Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to Sigv Nesv 11I

[6, 8] mǫrg samknúta sunnu ‘many a one joined with the sun’: The phrase samknúta sunnu, although kenning-like, remains mysterious, and none of the available solutions is wholly satisfactory. (a) Just conceivably, Sigvatr is stigmatising the Trøndelag faction as heathen sun-worshippers (‘adherents of the sun’): on sun-worship in Norway, see Jón Hnefill Aðalsteinsson (1997, 126-9). The tenacity of Trøndelag and contiguous regions in maintaining pre-Christian worship under the Hlaðajarlar was notorious. The f. gender of samknúta would be unusual, and presumably insulting, in reference to warriors. (b) Finnur Jónsson’s tentative ‘knuckle-bone of the sun of the sea [GOLD > MAN (?)]’ (Hkr 1893-1901, IV; Skj B; also ÍF 27), is unconvincing. (c) Hjelmqvist (1913, 7), followed by Kock (NN §622), emends sunnu to sunnan, linking this with the variant reading margr so as to result in mången söderifrå ‘many from the south’; in this analysis the cpd samknúta is used substantively, to mean ‘[ships] bound together’ (1913, 19). This produces good sense but the presumed corruption of sunnan would be difficult to account for.


  1. Bibliography
  2. Skj B = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1912-15b. Den norsk-islandske skjaldedigtning. B: Rettet tekst. 2 vols. Copenhagen: Villadsen & Christensen. Rpt. 1973. Copenhagen: Rosenkilde & Bagger.
  3. NN = Kock, Ernst Albin. 1923-44. Notationes Norrœnæ: Anteckningar till Edda och skaldediktning. Lunds Universitets årsskrift new ser. 1. 28 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  4. ÍF 26-8 = Heimskringla. Ed. Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson. 1941-51.
  5. Hkr 1893-1901 = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1893-1901. Heimskringla: Nóregs konunga sǫgur af Snorri Sturluson. 4 vols. SUGNL 23. Copenhagen: Møller.
  6. Hjelmqvist, Theodor. 1913. Samknúta. Ett bidrag till tolkningen of Nesjavísur 10: 5-8. Lund: Gleerup.
  7. Jón Hnefill Aðalsteinsson. 1997. Blót í norrænum sið. Rýnt í forn trúarbrögð með þjóðfræðilegri aðferð. Reykjavík: Háskólaútgáfan Félagsvísindastofnun.


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