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skaldic

Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Liðs 8I

Russell Poole (ed.) 2012, ‘Anonymous Poems, Liðsmannaflokkr 8’ 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. 1025.

Anonymous PoemsLiðsmannaflokkr
789

Út ‘out’

út (adv.): out(side)

notes

[1, 4] ekkja, sús býr í steini, mun líta út ‘the widow who lives in stone will look out’: De Vries (1964-7, I, 282) found the motif of the woman watching the fighting men from her window suspect, as suggestive of later romance tournaments, but Sigv Austv 12 and ÞjóðA Har 2II, datable to around c. 1019 and c. 1062 respectively, are very similar and Sigvatr is probably borrowing from the present stanza (Hofmann 1955, 83; Poole 1987, 284). The statement that the ekkja lives ‘in stone’ locates her in stone-walled London (cf. the corresponding reference to Ulfcytel in st. 6/7-8). The word ekkja strictly means ‘widow’ (AEW: ekkja 1), though in poetry it can have the extended meaning of ‘woman’ in general (LP: ekkja 2). The most prominent widow in England at this period would have been Æthelred’s queen Emma (Stafford 1978, 36) and since Knútr later married her she could with considerable relevance be associated with him in the present stanza (Poole 1987, 290). Alternatively, this could be an example of the generic woman whose role in skaldic poetry is to admire (or suffer from) masculine triumphs (cf. Fidjestøl 1976a; Frank 1990a).

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mun ‘will’

munu (verb): will, must

notes

[1, 4] ekkja, sús býr í steini, mun líta út ‘the widow who lives in stone will look out’: De Vries (1964-7, I, 282) found the motif of the woman watching the fighting men from her window suspect, as suggestive of later romance tournaments, but Sigv Austv 12 and ÞjóðA Har 2II, datable to around c. 1019 and c. 1062 respectively, are very similar and Sigvatr is probably borrowing from the present stanza (Hofmann 1955, 83; Poole 1987, 284). The statement that the ekkja lives ‘in stone’ locates her in stone-walled London (cf. the corresponding reference to Ulfcytel in st. 6/7-8). The word ekkja strictly means ‘widow’ (AEW: ekkja 1), though in poetry it can have the extended meaning of ‘woman’ in general (LP: ekkja 2). The most prominent widow in England at this period would have been Æthelred’s queen Emma (Stafford 1978, 36) and since Knútr later married her she could with considerable relevance be associated with him in the present stanza (Poole 1987, 290). Alternatively, this could be an example of the generic woman whose role in skaldic poetry is to admire (or suffer from) masculine triumphs (cf. Fidjestøl 1976a; Frank 1990a).

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ekkja ‘widow’

1. ekkja (noun f.; °-u; -ur, gen. ekkna): widow, woman

[1] ekkja: ekkjan Flat, DG8

notes

[1, 4] ekkja, sús býr í steini, mun líta út ‘the widow who lives in stone will look out’: De Vries (1964-7, I, 282) found the motif of the woman watching the fighting men from her window suspect, as suggestive of later romance tournaments, but Sigv Austv 12 and ÞjóðA Har 2II, datable to around c. 1019 and c. 1062 respectively, are very similar and Sigvatr is probably borrowing from the present stanza (Hofmann 1955, 83; Poole 1987, 284). The statement that the ekkja lives ‘in stone’ locates her in stone-walled London (cf. the corresponding reference to Ulfcytel in st. 6/7-8). The word ekkja strictly means ‘widow’ (AEW: ekkja 1), though in poetry it can have the extended meaning of ‘woman’ in general (LP: ekkja 2). The most prominent widow in England at this period would have been Æthelred’s queen Emma (Stafford 1978, 36) and since Knútr later married her she could with considerable relevance be associated with him in the present stanza (Poole 1987, 290). Alternatively, this could be an example of the generic woman whose role in skaldic poetry is to admire (or suffer from) masculine triumphs (cf. Fidjestøl 1976a; Frank 1990a).

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líta ‘look’

líta (verb): look, see; appear

notes

[1, 4] ekkja, sús býr í steini, mun líta út ‘the widow who lives in stone will look out’: De Vries (1964-7, I, 282) found the motif of the woman watching the fighting men from her window suspect, as suggestive of later romance tournaments, but Sigv Austv 12 and ÞjóðA Har 2II, datable to around c. 1019 and c. 1062 respectively, are very similar and Sigvatr is probably borrowing from the present stanza (Hofmann 1955, 83; Poole 1987, 284). The statement that the ekkja lives ‘in stone’ locates her in stone-walled London (cf. the corresponding reference to Ulfcytel in st. 6/7-8). The word ekkja strictly means ‘widow’ (AEW: ekkja 1), though in poetry it can have the extended meaning of ‘woman’ in general (LP: ekkja 2). The most prominent widow in England at this period would have been Æthelred’s queen Emma (Stafford 1978, 36) and since Knútr later married her she could with considerable relevance be associated with him in the present stanza (Poole 1987, 290). Alternatively, this could be an example of the generic woman whose role in skaldic poetry is to admire (or suffer from) masculine triumphs (cf. Fidjestøl 1976a; Frank 1990a).

