This is a backup server for Any changes made here will be lost.

Cookies on our website

We use cookies on this website, mainly to provide a secure browsing experience but also to collect statistics on how the website is used. You can find out more about the cookies we set, the information we store and how we use it on the cookies page.

Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

login: password: stay logged in: help

Note to stanza

2. Arnórr jarlaskáld Þórðarson, 3. Magnússdrápa, 4 [Vol. 2, 212-13]

[4] gellir ‘howler’: This is a rare and problematic word. (a) One would expect from the verbs gella and gjalla the meaning ‘screecher, howler’ for the agent noun gellir, and this indeed fits the recorded usage. It is a derogatory nickname and, in the þulur, a heiti for ‘ox’ and ‘sword’ (Þul Øxna 3/5III, Þul Sverða 1/5III). In ModIcel. gellir is an appellative meaning ‘noisy, loud-voiced man’ (hávaðamaður; so Sigfús Blöndal 1920-4). Such a word could well suggest the empty bragging of a coward, and hence be an appropriate term for Sveinn, the enemy of the hero. If this is the meaning of gellir here, it must stand in apposition to armsvells hati ‘the hater of arm-ice [SILVER > GENEROUS MAN]’. (b) Gellir is also a proper name, and, as noted in his Biography above, Arnórr reputedly composed in memory of Gellir Þorkelsson. If gellir here were taken as an address to this or another Gellir, the dual poss. pron. in auðvin okkrum (l. 3), would be explained, especially since Gellir is said to have visited Magnús Óláfsson’s court and to have received lavish gifts from him (Laxdœla saga ch. 78, ÍF 5, 227-8). However, it would be curious if the encomiastic elegy for Magnús apostrophised another individual (especially in the light of þegi seimbrotar ‘let gold-breakers be silent’, st. 1). (c) Kock (NN §817) tentatively connects gellir with MHG gelle m. ‘contender, rival’ and emends ms. hate to gen. sg. hata so that armsvells hata gellir in l. 4 can be rendered ‘the rival of the hater of arm-ice [SILVER > GENEROUS MAN = Magnús > Sveinn]’. But on several counts this is unconvincing: (i) There is no evidence for ON gellir in this sense; (ii) MHG gelle is a weak noun, to which ON *gelli, not gellir, would be cognate (though Kock, in answer to this difficulty, cited ON doublets such as endi/endir and vísir/vísi); (iii) Gelle and its OHG counterpart are rare in German; (iv) the interpretation requires the slight emendation of ms. ‘hate’ to hata.


© Skaldic Project Academic Body, unless otherwise noted. Database structure and interface developed by Tarrin Wills. All users of material on this database are reminded that its content may be either subject to copyright restrictions or is the property of the custodians of linked databases that have given permission for members of the skaldic project to use their material for research purposes. Those users who have been given access to as yet unpublished material are further reminded that they may not use, publish or otherwise manipulate such material except with the express permission of the individual editor of the material in question and the General Editor of the volume in which the material is to be published. Applications for permission to use such material should be made in the first instance to the General Editor of the volume in question. All information that appears in the published volumes has been thoroughly reviewed. If you believe some information here is incorrect please contact Tarrin Wills with full details.

This is a backup server for Any changes made here will be lost.