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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to Eskál Vell 26I

[5, 6] valserkjar veðrhirði ‘the keeper of the weather of the shirt of the slain [(lit. ‘weather-keeper of the slain-shirt’) MAIL-SHIRT > BATTLE > WARRIOR = Hákon jarl]’: (a) Normally hirðir ‘keeper, protector, owner’ appears in connection with weapons, precious objects or the like, rather than with battle (see LP: 1. hirðir; cf. also Fritzner: hirða). For this reason most interpreters (Fms 12; Finnur Jónsson 1891a, 176; Hkr 1893-1901, IV; Konráð Gíslason 1895-7, I, 160; LP: veðrhirði) reverse the order of the kennings that form the determinant: hirði serkjar valveðrs ‘keeper of the shirt of the slain-weather [BATTLE > MAIL-SHIRT > WARRIOR]’. (b) This edn (with Vell 1865, 73; ÓT 1892, 378; Hkr 1991) leaves the kenning unaltered, understanding hirðir in the sense of nærir ‘nourisher’, cf. Glúmr Gráf 6/3 nærir naddskúrar ‘nourisher of the point-shower [BATTLE > WARRIOR]’. (c) In ÍF 26 veðr is rendered as a ‘ram’ charging the mail-shirt (valserkjar ‘of the shirt of the slain’), and this results in a sword-kenning which is conjoined to hirðir ‘owner’ to form a warrior-kenning ‘owner of the sword’. But this is unlikely because an animal name used as the base-word of a sword-kenning is always that of a harmful, aggressive animal such as a wolf, hound or bear (Meissner 155).

References

  1. Bibliography
  2. Fms = Sveinbjörn Egilsson et al., eds. 1825-37. Fornmanna sögur eptir gömlum handritum útgefnar að tilhlutun hins norræna fornfræða fèlags. 12 vols. Copenhagen: Popp.
  3. Meissner = Meissner, Rudolf. 1921. Die Kenningar der Skalden: Ein Beitrag zur skaldischen Poetik. Rheinische Beiträge und Hülfsbücher zur germanischen Philologie und Volkskunde 1. Bonn and Leipzig: Schroeder. Rpt. 1984. Hildesheim etc.: Olms.
  4. 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.
  5. Fritzner = Fritzner, Johan. 1883-96. Ordbog over det gamle norske sprog. 3 vols. Kristiania (Oslo): Den norske forlagsforening. 4th edn. Rpt. 1973. Oslo etc.: Universitetsforlaget.
  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. Konráð Gíslason. 1895-7. Efterladte skrifter. 2 vols. I: Forelæsninger over oldnordiske skjaldekvad. II: Forelæsninger og videnskablige afhandlinger. Copenhagen: Gyldendal.
  10. ÓT 1892 = Eggert Ó. Brím, ed. 1892. Saga Óláfs Tryggvasonar. Reykjavík: Ísafoldarprentsmiðja.
  11. Vell 1865 = Freudenthal, Axel Olof. 1865. Einar Skålaglams Vellekla / öfversatt och förklarad af Axel Olof Freudenthal. Helsingfors: Frenckell.
  12. Finnur Jónsson. 1891a. ‘Vellekla: Tekstkritiske bemærkninger’. ÅNOH, 147-82.
  13. Internal references
  14. Alison Finlay (ed.) 2012, ‘Glúmr Geirason, Gráfeldardrápa 6’ 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. 255.

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