Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to Gsind Hákdr 8I

[1] raddar hjǫrva ‘of the voice of swords [BATTLE]’: This gen.-case phrase can be construed in various ways, each with merits and demerits. (a) In this edn it is treated as governed by hræddr, hence ‘afraid of battle’. Although hræddr is not normally followed by a gen. phrase, cf. gen. constructions meaning ‘brave in battle’ (Anon Óldr 1/1-2 and Note) and other adj. + gen. constructions in NS §§136-7; this is an appropriate description for Hákon’s opponents. (b) Finnur Jónsson (1884, 92-3; Hkr 1893-1901, IV; Skj B; followed in Hkr 1991) reads the phrase as part of a kenning þverrir malma raddar hjǫrva ‘diminisher of metals of the voice of swords [BATTLE > WEAPONS > WARRIOR]’. Finnur (1884, 93) notes that while malma can stand alone with an agentive noun such overladen kennings appear to be within Guthormr’s style. (c) Kock (NN §252, followed by ÍF 26) links the phrase to herr ‘army’, thus ‘army of battle’, citing analogues in OE poetry. Such a locution would be uncharacteristic of skaldic style, though the possibility of OE influence cannot be excluded (see Note to l. 8), and comparable circumlocutions are attested in later skaldic poetry, e.g. Mark Eirdr 19/1II heiðinn herr hǫmlu vígs ‘heathen host of the staff of battle [SPEAR]’, and cf. Introduction to Sturl HrafnII.


  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. NS = Nygaard, Marius. 1906. Norrøn syntax. Kristiania (Oslo): Aschehoug. Rpt. 1966.
  5. ÍF 26-8 = Heimskringla. Ed. Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson. 1941-51.
  6. Hkr 1893-1901 = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1893-1901. Heimskringla: Nóregs konunga sǫgur af Snorri Sturluson. 4 vols. SUGNL 23. Copenhagen: Møller.
  7. Hkr 1991 = Bergljót S. Kristjánsdóttir et al., eds. 1991. Heimskringla. 3 vols. Reykjavík: Mál og menning.
  8. Finnur Jónsson. 1884. Kritiske studier over en del af de ældste norske og islandske skjaldekvad. Copenhagen: Gyldendal.
  9. Internal references
  10. Kate Heslop (ed.) 2012, ‘Anonymous Poems, Óláfs drápa Tryggvasonar 1’ in Diana Whaley (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 1: From Mythical Times to c. 1035. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 1. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 1033.
  11. Kari Ellen Gade 2009, ‘(Introduction to) Sturla Þórðarson, Hrafnsmál’ in Kari Ellen Gade (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 2: From c. 1035 to c. 1300. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 2. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 727-45.
  12. Jayne Carroll (ed.) 2009, ‘Markús Skeggjason, Eiríksdrápa 19’ in Kari Ellen Gade (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 2: From c. 1035 to c. 1300. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 2. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 448-9.


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