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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

7. Anonymous Poems, Líknarbraut, 42 [Vol. 7, 278]

[2] sigrstoð ‘victory-post [CROSS]’: Cf. -stólpi ‘pillar’ 41/3. The kenning (cited by Meissner, 432) may well be a translation of Lat. trop(h)aeum ‘victory memorial’ (originally a tree trunk bedecked with captured arms), a common appellative of the Cross. (Cf. the Gk cognate σταυρου̂ τρόπαιον ‘trophy of the Cross’ in Eusebius’ account of Constantine’s dream, by which sign the emperor was instructed to conquer [De vita Constantini I, 28 in Winkelmann 1991, 30]. See, e.g., Fortunatus’ Pange lingua, st. 2: et super crucis trophaeo dic triumphum nobilem ‘and over the trophy of the Cross, sound the noble triumph’ (Bulst 1956, 128), in which trophaeo alliterates (with triumphum) just as does sigrstoð (with sétt and sína). (In his Genesis commentary, Alcuin also refers to crucis trophaeum. Alcuinus, Epistolae XCVII, col. 307.) On the early history of the Cross as trophaeum, see Reijners 1965, 192-3.


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