skaldic

Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

Menu Search

Note to Ótt Hfl 8I

[8] járnhringar gunnþinga ‘iron-rings of battle-meetings [MAIL-SHIRTS]’: The line (gunnþinga járnhringar in ms. order) raises a question of syllable count. W, the sole ms. of FGT, has sg. gunnþings here, and writes a clearly disyllabic ‘éärn’ for the first element of járnhringar, which might suggest a disyllabic form, though Hreinn Benediktsson’s view (FGT 1972a, 226 n.) is that ‘the accent and the diaeresis are surely later additions’. The First Grammarian comments that kveðandin skyldi hann til at slíta eina samstǫfu í sundr ok gøra tvær ór, til þess at kveðandi haldisk í hætti ‘the meter forced him [the poet] to split one syllable into two, so that the meter might remain intact’ (FGT 1972b, 20-1, trans. Haugen). However, the gen. pl. reading -þinga in the konungasǫgur mss supplies the necessary six syllables for the line and so is followed here, whereas Skj B adopts W’s archaic reading, as do Skald and ÍF 27. Skj B and ÍF 27 both translate járnhringar as ‘swords’. Hringr ‘ring’ often stands for ‘sword’ in skaldic diction (see Note to Þhorn Harkv 1/1), as does járn ‘iron’; cf. Kock’s (NN §728) klingor utav järn ‘blades of iron’. Rainford (1995, 66) argues instead that the gunnþinga járnhringar which sprungu ‘sprang apart’ are mail-shirts; this view is adopted here. For the use of hringr and járn in terms for mail-shirts see further Falk (1914b, 175-7), and compare OE hringīren ‘ring-iron, mail-shirt’ in Beowulf l. 322 (Beowulf 2008, 13). The construction appears to be a kenning, although it does not match the most stereotypical kennings for ‘mail-shirt’ (Meissner 165).

References

  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. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  4. NN = Kock, Ernst Albin. 1923-44. Notationes Norrœnæ: Anteckningar till Edda och skaldediktning. Lunds Universitets årsskrift new ser. 1. 28 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  5. 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.
  6. FGT 1972a = Hreinn Benediktsson, ed. 1972. The First Grammatical Treatise. University of Iceland Publications in Linguistics 1. Reykjavík: Institute of Nordic Linguistics.
  7. ÍF 26-8 = Heimskringla. Ed. Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson. 1941-51.
  8. Beowulf 2008 = Fulk, Robert D., Robert E. Bjork and John D. Niles, eds. 2008. Klaeber’s Beowulf and the Fight at Finnsburg. 4th rev. edn of Beowulf and the Fight at Finnsburg, ed. Fr. Klaeber. Toronto, Buffalo and London: University of Toronto Press.
  9. Falk, Hjalmar. 1914b. Altnordische Waffenkunde. Videnskapsselskapets skrifter, II. Hist.-filos. kl. 1914, 6. Kristiania (Oslo): Dybwad.
  10. FGT 1972b = Haugen, Einar, ed. 1972. The First Grammatical Treatise: The Earliest Germanic Phonology. 2nd edn. London: Longman.
  11. Rainford, Jessica. 1995. ‘Óláfr Haraldsson, King and Saint of Norway, and the Development of Skaldic Style (ca.1015-ca.1153)’. D. Phil. thesis. University of Oxford.
  12. Internal references
  13. R. D. Fulk (ed.) 2012, ‘Þorbjǫrn hornklofi, Haraldskvæði (Hrafnsmál) 1’ 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. 94.
  14. Not published: do not cite ()

Close

Log in

This service is only available to members of the relevant projects, and to purchasers of the skaldic volumes published by Brepols.
This service uses cookies. By logging in you agree to the use of cookies on your browser.

Close