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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to Sigv Lv 15I

[2, 4] ofvægir jarli ‘too compliant towards the jarl [Hákon]’: (a) Ofvægr is in this instance assumed to be etymologically related to vægja ‘to yield’ and væginn ‘yielding’ (so Skj B; LP: ofvægr 2). (b) Normally, ofvægr is a laudatory epithet applied to rulers (see LP: ofvægr 1) and meaning ‘invincible’, lit. ‘outweighing, over-powerful’ (cf. vega ‘to weigh, move’, vægi n. ‘weight’, vægr adj. ‘balancing’). This sense could be reconciled with the context by assuming a transferred sense ‘(morally) too heavy, bearing a weight of blame’ and taking jarli as a dat. of comparison, hence ‘more culpable than the jarl, more than the jarl's equal in treachery’ (so ÍF 27), but these assumptions are somewhat strained. 

References

  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. LP = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1931. Lexicon poeticum antiquæ linguæ septentrionalis: Ordbog over det norsk-islandske skjaldesprog oprindelig forfattet af Sveinbjörn Egilsson. 2nd edn. Copenhagen: Møller.
  4. ÍF 26-8 = Heimskringla. Ed. Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson. 1941-51.

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