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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

2. Arnórr jarlaskáld Þórðarson, 5. Haraldsdrápa, 11 [Vol. 2, 272-3]

[4] hlítstyggr ‘shunning mediocrity’: This cpd adj. occurs in only one other context, Steinþ Frag l. 4III, where it is applied to Óðinn. Styggr ‘shy of, shunning’ is recorded in compounds with first elements meaning ‘delay’ (bilstyggr), ‘flight’ (flóttstyggr, flugstyggr) or ‘guile/harm’ (læstyggr, meinstyggr). The meaning of hlít- is more elusive. (a) Hlít f. ‘sufficiency’ and hlíta við ‘suffice, do’ suggest the meaning ‘shunning (mere) sufficiency, mediocrity’, i.e. ‘energetic, zealous’, adopted above for hlítstyggr, and this finds support in the adj. óhlítuligr ‘not trivial, great’ applied to the battle of Århus (Áróss) in Okík Magn 1/6. (b) The verb hlíta, governing the dat., can mean ‘rely on’. Hlítstyggr could therefore mean ‘shunning reliance (on others), relying solely on himself’, as in the adj. einhlítr, lit. ‘one-reliant, sole-relying’.


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