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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to Sigv Austv 10I

[6] á mó hagþorns ‘on the hawthorn’s moor [LAND]’: The point is that ships are drawn up onto land at the onset of winter – and so is the poet as he rides reluctantly on his mission. (a) The phrase adequately conveys the sense ‘dry land’. As a kenning it is not very convincing, but the alternatives are arguably not more so. (b) Kock (NN §628) interprets gen. hagþorns adjectivally to mean ‘overgrown with hawthorns’, so that hagþorns is not a kenning (so also ÍF 27). (c) Finnur Jónsson (Skj B, but cf. LP: hagþorn) construes hagþorns with hestar Ekkils ‘the horses of Ekkill <sea-king> [SHIPS]’ in l. 5; but it is superfluous in that kenning, and there is no apparent reason to associate hawthorns with ships. (d) Meissner 88 suggests emending to mar ‘sea’, producing an eccentric kenning but one that would have logic as the inverse of the pattern láð þangs ‘land of sea-weed [SEA]’. The range of the hawthorn in Norway and Sweden has played a role in attempts to identify Sigvatr’s route for the journey and the season of his departure: see Beckman (1923, 331); Beckman (1934, 213); Edqvist (1943, 70-1).


  1. Bibliography
  2. Skj B = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1912-15b. Den norsk-islandske skjaldedigtning. B: Rettet tekst. 2 vols. Copenhagen: Villadsen & Christensen. Rpt. 1973. Copenhagen: Rosenkilde & Bagger.
  3. NN = Kock, Ernst Albin. 1923-44. Notationes Norrœnæ: Anteckningar till Edda och skaldediktning. Lunds Universitets årsskrift new ser. 1. 28 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. ÍF 26-8 = Heimskringla. Ed. Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson. 1941-51.
  7. Beckman, Nat. 1923. ‘Til Sigvats Austrfararvísur’. ANF 39, 321-32.
  8. Beckman, Nat. 1934. ‘Ytterligare om Sigvats Austrfararvísur’. ANF 50, 197-217.
  9. Edqvist, Torgny. 1943. ‘De geografiska problemen i Sigvat Tordssons Austrfararvísur’. NoB 31, 62-71.


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