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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

1. 28. Hallfreðr vandræðaskáld Óttarsson, 2. Erfidrápa Óláfs Tryggvasonar, 12 [Vol. 1, 418]

[3-4] bráðan Heðins rekka bekkdóm ‘the headlong judgement of the bench of the champions of Heðinn <legendary hero> [(lit. ‘bench-judgement of the champions of Heðinn’) = Hjaðningar > SHIELD > BATTLE]’: (a) Bekkr m. ‘bench’ is here taken as the base-word of a shield-kenning cf. brík ‘slab’, flet ‘platform’, setr ‘seat’ (Meissner 167, 169). Heðins rekka ‘the champions of Heðinn [= Hjaðningar]’ is then a minor elaboration of the pattern in which legendary heroes provide the determinant of shield-kennings. (b) Alternatively, bekkdómr ‘bench-judgement’ could be taken as a single kenning element, the base-word of a battle-kenning; so LP: bekkdómr, suggesting it is a final judgement, such as would be delivered by judges from their benches. But the cpd is otherwise unattested, and there is no evidence for the association of judges with bekkir. (c) Flat’s reading ‘brekk’ could yield brekdómr ‘deceit’, also unattested but cf. breksekð ‘deceptive sentence of outlawry’ (ONP: breksekð), and svikdómr ‘treachery’, Mark Eirdr 13/3II. Firðisk vætr bráðan brekdóm rekka Heðins ‘did not avoid the sudden deceit of the champions of Heðinn [WARRIORS]’ could then refer to Sigvaldi’s luring of Óláfr into battle, and would contrast with the sǫnn sǫk ‘true cause’ attributed to Óláfr in the second helmingr.

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