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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to Glúmr Lv 1I

[2] berdraugar hjǫrs ‘the bare logs of the sword [WARRIORS]’: Draugr is assumed here, as in previous eds, to mean ‘log’, but ‘revenant, ghost’ is also possible (cf. Meissner 264-5 and Note to ÞHjalt Lv 1/5). The interpretation of ber- is also uncertain. (a) It is taken here as ber- ‘bare’, qualifying the metaphorical draugar ‘logs’ by hinting at the actual referent: these are logs without bark, i.e. humans; cf. a similar use of barklaust ‘barkless’ to qualify a warrior-kenning in Hfr Óldr 2/6 (and see Note). Ber- could also imply ‘without defence’, which would be appropriate to dying warriors. (b) Previous eds (see Hkr 1893-1901, IV; ÍF 26) take ber- in the sense ‘carrying’ (cf. the strong verb bera). Verbal elements attached to the base-words of kennings are normally derivatives of weak ‑jan verbs with a long root syllable and have a suffix ‑i, though other types occur, rarely (Meissner 280-2). A possible parallel is berdraugr auðs ‘carrying log of wealth [MAN]’ in GunnLeif Merl I 94/4VIII, though the ms. reads ‘ben’. On ber- see also Konráð Gíslason (1892, 67). (c) The variant ben- would produce an overdetermined warrior-kenning meaning ‘wound-logs of the sword’.

References

  1. Bibliography
  2. 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.
  3. ÍF 26-8 = Heimskringla. Ed. Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson. 1941-51.
  4. Hkr 1893-1901 = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1893-1901. Heimskringla: Nóregs konunga sǫgur af Snorri Sturluson. 4 vols. SUGNL 23. Copenhagen: Møller.
  5. Konráð Gíslason, ed. 1892. Udvalg af oldnordiske skjaldekvad, med anmærkninger. Copenhagen: Gyldendal.
  6. Internal references
  7. Russell Poole (ed.) 2017, ‘Breta saga 162 (Gunnlaugr Leifsson, Merlínusspá I 94)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 127.
  8. Diana Whaley (ed.) 2012, ‘Þorvaldr Hjaltason, Lausavísur 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. 271.
  9. Diana Whaley (ed.) 2012, ‘Hallfreðr vandræðaskáld Óttarsson, Óláfsdrápa 2’ 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. 393.

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