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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Líkn 15VII

George S. Tate (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Líknarbraut 15’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 246.

Anonymous PoemsLíknarbraut
141516

hölda ‘of men’

hǫlðr (noun m.; °-s; -ar): man

kennings

Hildingr hölda
‘The king of men ’
   = RULER = Christ

The king of men → RULER = Christ
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hildingr ‘The king’

hildingr (noun m.; °; -ar): king, ruler

kennings

Hildingr hölda
‘The king of men ’
   = RULER = Christ

The king of men → RULER = Christ

notes

[2] hildingr ‘king [lit. warrior (< hildr ‘battle, din’)]’: The usage is ironic in its pathos; the ‘warrior-king’ passively endures disgrace and torment.

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með ‘along with’

með (prep.): with

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vörðr ‘guardian’

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

kennings

fróns vörðr
‘earth’s guardian ’
   = RULER = Christ

earth’s guardian → RULER = Christ

notes

[3] fróns vörðr ‘earth’s guardian [RULER = Christ]’: Elsewhere kennings employing vörðr ‘guardian’ as base-word and some form of ‘land’ or ‘earth’ as determinant (e.g. vörðr foldar ‘guardian of the earth’, vörðr grundar ‘guardian of the plain’, landvörðr ‘land-guardian’, láðvörðr ‘land-guardian’) refer only to earthly kings. On the need for context to determine whether such a kenning refers to Christ or an earthly king, see Snorri Sturluson’s discussion in Skm (SnE 1998 1, 78). Typically when vörðr is used in a God-kenning it is combined with ‘heaven’ or a heaven-kenning, as in Geisl 19/3, Leið 10/1, Has 30/4. The poet uses the latter in 29/3-4 (vörðr sólar slóðar ‘guardian of the sun’s track [SKY/HEAVEN > = God]’). The poet’s choice of two kennings for ruler in this st. is probably intended to point up a contrast between the true status of Christ and his humiliation during the Flagellation. His humanity is underscored by the omission of kenning ornament in the second helmingr and by the repetition of the plain pron. hann, which is, however, unmetrical in l. 7. Stylistically the helmingr, like Christ at the Flagellation, is ‘bare’.

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fróns ‘earth’s’

2. frón (noun n.): earth, land

kennings

fróns vörðr
‘earth’s guardian ’
   = RULER = Christ

earth’s guardian → RULER = Christ

notes

[3] fróns vörðr ‘earth’s guardian [RULER = Christ]’: Elsewhere kennings employing vörðr ‘guardian’ as base-word and some form of ‘land’ or ‘earth’ as determinant (e.g. vörðr foldar ‘guardian of the earth’, vörðr grundar ‘guardian of the plain’, landvörðr ‘land-guardian’, láðvörðr ‘land-guardian’) refer only to earthly kings. On the need for context to determine whether such a kenning refers to Christ or an earthly king, see Snorri Sturluson’s discussion in Skm (SnE 1998 1, 78). Typically when vörðr is used in a God-kenning it is combined with ‘heaven’ or a heaven-kenning, as in Geisl 19/3, Leið 10/1, Has 30/4. The poet uses the latter in 29/3-4 (vörðr sólar slóðar ‘guardian of the sun’s track [SKY/HEAVEN > = God]’). The poet’s choice of two kennings for ruler in this st. is probably intended to point up a contrast between the true status of Christ and his humiliation during the Flagellation. His humanity is underscored by the omission of kenning ornament in the second helmingr and by the repetition of the plain pron. hann, which is, however, unmetrical in l. 7. Stylistically the helmingr, like Christ at the Flagellation, is ‘bare’.

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The st. is remarkably similar to a passage from the OIcel. Lenten sermon (HómÍsl 1993, 49v; HómÍsl 1872, 109): oc hann þolþe bǫnd. oc hálshogg. kiɴhesta. oc hrækingar. oc bardaga ‘and he endured binding, and neck-blows, slaps, and spittings, and beating’.

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