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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]

[6] blæti ‘offering’: Related to blót n. ‘worship, sacrifice’, which suggests a sacrificial offering. Three textual instances in sts 5/3, 13/4 and 13/8 provide unambiguous evidence that this word refers to Vǫlsi. It is presented as a ‘sacrificial offering’ to female deities or giantesses or to a male deity. According to the prose text, it is Vǫlsi itself that is venerated and considered a deity. The idea that the god Vǫlsi is offered to a god called Maurnir was inconceivable for Heusler (1903, 31-2), and therefore he saw it as an argument for separating þiggi Maurnir þetta blæti ‘may Maurnir receive this offering’ from the rest of the text as an ancient heathen ritual formula. While for Heusler (1903, 35) Vǫlsi was originally not the object but rather the means of veneration, others have presupposed the identity of Vǫlsi and Maurnir (see above) and referred to a sjálfr sjálfum ‘self to oneself’ sacrifice in this context (cf. Óðinn’s sacrifice in Hávm 138/6). Occasionally blæti has been interpreted as ‘worship’ (Düwel 1971, 196-7). However, this conflicts with sts 5/3-4 and 13/3-4, 7-8.

references

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