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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

1. 28. Hallfreðr vandræðaskáld Óttarsson, 1. Óláfsdrápa, 2 [Vol. 1, 393]

[5, 6] barklaust birki bǫðserkjar ‘the barkless birches of the battle-shirt [MAIL-SHIRT > WARRIORS]’: Birki n. is a collective noun, hence the sg. refers in this kenning to several warriors. The epithet barklaust ‘barkless’ helps to clarify the referent: not trees but men, but it may also imply that the victorious Óláfr strips the enemy of their armour like a tree of its bark (so ÍF 26; ÍF 29; Hkr 1991). 


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