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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

2. Arnórr jarlaskáld Þórðarson, 2. Hrynhenda, Magnússdrápa, 9 [Vol. 2, 193-4]

[8] hjalma Peitu ‘helmets from Poitou’: The phrase is probably used metonymically here to refer to Magnús’s helmeted warriors. This is not paralleled elsewhere, although the personal names Hjálmr and Hjálmarr may have arisen from the notion that a man was the ‘helmet’ of his people. There is a precedent for the mention of a ‘Poitou-made helmet’, in Sigv Nesv 15/3, 4I (1016), and a French helmet appears in Sigv Nesv 5/6I. Arms from Poitou were apparently renowned, for peita came to be used in poetry as an appellative for ‘spear’.


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