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opt ‘often’

opt (adv.): often

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glóa ‘glint’

glóa (verb): glow

notes

[2] glóa ‘glint’: Stanzas 8 and 9 mark a return to pres. tense narrative.

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vôpn ‘weapons’

vápn (noun n.; °-s; -): weapon

[2] vôpn: járn DG8

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hjalmtǫmum ‘the helmet-wearing’

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hrein ‘The chaste’

2. hreinn (adj.; °compar. hreinari/hreinni, superl. hreinastr/hreinstr): pure

notes

[4] hrein ‘chaste’: De Vries (1964-7, I, 282), sceptical about the poem’s authenticity, noted that the adj. hreinn ‘chaste, pure’ is common in Christian terminology, and found it anomalous in the mouth of a retainer of Knútr, but it can be paralleled in Úlfr Lv 1/6II, datable to 1066 (Poole 1987, 284).

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sús ‘who’

2. er (conj.): who, which, when

notes

[1, 4] ekkja, sús býr í steini, mun líta út ‘the widow who lives in stone will look out’: De Vries (1964-7, I, 282) found the motif of the woman watching the fighting men from her window suspect, as suggestive of later romance tournaments, but Sigv Austv 12 and ÞjóðA Har 2II, datable to around c. 1019 and c. 1062 respectively, are very similar and Sigvatr is probably borrowing from the present stanza (Hofmann 1955, 83; Poole 1987, 284). The statement that the ekkja lives ‘in stone’ locates her in stone-walled London (cf. the corresponding reference to Ulfcytel in st. 6/7-8). The word ekkja strictly means ‘widow’ (AEW: ekkja 1), though in poetry it can have the extended meaning of ‘woman’ in general (LP: ekkja 2). The most prominent widow in England at this period would have been Æthelred’s queen Emma (Stafford 1978, 36) and since Knútr later married her she could with considerable relevance be associated with him in the present stanza (Poole 1987, 290). Alternatively, this could be an example of the generic woman whose role in skaldic poetry is to admire (or suffer from) masculine triumphs (cf. Fidjestøl 1976a; Frank 1990a).

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býr ‘lives’

2. búa (verb; °býr (1. pers. býg NjM 330²⁴); bjó/bjuggi/bjǫggi/byggi, bjuggu/bjǫggu (præt. conj. byggi); búinn (n. sg. búit/bút)): prepare, ready, live

notes

[1, 4] ekkja, sús býr í steini, mun líta út ‘the widow who lives in stone will look out’: De Vries (1964-7, I, 282) found the motif of the woman watching the fighting men from her window suspect, as suggestive of later romance tournaments, but Sigv Austv 12 and ÞjóðA Har 2II, datable to around c. 1019 and c. 1062 respectively, are very similar and Sigvatr is probably borrowing from the present stanza (Hofmann 1955, 83; Poole 1987, 284). The statement that the ekkja lives ‘in stone’ locates her in stone-walled London (cf. the corresponding reference to Ulfcytel in st. 6/7-8). The word ekkja strictly means ‘widow’ (AEW: ekkja 1), though in poetry it can have the extended meaning of ‘woman’ in general (LP: ekkja 2). The most prominent widow in England at this period would have been Æthelred’s queen Emma (Stafford 1978, 36) and since Knútr later married her she could with considerable relevance be associated with him in the present stanza (Poole 1987, 290). Alternatively, this could be an example of the generic woman whose role in skaldic poetry is to admire (or suffer from) masculine triumphs (cf. Fidjestøl 1976a; Frank 1990a).

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í ‘in’

í (prep.): in, into

notes

[1, 4] ekkja, sús býr í steini, mun líta út ‘the widow who lives in stone will look out’: De Vries (1964-7, I, 282) found the motif of the woman watching the fighting men from her window suspect, as suggestive of later romance tournaments, but Sigv Austv 12 and ÞjóðA Har 2II, datable to around c. 1019 and c. 1062 respectively, are very similar and Sigvatr is probably borrowing from the present stanza (Hofmann 1955, 83; Poole 1987, 284). The statement that the ekkja lives ‘in stone’ locates her in stone-walled London (cf. the corresponding reference to Ulfcytel in st. 6/7-8). The word ekkja strictly means ‘widow’ (AEW: ekkja 1), though in poetry it can have the extended meaning of ‘woman’ in general (LP: ekkja 2). The most prominent widow in England at this period would have been Æthelred’s queen Emma (Stafford 1978, 36) and since Knútr later married her she could with considerable relevance be associated with him in the present stanza (Poole 1987, 290). Alternatively, this could be an example of the generic woman whose role in skaldic poetry is to admire (or suffer from) masculine triumphs (cf. Fidjestøl 1976a; Frank 1990a).

