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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to Mgóð Lv 1II

[4] garð of hestreðr ‘a fence around horse-phalli’: According to LP: garðr 6, this apparently meant ‘wrap the phallus of a horse so that it could not mate’. A more practical explanation is that it refers to the custom of separating the stallions from the mares by putting them in a separate, fenced-off pasture. Erik Noreen’s attempt to connect the phrase with a pagan phallus cult is not persuasive (Noreen 1922, 51). The l. may allude to Sigurðr sýr’s fondness for farm activities (see Flat 1860-8, II, 12; ÍF 27, 41), but the veiled insult is clearly of a sexual nature (making a fence, a ‘ring’ around horse-phalli), implying that Sigurðr sýr, in keeping with his feminised nickname, had been the passive partner in sexual intercourse with stallions (see SnH Lv 11; see also Hjǫrtr Lv 1-3). For legal punishments incurred by poetic insults, see Andersson and Gade 2000, 474.

References

  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. Andersson, Theodore M. and Kari Ellen Gade, trans. 2000. Morkinskinna: The Earliest Icelandic Chronicle of the Norwegian Kings (1030-1157). Islandica 51. Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press.
  4. Flat 1860-8 = Gudbrand Vigfusson [Guðbrandur Vigfússon] and C. R. Unger, eds. 1860-8. Flateyjarbók. En samling af norske konge-sagaer med indskudte mindre fortællinger om begivenheder i og udenfor Norge samt annaler. 3 vols. Christiania (Oslo): Malling.
  5. ÍF 26-8 = Heimskringla. Ed. Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson. 1941-51.
  6. Noreen, Erik. 1922a. Studier i fornvästnordisk diktning: Andra samlingen. Uppsala Universitets årsskrift, filosofi, språkvetenskap och historiska vetenskaper 4. Uppsala: Akademiska bokhandeln.
  7. Internal references
  8. Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2009, ‘Hjǫrtr, Lausavísur 1’ in Kari Ellen Gade (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 2: From c. 1035 to c. 1300. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 2. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 344-6.
  9. Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2009, ‘Sneglu-Halli, Lausavísur 11’ in Kari Ellen Gade (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 2: From c. 1035 to c. 1300. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 2. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 331-2.

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