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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Ólhv Hryn 11II

Lauren Goetting (ed.) 2009, ‘Óláfr hvítaskáld Þórðarson, Hrynhenda 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. 668-9.

Óláfr hvítaskáld ÞórðarsonHrynhenda
101112

Snǫrp ‘Sharp’

snarpr (adj.): sharp, keen

notes

[1-2] snǫrp járn bitu, sem óðastraumr yrpi ísmǫl ‘sharp weapons bit, as if a raging stream were casting up pieces of ice’: The flash of weapons in battle is likened to the gleam of ice fragments tossed about in a stream. For similar expressions in prose, see Fritzner: ísmöl.

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bitu ‘bit’

bíta (verb; °bítr; beit, bitu; bitinn): bite

notes

[1-2] snǫrp járn bitu, sem óðastraumr yrpi ísmǫl ‘sharp weapons bit, as if a raging stream were casting up pieces of ice’: The flash of weapons in battle is likened to the gleam of ice fragments tossed about in a stream. For similar expressions in prose, see Fritzner: ísmöl.

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járn ‘weapons’

járn (noun n.; °-s; -): iron, weapon

notes

[1-2] snǫrp járn bitu, sem óðastraumr yrpi ísmǫl ‘sharp weapons bit, as if a raging stream were casting up pieces of ice’: The flash of weapons in battle is likened to the gleam of ice fragments tossed about in a stream. For similar expressions in prose, see Fritzner: ísmöl.

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sem ‘as if’

sem (conj.): as, which

notes

[1-2] snǫrp járn bitu, sem óðastraumr yrpi ísmǫl ‘sharp weapons bit, as if a raging stream were casting up pieces of ice’: The flash of weapons in battle is likened to the gleam of ice fragments tossed about in a stream. For similar expressions in prose, see Fritzner: ísmöl.

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ísmǫl ‘pieces of ice’

ísmǫl (noun f.): [pieces of ice]

[1] ísmǫl: om. 81a

notes

[1-2] snǫrp járn bitu, sem óðastraumr yrpi ísmǫl ‘sharp weapons bit, as if a raging stream were casting up pieces of ice’: The flash of weapons in battle is likened to the gleam of ice fragments tossed about in a stream. For similar expressions in prose, see Fritzner: ísmöl.

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yrpi ‘were casting up’

1. verpa (verb): to throw, cast (up)

notes

[1-2] snǫrp járn bitu, sem óðastraumr yrpi ísmǫl ‘sharp weapons bit, as if a raging stream were casting up pieces of ice’: The flash of weapons in battle is likened to the gleam of ice fragments tossed about in a stream. For similar expressions in prose, see Fritzner: ísmöl.

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óða ‘a raging’

2. óðr (adj.; °compar. -ari, superl. -astr): raging, furious < óðastraumr (noun m.)

notes

[1-2] snǫrp járn bitu, sem óðastraumr yrpi ísmǫl ‘sharp weapons bit, as if a raging stream were casting up pieces of ice’: The flash of weapons in battle is likened to the gleam of ice fragments tossed about in a stream. For similar expressions in prose, see Fritzner: ísmöl.

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straumr ‘stream’

straumr (noun m.; °-s, dat. -i/-; -ar): stream, current < óðastraumr (noun m.)

[2] ‑straumr: straums F

notes

[1-2] snǫrp járn bitu, sem óðastraumr yrpi ísmǫl ‘sharp weapons bit, as if a raging stream were casting up pieces of ice’: The flash of weapons in battle is likened to the gleam of ice fragments tossed about in a stream. For similar expressions in prose, see Fritzner: ísmöl.

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her ‘the army’

herr (noun m.; °-s/-jar, dat. -; -jar, gen. -ja/herra): army, host < herstefnir (noun m.): army-leader

kennings

herstefnir
‘the army-leader ’
   = WARRIOR = Hákon

the army-leader → WARRIOR = Hákon
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stefnir ‘leader’

stefnir (noun m.): commander < herstefnir (noun m.): army-leader

kennings

herstefnir
‘the army-leader ’
   = WARRIOR = Hákon

the army-leader → WARRIOR = Hákon
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rauð ‘reddened’

rjóða (verb): to redden

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hamri ‘the hammer’

1. hamarr (noun m.; °-s, dat. hamri; hamrar): hammer, cliff

kennings

hamri ofna serki hildar
‘the hammer-woven shirts of battle ’
   = BYRNIES

the hammer-woven shirts of battle → BYRNIES
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ofna ‘woven’

vefa (verb): enfold, weave

kennings

hamri ofna serki hildar
‘the hammer-woven shirts of battle ’
   = BYRNIES

the hammer-woven shirts of battle → BYRNIES
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hildar ‘of battle’

1. hildr (noun f.): battle

kennings

hamri ofna serki hildar
‘the hammer-woven shirts of battle ’
   = BYRNIES

the hammer-woven shirts of battle → BYRNIES
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serki ‘shirts’

