Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to Anon (HSig) 8II

[5-6] svanni sviptir holdi manna sveiflankjapta ‘the woman tosses men’s flesh to the grinding jaw’: (a) Sveiflankjapta (m. dat. sg.) is taken here as an indeclinable adj. (lit. ‘the one with the grinding jaw’; see ANG §434). For the meaning sviptir ‘tosses’, see Fritzner: svipta 1. (b) The Hkr and Fsk versions have been construed as follows by earlier eds: svanni sviptir (FskAˣ: hefr svipt) sveiflannkjapta (FskAˣ: sveiflandkjapta) holdi manna ‘the woman tears (has torn) men’s flesh with grinding jaws (lit. ‘grinding-jawing’)’. Sveiflankjapta is then interpreted as an indeclinable adj. qualifying svanni (m. nom. sg.) ‘woman’ (sveiflankjapta ‘grinding the jaws’; see LP: sveiflandkjapti). That interpretation is, however, at odds with the Hkr prose, and we should also have expected the m. nom. sg. ending -i rather than -a (see ANG §434). (c) The Mork variant (svipts holdi manna í svarðar kjapta ‘men’s flesh is tossed into the hairy jaws’; so also H and Hr) is secondary.


  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. ANG = Noreen, Adolf. 1923. Altnordische Grammatik I: Altisländische und altnorwegische Grammatik (Laut- und Flexionslehre) unter Berücksichtigung des Urnordischen. 4th edn. Halle: Niemeyer. 1st edn. 1884. 5th unrev. edn. 1970. Tübingen: Niemeyer.
  4. 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.
  5. Internal references
  6. Kari Ellen Gade 2009, ‘Heimskringla (Hkr)’ 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 [check printed volume for citation].
  7. Diana Whaley 2012, ‘Fagrskinna (Fsk)’ 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, pp. clix-clxi.


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