Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to Þhorn Gldr 1I

[5-8]: This helmingr has likewise been subject to numerous interpretations. All agree on the sentence structure produced by the base-words of the kennings: áðr rausnarsamr ... gnýstœrandi fœri skíðum ... til rimmu ‘before the magnificent increaser of the noise ... sailed into battle with the skis ...’, but four different ways of associating the numerous genitives with the respective kennings have been considered. (a) The arrangement presented above follows Finnur Jónsson (Hkr 1893-1901, IV). It involves a minimal emendation of -salar ‘of the hall’ to sólar ‘of the sun’ in l. 5. (b) Very similar is Fidjestøl’s suggestion (1982, 76), which reverses the determinants of the two ship-kennings to produce ríðviggs lagar ‘of the riding horse of the sea’ for the first kenning, and skíðum Gripnis ‘with the skis of Gripnir’ for the second. This edn nonetheless prefers interpretation (a) because one would expect the contiguous gnapsólar (ms. gnapsalar) Gripnis (l. 5) to belong to the same kenning. (c) Kock (NN §229, followed in ÍF 26 and Hkr 1991) seeks to avoid emendation in the first kenning by reading gnýstœrandi gnapsalar Gripnis ‘the increaser of the noise of the jutting hall of Gripnir <sea-king> [SHIELD > BATTLE > WARRIOR]’. This is convincing in itself, but entails also reading skíðum ríðviggs lagar ‘on the skis of the riding horse of the sea [SHIP]’. This would be a kind of interpreted metaphor, in that the ship-kenning explains the metaphor ‘skis’, but such constructions are unusual in skaldic poetry.


  1. Bibliography
  2. NN = Kock, Ernst Albin. 1923-44. Notationes Norrœnæ: Anteckningar till Edda och skaldediktning. Lunds Universitets årsskrift new ser. 1. 28 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  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. Hkr 1991 = Bergljót S. Kristjánsdóttir et al., eds. 1991. Heimskringla. 3 vols. Reykjavík: Mál og menning.


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