1. serkr (noun m.; °-s, dat. -/-i; -ir): shirt

kennings

hamri ofna serki hildar
‘the hammer-woven shirts of battle ’
   = BYRNIES

the hammer-woven shirts of battle → BYRNIES
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Grimmum ‘fierce’

grimmr (adj.; °compar. -ari, superl. -astr): fierce

kennings

grimmum himni Gǫndlar
‘fierce sky of Gǫndul; ’
   = SHIELD

fierce sky of Gǫndul; → SHIELD
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stóð ‘stood’

standa (verb): stand

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Gǫndlar ‘of Gǫndul’

2. Gǫndul (noun f.): Gǫndul

kennings

grimmum himni Gǫndlar
‘fierce sky of Gǫndul; ’
   = SHIELD

fierce sky of Gǫndul; → SHIELD
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himni ‘sky’

himinn (noun m.; °himins, dat. himni; himnar): heaven, sky

[5] himni: so all others, ‘hifni’ E

kennings

grimmum himni Gǫndlar
‘fierce sky of Gǫndul; ’
   = SHIELD

fierce sky of Gǫndul; → SHIELD
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grár ‘The grey’

grár (adj.; °gráan/grán): grey

[6] grár: grátt F

kennings

Grár regnbogi Hnikars
‘The grey rainbow of Hnikarr ’
   = SPEAR

The grey rainbow of Hnikarr → SPEAR
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regn ‘rain’

regn (noun n.; °-s; -): rain < regnbogi (noun m.)

kennings

Grár regnbogi Hnikars
‘The grey rainbow of Hnikarr ’
   = SPEAR

The grey rainbow of Hnikarr → SPEAR
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bogi ‘bow’

bogi (noun m.; °-a; -ar): bow < regnbogi (noun m.)

[6] ‑bogi: boði F

kennings

Grár regnbogi Hnikars
‘The grey rainbow of Hnikarr ’
   = SPEAR

The grey rainbow of Hnikarr → SPEAR
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Hnikars ‘of Hnikarr’

Hnikarr (noun m.): Hnikarr

kennings

Grár regnbogi Hnikars
‘The grey rainbow of Hnikarr ’
   = SPEAR

The grey rainbow of Hnikarr → SPEAR
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þegna ‘the men’s’

þegn (noun m.; °dat. -/-i; -ar): thane, man, franklin

notes

[6] þegna ‘men’s’: Kock (NN §2577) interprets all of l. 6 as a kenning for ‘sword’, taking grár regnbogi ‘grey rainbow’ as the base-words and Hnikars þegna ‘of Hnikarr’s men’ i.e. ‘warriors’ as the determinant. A more elegant solution is to place þegna outside the kenning so that there is symmetry between grár regnbogi Hnikars ‘grey rainbow of Hnikarr’ i.e. ‘spear’ and grimmum himni Gǫndlar ‘fierce sky of Gǫndul’ i.e. ‘shield’ (l. 5). Þegna may then modify either kenning as a possessive gen., but it is probably best construed with grimmum himni Gǫndlar, paralleling fyrða ‘of men’ in fylking fyrða ‘company of men’ (l. 6) as the object of the battle assault.

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harða ‘powerfully’

harða (adv.): very

[7] harða: harðar F, 42ˣ, 81a, 8, Flat

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lustu ‘struck’

2. ljósta (verb): strike

[7] lustu: so F, 81a, 8, lýstu E, 42ˣ, leystu Flat

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fylking ‘the company’

fylking (noun f.): troop

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fyrða ‘of men’

2. fyrðr (noun m.; °-s, dat. -): man

[7] fyrða: om. F

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fáreldingar ‘the destructive lightning bolts’

fárelding (noun f.): destructive lightning bolt

kennings

fáreldingar meginsára
‘the destructive lightning bolts of great wounds ’
   = SPEARS

the destructive lightning bolts of great wounds → SPEARS
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meginsára ‘of great wounds’

meginsár (noun n.): [great wounds]

kennings

fáreldingar meginsára
‘the destructive lightning bolts of great wounds ’
   = SPEARS

the destructive lightning bolts of great wounds → SPEARS
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Interactive view: tap on words in the text for notes and glosses

Part of Skúli’s army was driven inside the churchyard of Hallvardskirken, and the Birkibeinar assaulted them from outside. Both sides launched stones, spears, and arrows across the churchyard. Meanwhile, Hákon advanced toward Skúli and the remaining part of his force.

[4-8]: (a) The weapon-kennings grár regnbogi Hnikars ‘the grey rainbow of Hnikarr’, l. 6, and fáreldingar meginsára ‘the destructive lightning bolts of great wounds’, l. 8, are taken to mean ‘spear’ and ‘spears’ respectively. Kennings for both swords and spears may contain base-words that denote types of light or luminescent objects (including rainbows and lightning; see Meissner 145-6), but because of the immediate prose context, ‘spears’ is preferable to ‘swords’. See also Note to Sturl Hákkv 16 [All]. (b) The second helmingr contains an artful nýgerving. The three kennings are congruent in their use of sky imagery.

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