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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

1. 13. Eyvindr skáldaspillir Finnsson, 1. Hákonarmál, 1 [Vol. 1, 174]

[2] Gautatýr ‘the god of the Gautar [= Óðinn]’: The Gautar were the inhabitants of Götaland, the Gēatas of the Old English Beowulf, though the term may be simply a heiti for humans in general (so de Vries 1934a, 37-8). Ninck (1935, 309) interprets it as referring to men as engenderers (connecting the word with ModGer. giessen ‘to pour’), and Meissner (Meissner 252) believes that such kennings originally referred to the ethnic group and its connection with Óðinn, but later became associated with the gods. Kuhn (1954, supported by Krause 1990, 32-3) argues that the word refers to sacrificial victims consecrated to the gods. The identity of týr in this and similar expressions for Óðinn is also uncertain. Snorri Sturluson (SnE 1998, I, 5) understands týr in compounds such as Sigtýr, Hangatýr and Farmatýr as the name of the god Týr, commenting that the name of one of the Æsir can be joined by an attribute or deed of a second god in order to refer to that second god, i.e. a god-name can be the base-word in a kenning for a different god. Accordingly, various eds and LP: týr 2 assume the god’s name and print the capitalised form Týr. However, a common noun meaning ‘god’, with sg. form týr corresponding to the well-attested pl. tívar ‘gods’, is also possible and may be indicated by the fact that týr alternates with goð ‘god’ in some Óðinn-names (as noted in Meissner 252). Several eds assume the common noun in the present instance of Gautatýr, including ÍF 26 and Hkr 1991, and the present edn assumes it in the group as a whole (so also Faulkes, SnE 1998, II, 514). 

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