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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to Þjóð Yt 14I

[6] trjónu farra ‘its weapon of the bull [HORN]’: This has been the subject of numerous interpretative efforts. (a) In summary, the case for the present interpretation is as follows. Trjóna is etymologically related to ON tré ‘tree, wood’ and can denote a wooden bar or rod (Fritzner: trjóna 2); cf. eintrjánungr ‘log boat (made of one piece of wood)’. The meaning ‘weapon’ is attested in Grott 18/2 (NK 300), hence Hendr scolo hǫndla harðar triónor, vápn valdreyrug ... ‘Hands will handle hard triónor, weapons bloody with battle-slain’ (see S-G II, 461; Kommentar III, 935-6) and possibly in Þjóð Haustl 17/7III trjóna trolls, which refers to the hammer Mjǫllnir and might be rendered as ‘the weapon of the troll’, i.e. weapon for use against the troll (Marold 1983, 173). Farri is only attested in ON prose in the meaning ‘vagabond, vagrant’ (Fritzner: farri), but Sigfús Blöndal (1920-4: farri) gives an obsolete meaning ‘bull’ along with the figurative meaning ‘vagabond’, and the word has Gmc cognates meaning ‘bull’ or ‘cow’ (see AEW: farri 3). The combination of trjóna ‘wooden rod, weapon’ with farri ‘bull’ yields a pattern of kenning Þjóðólfr uses frequently: ‘weapon of the bull’ to denote ‘horn’. (b) Trjóna may alternatively have the sense ‘snout’ (which is given as the first sense in LP, Fritzner: trjóna), either as a figurative extension of ‘rod’ or through confusion with its derivative trýni (on this see AEW: trjóna, trýni). The word occurs in Gsind Hákdr 2/3, where it seems to refer to a promontory, and in StarkSt Vík 33/4VIII (Gautr 41), in a list of ugly body parts. Finnur Jónsson (Hkr 1893-1901, IV; LP: trjóna), partly following Konráð Gíslason (1869, 52-3; 1881, 230), takes trjóna farra as ‘snout of the bull’ and flæmingr as the sword-heiti listed in Þul Sverða 7/2III, hence ‘horn’, but it is questionable whether a bull’s horn could be referred to as the ‘sword of the snout of the bull’. (c) Farri, as the animal that kills Egill, has been interpreted as ‘boar, pig’, e.g. by Schück (1905-10, 105-7, and cf. AEW: farri 4). Schück also notes that in the series of Swedish princes featured in Beowulf, Ongenþēow, the ruler who corresponds to Egill (see Note to l. 14 below), is killed by a man named Eofor, whose name in OE means ‘Boar’ (Beowulf ll. 2486-9, 2961-81; cf. Schück 1905-10, 120; Lindqvist 1936, 301).

References

  1. Bibliography
  2. AEW = Vries, Jan de. 1962. Altnordisches etymologisches Wörterbuch. 2nd rev. edn. Rpt. 1977. Leiden: Brill.
  3. 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.
  4. Sigfús Blöndal. 1920-4. Islandsk-dansk ordbog / Íslensk-dönsk orðabók. Reykjavík, Copenhagen and Kristiania (Oslo): Verslun Þórarins B. Þorlákssonar / Aschehoug.
  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. NK = Neckel, Gustav and Hans Kuhn (1899), eds. 1983. Edda: Die Lieder des Codex Regius nebst verwandten Denkmälern. 2 vols. I: Text. 5th edn. Heidelberg: Winter.
  7. Kommentar = von See, Klaus et al. 1997-. Kommentar zu den Liedern der Edda. 6 vols (continuing). Heidelberg: Winter.
  8. Konráð Gíslason. 1869. ‘De ældste runeindskrifters sproglige stilling’. ÅNOH, 35-148.
  9. Hkr 1893-1901 = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1893-1901. Heimskringla: Nóregs konunga sǫgur af Snorri Sturluson. 4 vols. SUGNL 23. Copenhagen: Møller.
  10. Marold, Edith. 1983. Kenningkunst: Ein Beitrag zu einer Poetik der Skaldendichtung. Quellen und Forschungen zur Sprach- und Kulturgeschichte der germanischen Völker, new ser. 80. Berlin: de Gruyter.
  11. S-G = Gering, Hugo. 1927-31. Kommentar zu den Liedern der Edda. Nach dem Tode des Verfassers herausgegeben von B. Sijmons. I: Götterlieder. II: Heldenlieder. Halle: Buchhandlung des Waisenhauses.
  12. Lindqvist, Sune. 1936. Uppsala högar och Ottarshögen. Stockholm: Wahlström & Widstrand.
  13. Schück, Henrik. 1905-10. Studier i Ynglingatal. Uppsala: Berling; Almqvist & Wiksell.
  14. Internal references
  15. Elena Gurevich (ed.) 2017, ‘Anonymous Þulur, Sverða heiti 7’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 802.
  16. Not published: do not cite ()
  17. Russell Poole (ed.) 2012, ‘Guthormr sindri, Hákonardrápa 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. 159.
  18. Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.) 2017, ‘Þjóðólfr ór Hvini, Haustlǫng 17’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 457.
  19. Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.) 2017, ‘Gautreks saga 41 (Starkaðr gamli Stórvirksson, Víkarsbálkr 33)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 286.
  20. Not published: do not cite ()

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