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steini ‘stone’

steinn (noun m.; °steins; steinar): stone, colour

notes

[1, 4] ekkja, sús býr í steini, mun líta út ‘the widow who lives in stone will look out’: De Vries (1964-7, I, 282) found the motif of the woman watching the fighting men from her window suspect, as suggestive of later romance tournaments, but Sigv Austv 12 and ÞjóðA Har 2II, datable to around c. 1019 and c. 1062 respectively, are very similar and Sigvatr is probably borrowing from the present stanza (Hofmann 1955, 83; Poole 1987, 284). The statement that the ekkja lives ‘in stone’ locates her in stone-walled London (cf. the corresponding reference to Ulfcytel in st. 6/7-8). The word ekkja strictly means ‘widow’ (AEW: ekkja 1), though in poetry it can have the extended meaning of ‘woman’ in general (LP: ekkja 2). The most prominent widow in England at this period would have been Æthelred’s queen Emma (Stafford 1978, 36) and since Knútr later married her she could with considerable relevance be associated with him in the present stanza (Poole 1987, 290). Alternatively, this could be an example of the generic woman whose role in skaldic poetry is to admire (or suffer from) masculine triumphs (cf. Fidjestøl 1976a; Frank 1990a).

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sigrfíkinn ‘the victory-avid’

sigrfíkinn (adj./verb p.p.): [victory-avid]

kennings

sigrfíkinn vísi Dana
‘the victory-avid leader of the Danes ’
   = DANISH KING = Knútr

the victory-avid leader of the Danes → DANISH KING = Knútr
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sœkir ‘attacks’

sœkja (verb): seek, attack

[5] sœkir: om. DG8

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snarla ‘sharply’

1. snarla (adv.): quickly

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brezkum ‘British’

brezkr (adj.): British

[7] brezkum brynjum: brezkar brynjur JÓ, 20dˣ, 873ˣ, 41ˣ

notes

[7] brezkum ‘British’: The word brezkr here has been explained as ‘belonging to the inhabitants of Britain in general, i. e. the British Isles’ (Ashdown 1930, 207) or ‘English’ (Zachrisson 1927, 47), but skaldic attestations of brezkr/Bretar fit better with the gloss ‘Welsh, Briton’ (Poole 1987, 294; cf. Hermann Pálsson 1960, 43-6). There is support for the notion that Welsh people lent military aid to the defenders of London in Thietmar’s Merseburgensis episcopi Chronicon and Gaimar’s L’estoire des Engleis (Poole 1987, 294-6).

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brynjum ‘mail-shirts’

1. brynja (noun f.; °-u (dat. brynnoni Gibb 38⁹); -ur): mailcoat

[7] brezkum brynjum: brezkar brynjur JÓ, 20dˣ, 873ˣ, 41ˣ

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blóð ‘the blood’

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

kennings

blóðíss
‘the blood-ice ’
   = SWORD

the blood-ice → SWORD
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íss ‘ice’

íss (noun m.; °íss; dat. ísi/ís; ísar): ice < blóðíss (noun m.): [blood-ice]

kennings

blóðíss
‘the blood-ice ’
   = SWORD

the blood-ice → SWORD
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Dana ‘of the Danes’

danr (noun m.; °dat. -; -ir): Dane

kennings

sigrfíkinn vísi Dana
‘the victory-avid leader of the Danes ’
   = DANISH KING = Knútr

the victory-avid leader of the Danes → DANISH KING = Knútr
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vísi ‘leader’

vísi (noun m.; °-a): leader

kennings

sigrfíkinn vísi Dana
‘the victory-avid leader of the Danes ’
   = DANISH KING = Knútr

the victory-avid leader of the Danes → DANISH KING = Knútr
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Interactive view: tap on words in the text for notes and glosses

In the Óláfr sagas, as for st. 1. In Knýtl, King Knútr attacks London with his whole army, but the garrison defends it.

In Knýtl, sts 9/1-4 and 8/5-8 form a single stanza, which is introduced, Svá segir í flokki þeim, er þá var ortr af liðsmǫnnum ‘So it says in the flokkr which was composed then by the household troops’.

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