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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Gamlkan Has 52VII

Katrina Attwood (ed.) 2007, ‘Gamli kanóki, Harmsól 52’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 119-20.

Gamli kanókiHarmsól
515253

Máría ‘Mary’

María (noun f.): Mary

notes

[1] Máría ‘Mary [Magdalene]’: Bugge (1889a, 22) wrongly interprets this as a reference to the Virgin Mary. The identification of the repentant sinner who annoints Christ’s feet in Luke VII.36-9 with the woman who does the same thing, but is not described as a sinner, in Mark XIV.3-9 and Matt. XXVI.6-13 is a logical one. The identification of this conflated character with Mary Magdalene, which seems to date at least from C6th (Warner 2000, 226-8), is presumably due to a literal interpretation of Christ’s words mittens enim haec unguentum hoc in corpus meum ad sepeliendum me fecit ‘for she in pouring this ointment upon my body, hath done it for my burial’ (Matt. XXVI.12). Mary Magdalene’s repentance is also the subject of Anon Mey 11-13. Her cult is generally held to have begun after 1200 in Iceland; there was reportedly an image of her at Þykkvabær monastery, though its age cannot be determined, and may well have dated from after Gamli’s time (Cormack 1994, 130).

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mætum ‘the illustrious’

mætr (adj.; °compar. -ri/-ari, superl. -astr): honoured, respected

kennings

mætum gram sunnu,
‘the illustrious prince of the sun, ’
   = God

the illustrious prince of the sun, → God
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miskunn ‘mercy’

miskunn (noun f.; °-ar; gen. -a): forgiveness, mercy, grace

notes

[2] miskunn af gram sunnu ‘mercy from the prince of the sun’: The miskunn:sunnu rhyme is also exploited at 65/4 miskunn jǫfurr sunnu. This l. also occurs in Leið 42/6.

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af ‘from’

af (prep.): from

notes

[2] miskunn af gram sunnu ‘mercy from the prince of the sun’: The miskunn:sunnu rhyme is also exploited at 65/4 miskunn jǫfurr sunnu. This l. also occurs in Leið 42/6.

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gram ‘prince’

1. gramr (noun m.): ruler

kennings

mætum gram sunnu,
‘the illustrious prince of the sun, ’
   = God

the illustrious prince of the sun, → God

notes

[2] miskunn af gram sunnu ‘mercy from the prince of the sun’: The miskunn:sunnu rhyme is also exploited at 65/4 miskunn jǫfurr sunnu. This l. also occurs in Leið 42/6.

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sunnu ‘of the sun’

sunna (noun f.): sun

kennings

mætum gram sunnu,
‘the illustrious prince of the sun, ’
   = God

the illustrious prince of the sun, → God

notes

[2] miskunn af gram sunnu ‘mercy from the prince of the sun’: The miskunn:sunnu rhyme is also exploited at 65/4 miskunn jǫfurr sunnu. This l. also occurs in Leið 42/6.

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víns ‘of wine’

vín (noun n.; °-s; -): wine

[3] víns: ‘v[...]s’ B, ‘vịṇs’ 399a‑bˣ, ‘vi(ns)’(?) BRydberg, ‘vi(n)s’(?) BFJ

kennings

Vôr víns
‘the Vôr of wine ’
   = WOMAN = Mary Magdalene

the Vôr of wine → WOMAN = Mary Magdalene

notes

[3-4] Vôr víns ‘Vôr of wine [WOMAN > = Mary Magdalene]’: Vr is listed among the Ásynjur in Gylf (SnE 1982, 29). The woman-kenning Vr lauka (‘Vr of leeks’) occurs in a lv. attributed to Gísli Súrsson (GSúrs Lv 33/6-7V).

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virða ‘of men’

virðr (noun m.): man

kennings

reynis virða
‘of the tester of men ’
   = God

the tester of men → God
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reynis ‘of the tester’

2. reynir (noun m.): tester

kennings

reynis virða
‘of the tester of men ’
   = God

the tester of men → God
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Vôr ‘the Vôr’

2. Vár (noun f.; °-s; -): a goddess

kennings

Vôr víns
‘the Vôr of wine ’
   = WOMAN = Mary Magdalene

the Vôr of wine → WOMAN = Mary Magdalene

notes

[3-4] Vôr víns ‘Vôr of wine [WOMAN > = Mary Magdalene]’: Vr is listed among the Ásynjur in Gylf (SnE 1982, 29). The woman-kenning Vr lauka (‘Vr of leeks’) occurs in a lv. attributed to Gísli Súrsson (GSúrs Lv 33/6-7V).

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fœtr ‘the feet’

1. fótr (noun m.): foot, leg

[4] fœtr með: so 399a‑bˣ, ‘[...]ed’ B

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með ‘with’

með (prep.): with

[4] fœtr með: so 399a‑bˣ, ‘[...]ed’ B

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Snjallr ‘The wise’

snjallr (adj.): quick, resourceful, bold

kennings

Snjallr vǫrðr gumna
‘The wise guardian of men ’
   = God

The wise guardian of men → God
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ǫllum ‘all’

allr (adj.): all

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senn ‘immediately’

senn (adv.): at once

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gumna ‘of men’

gumi (noun m.; °-a; gumar/gumnar): man

[7] gumna: ‘[...]a’ B, ‘gụṃṇa’ 399a‑bˣ, ‘[...](n)a’(?) BRydberg, ‘(gumn)a’(?) BFJ

kennings

Snjallr vǫrðr gumna
‘The wise guardian of men ’
   = God

The wise guardian of men → God
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vǫrðr ‘guardian’

vǫrðr (noun m.; °varðar, dat. verði/vǫrð; verðir, acc. vǫrðu): guardian, defender

kennings

Snjallr vǫrðr gumna
‘The wise guardian of men ’
   = God

The wise guardian of men → God
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gerði ‘she had committed’

1. gera (verb): do, make

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Bil ‘Bil’

Bil (noun f.): Bil

notes

[8] Bil ‘Bil <goddess>’: Kock (NN §1209) notes that previous eds have been reluctant to accept that Bil can stand alone as a half-kenning. There is, as he says, an undue concern for the plight of oklädda guddinor ‘naked goddesses’, that is, goddess names that are not qualified by a term for gold or treasure or some female attribute (cf. LP: Bil). Finnur Jónsson (Skj B) attempts to provide such an attribute by emending gerði (l. 7) to gerðu, gen. sg. of gerða ‘feminine attire’, producing the woman-kenning Bil gerðu ‘goddess of clothing’. This necessitates the omission of þeim (l. 7). Rydberg (1907, lxxiv) approves Finnur’s emendation, and suggests that þá er could be substituted for the ms. reading here, taking the intercalated phrase to be þá er Bil gerðu treystisk guði ‘when the goddess of clothing trusted God’. As Kock (NN §§1209, 1072) suggests, this ‘prudery’ is a feature of Finnur’s edn: it is interesting to note that, of the four occurrences of gerða listed in LP, three appear in conjunction with a goddess-name, and two of those depend on emendation. There is no obvious reason why the ms. reading cannot be retained here, and Bil treated, as Kock (NN §1209) suggests, as a half-kenning for ‘woman’.

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