F. Ström 1967, 88; Näsström 2002, 148). However, this does not agree with the prose text, which says that Vǫlsi is uncovered by the housewife. It is also clear from st. 11 that Vǫlsi is to be imagined as an aroused naked penis with the foreskin pulled back. Therefore the expression is to be understood rather in the sense of ‘provided, adorned with linen’, where the lín in the stanza corresponds to líndúkr ‘linen cloth’ in the prose text (cf. Heusler 1903, 25; Olsen and Schetelig 1909, 21; Skj B; Olsen 1917, IIb, 653; Johansson 1917, 120; Genzmer 2006, 218; Schröder 1924, 40, n. 1; Olrik and Ellekilde 1926-51, I, 167; Å. Ström and Biezias 1975, 146; Steinsland and Vogt 1981, 94). As for the role of linen in cults, cf. Heizmann (1992, 386-7).


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