Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to Gsind Hákdr 8I

[8] byr kvánar óls mána ‘fair wind of the wife of the affliction of the moon [GIANT > GIANTESS > MIND]’: This kenning is clearly of the well-known type ‘wind of the giantess [MIND/THOUGHT]’, but it has caused difficulty because of the significant variance in ms. readings. (a) The explanation adopted in this edn is due to Björn Magnússon Ólsen (1886, 195-203, followed by ÍF 26). The reading óls (found only in J1ˣ, J2ˣ) is adopted. This is gen. sg. of the rare ól n., whose etymological sense is ‘pestilence, affliction’ (see AEW: ól 2 and Note to ÞSkall Valfl 1/8II, where it appears to have the meaning ‘troll-woman’). The kenning apparently alludes to the Mánagarmr ‘hound of the moon’, a giant in the likeness of a wolf who will swallow the sun (and/or moon) according to Gylf (SnE 2005, 14; cf. ÍF 26), although the evidence for this figure prior to SnE is equivocal (SnE 2005, 172). (b) Finnur Jónsson (1884, 93; Hkr 1893-1901, IV; LP: óskkvôn, máni; Skj B, followed by Skald; Hkr 1991) instead selects ósk ‘wish’, the reading of F, and reads byr óskkvánar mána ‘fair wind of the desired/desiring woman of Máni/the moon [GIANTESS > MIND]’, but corruption of this easily interpreted reading to óls or óðs would be unlikely, and there is no direct evidence that Máni ‘moon’ had giant status (SnE 2005, 13; Björn Magnússon Ólsen 1886, 196-200; ÍF 26). See Egill St 13/2V (Eg 84) for a similar, also problematic, context containing the words byr and mána .


  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. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  4. AEW = Vries, Jan de. 1962. Altnordisches etymologisches Wörterbuch. 2nd rev. edn. Rpt. 1977. Leiden: Brill.
  5. 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.
  6. ÍF 26-8 = Heimskringla. Ed. Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson. 1941-51.
  7. Hkr 1893-1901 = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1893-1901. Heimskringla: Nóregs konunga sǫgur af Snorri Sturluson. 4 vols. SUGNL 23. Copenhagen: Møller.
  8. Hkr 1991 = Bergljót S. Kristjánsdóttir et al., eds. 1991. Heimskringla. 3 vols. Reykjavík: Mál og menning.
  9. SnE 2005 = Snorri Sturluson. 2005. Edda: Prologue and Gylfaginning. Ed. Anthony Faulkes. 2nd edn. University College London: Viking Society for Northern Research.
  10. Finnur Jónsson. 1884. Kritiske studier over en del af de ældste norske og islandske skjaldekvad. Copenhagen: Gyldendal.
  11. Björn Magnússon Ólsen. 1886. ‘Bemærkninger til to vers af Guthormr Sindre’. ÅNOH, 190-203.
  12. Internal references
  13. Edith Marold 2017, ‘Snorra Edda (Prologue, Gylfaginning, Skáldskaparmál)’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols [check printed volume for citation].
  14. Not published: do not cite (GylfIII)
  15. Not published: do not cite (Egill St 13V (Eg 84))
  16. Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2009, ‘Þorkell Skallason, Valþjófsflokkr 1’ 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. 382-3.


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