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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Ótt Knútdr 10I

Matthew Townend (ed.) 2012, ‘Óttarr svarti, Knútsdrápa 10’ 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. 779.

Óttarr svartiKnútsdrápa
91011

Skjǫldungr ‘Skjǫldungr’

skjǫldungr (noun m.): king

notes

[1] Skjǫldungr: This might be a general heiti for ‘king’ (cf. buðlungr ‘king’ in st. 4/2), but is more likely to be a specific reference to Knútr’s status as a member of the Danish Skjǫldung dynasty (cf. ÞKolb Eirdr 13/2 and see further Frank 1994b, 111-12).

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inn ‘Strong’

2. inn (art.): the

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blóð ‘the blood’

blóð (noun n.; °-s): blood < blóðtrani (noun m.): [blood-crane]

kennings

blóðtrani
‘the blood-crane ’
   = RAVEN/EAGLE

the blood-crane → RAVEN/EAGLE
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trani ‘crane’

2. trani (noun m.; °-a): crane < blóðtrani (noun m.): [blood-crane]

kennings

blóðtrani
‘the blood-crane ’
   = RAVEN/EAGLE

the blood-crane → RAVEN/EAGLE
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bráðir ‘morsels’

1. bráð (noun f.): meat

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Assatúnum ‘at Ashingdon’

Assatún (noun n.): [at Ashingdon]

notes

[4] Assatúnum ‘at Ashingdon’: In Essex (OE Assandun), site of the decisive battle between Knútr and Eadmund Ironside in 1016, and where Knútr endowed a memorial church in 1020 (see ASC s. a.). On Óttarr’s form of the p. n. see Townend (1998, 21-7).

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Vátt ‘you won by fighting’

1. vega (verb): strike, slay

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verðung ‘the retinue’

verðung (noun f.): troop, retinue

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fyr ‘to the’

fyr (prep.): for, over, because of, etc.

[7] fyr norðan: norðan fyr 20dˣ

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norðan ‘north’

norðan (adv.): from the north

[7] fyr norðan: norðan fyr 20dˣ

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stóru ‘a mighty’

stórr (adj.): large, great

notes

[7] stóru ‘mighty’: The adj. is n. dat. sg. and so must qualify sverði, hence ‘with a mighty sword’. Kock (NN §738; Skald) proposed emendation to stóra (m. acc. pl.) to agree with Danaskóga, hence ‘the great Forest of Dean’, which would match the use of adjectives in, e.g., grœnni Lindisey ‘green Lindsey’ (st. 5/1, 2) and breiðri borg Hemminga ‘broad Hemingbrough’ (st. 5/5-6), but the emendation is not required. An alternative possibility is that stóru is an adv. (‘by far, greatly’), qualifying vátt ‘you won by fighting’, but such an adv. would seem normally to accompany a comp. adj. (e.g. Arn Hryn 3/6II and Note).

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gnógt ‘a great enough’

gnógr (adj.; °compar. gnógari/gnǿgri, superl. gnógastr/gnǿgstr): abundant

[8] gnógt: ‑gnóg all

notes

[8] gnógt ‘great enough’: Emendation, adopted in all eds, is required for agreement with nafn (n. acc. sg.) ‘name’.

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Danaskóga ‘Forest of Dean’

Danaskógar (noun m.): [Forest of Dean]

notes

[8] Danaskóga ‘the Forest of Dean’: Poole (1987, 275-6) argues persuasively that this is the Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire (OE Dene, Dena). For discussion of the p. n. see Townend (1998, 29-31).

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The stanza follows a brief notice of the great battle of Assatún (Ashingdon).

For the sequencing of sts 8-10 in this edn, see Introduction. — [1-4]: The syntax can be construed in two ways: (a) The helmingr splits into two clauses of two lines each, with Assatúnum ‘at Ashingdon’ qualifying the ‘raven/eagle’ clause; this construal is adopted here as being more in keeping with Óttarr’s couplet-based syntax in this poem. (b) Assatúnum ‘at Ashingdon’ could be taken with ll. 1-2 so that the focus on Knútr’s activities spans the helmingr and fekk blóðtrani brúnar bráðir ‘the blood-crane [RAVEN/EAGLE] received dark morsels’ is an intercalary clause (so previous eds). — [5-8]: On the geography and chronology of this second helmingr, see Poole (1987, 275-6). Following the battle of Ashingdon, Knútr and Eadmund came to terms at Alney in Gloucestershire (ASC s. a. 1016), but English sources (unlike Óttarr: see Note to l. 8 Danaskóga) do not record any further fighting in that region.

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