Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to Sigv Víkv 7I

[7-8] es arfvǫrðr Haralds olli starfi ‘where the guardian of Haraldr’s inheritance [= Óláfr] caused exertion’: As noted in ÍF 27, the subordinate clause could be taken with either of the other clauses in the helmingr. The analysis of the kenning is uncertain. (a) Structurally, it is taken here as a simple kenning in which arfvǫrðr, lit. ‘inheritance-guardian’ is equivalent to arfi ‘heir’, frequent in kennings (LP: arfi). It is assumed that the kenning designates Óláfr as the son of his father Haraldr grenski ‘from Grenland’ Guðrøðarson (so also Krag 1989, 297-8). (b) It has often been interpreted as a reference to Óláfr’s distant ancestor Haraldr hárfagri ‘Fair-hair’ and his unification of Norway. If so, the phrase could be construed as an inverted tvíkent kenning, ‘the guardian of the inheritance of Haraldr [NORWAY > = Óláfr]’.


  1. Bibliography
  2. 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.
  3. ÍF 26-8 = Heimskringla. Ed. Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson. 1941-51.
  4. Krag, Claus. 1989. ‘Norge som odel i Harald hårfagres ætt’. HT(N) 68, 288-302.


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