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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Þjóð Yt 18I

Edith Marold (ed.) 2012, ‘Þjóðólfr ór Hvini, Ynglingatal 18’ 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. 40.

Þjóðólfr ór HviniYnglingatal
171819

stǫkk ‘spread’

1. støkkva (verb): (str.) leap, spring; scatter

notes

[1] þat stǫkk upp ‘word spread quickly’: Lit. ‘it sprang up’.

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upp ‘quickly’

upp (adv.): up

notes

[1] þat stǫkk upp ‘word spread quickly’: Lit. ‘it sprang up’.

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Sýslu ‘of Sýsla’

2. Sýsla (noun f.): Sýsla

notes

[3] kind Sýslu ‘the people of Sýsla’: Sýsla is a p. n. referring to Estonian territory, as indicated by eistneskr herr ‘Estonian force’ (l. 7). Later prose sources differ on the exact reference. Snorri interprets it as Aðalsýsla, the Estonian mainland, now Suuremaa, whereas HN (2003, 78) refers to quadam insula Baltici Maris, que ab indigenis Eycisla uocatur ‘a certain island of the Baltic Sea called Eycisla by the indigenous people’, by which the island Eysýsla is meant, known today as Saaremaa or (Swed./Ger.) Ösel.

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kind ‘the people’

kind (noun f.; °-ar; -r): offspring, race

notes

[3] kind Sýslu ‘the people of Sýsla’: Sýsla is a p. n. referring to Estonian territory, as indicated by eistneskr herr ‘Estonian force’ (l. 7). Later prose sources differ on the exact reference. Snorri interprets it as Aðalsýsla, the Estonian mainland, now Suuremaa, whereas HN (2003, 78) refers to quadam insula Baltici Maris, que ab indigenis Eycisla uocatur ‘a certain island of the Baltic Sea called Eycisla by the indigenous people’, by which the island Eysýsla is meant, known today as Saaremaa or (Swed./Ger.) Ösel.

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of ‘’

4. of (particle): (before verb)

notes

[4] hafði of sóit ‘had slain’: Sóa normally means ‘sacrifice’, but here it means ‘kill’ in the general sense, as in e.g. Hávm 109/7 (NK 34): eða hefði hánom Suttungr of sóit ‘or if Suttungr had killed him’.

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sóit ‘slain’

sóa (verb): [sacrifice, slain]

[4] sóit: so J1ˣ, J2ˣ, R685ˣ, sóat Kˣ, papp18ˣ, 521ˣ, F, 761aˣ

notes

[4] hafði of sóit ‘had slain’: Sóa normally means ‘sacrifice’, but here it means ‘kill’ in the general sense, as in e.g. Hávm 109/7 (NK 34): eða hefði hánom Suttungr of sóit ‘or if Suttungr had killed him’.

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hafði ‘had’

hafa (verb): have

[4] hafði: so F, J1ˣ, J2ˣ, R685ˣ, hefði Kˣ, papp18ˣ, 521ˣ, 761aˣ

notes

[4] hafði of sóit ‘had slain’: Sóa normally means ‘sacrifice’, but here it means ‘kill’ in the general sense, as in e.g. Hávm 109/7 (NK 34): eða hefði hánom Suttungr of sóit ‘or if Suttungr had killed him’.

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Ok ‘And’

3. ok (conj.): and, but; also

notes

[5] ok Ljósham* ‘and Ljóshamr (“the Light-skinned”)’: Emendation is necessary, since the line is too short in the K transcripts (ok ljós) but too long in the J transcripts and LaufE (ok ljóshǫmum). (a) The emendation adopted here produces a cpd that appears to be a nickname of Yngvarr (as proposed by Eggert Ó. Brím 1895, 12-13), an endingless dat. sg. (see LP: hamr) standing in apposition to hilmi ‘the ruler’ (so Noreen, Yt 1925). The nickname is of a common type: a bahuvrihi or exocentric nominal cpd characterising a person by a distinctive feature, cf. blátǫnn ‘Blue-tooth’ or hvítbeinn ‘White-bone’, and evidence that Yngvarr had a nickname based on ljós- ‘light, bright’ is found in HN (2003, 78): Ynguar, qui cognominatus est Canutus ‘Ynguar, who is nicknamed Canutus’. Canutus comes from Lat. canus ‘whitish-gray’ (HN 2003, 137), and cf. Yngvarr’s nickname inn hári ‘Grey-haired’ in the Ættartala in Flat (1860-8, I, 26). Other emendations are less satisfactory. (b) Finnur Jónsson (Hkr 1893-1901, I; Skj B) eliminates ok against all the mss. (c) Eggert Ó. Brím’s suggestion (1895, 12-13) of ljóshárum ‘the light-haired’ also goes against the ms. evidence. (d) The more extensive emendation of the line to ok ljóthamr ‘and ugly-skinned’ preferred by Kock (NN §1917) and Åkerlund (1939, 105), conceived as an adj. associated with eistneskr herr ‘Estonian force’, is to be rejected, because it ignores ljós, attested in all mss, and the attestation of Yngvarr’s nickname in HN .

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Ljós ‘Ljós’

ljóss (adj.; °compar. -ari, superl. -astr): bright < ljóshamr (adj.)ljóss (adj.; °compar. -ari, superl. -astr): bright < ljóshamr (adj.)ljóss (adj.; °compar. -ari, superl. -astr): bright

notes

[5] ok Ljósham* ‘and Ljóshamr (“the Light-skinned”)’: Emendation is necessary, since the line is too short in the K transcripts (ok ljós) but too long in the J transcripts and LaufE (ok ljóshǫmum). (a) The emendation adopted here produces a cpd that appears to be a nickname of Yngvarr (as proposed by Eggert Ó. Brím 1895, 12-13), an endingless dat. sg. (see LP: hamr) standing in apposition to hilmi ‘the ruler’ (so Noreen, Yt 1925). The nickname is of a common type: a bahuvrihi or exocentric nominal cpd characterising a person by a distinctive feature, cf. blátǫnn ‘Blue-tooth’ or hvítbeinn ‘White-bone’, and evidence that Yngvarr had a nickname based on ljós- ‘light, bright’ is found in HN (2003, 78): Ynguar, qui cognominatus est Canutus ‘Ynguar, who is nicknamed Canutus’. Canutus comes from Lat. canus ‘whitish-gray’ (HN 2003, 137), and cf. Yngvarr’s nickname inn hári ‘Grey-haired’ in the Ættartala in Flat (1860-8, I, 26). Other emendations are less satisfactory. (b) Finnur Jónsson (Hkr 1893-1901, I; Skj B) eliminates ok against all the mss. (c) Eggert Ó. Brím’s suggestion (1895, 12-13) of ljóshárum ‘the light-haired’ also goes against the ms. evidence. (d) The more extensive emendation of the line to ok ljóthamr ‘and ugly-skinned’ preferred by Kock (NN §1917) and Åkerlund (1939, 105), conceived as an adj. associated with eistneskr herr ‘Estonian force’, is to be rejected, because it ignores ljós, attested in all mss, and the attestation of Yngvarr’s nickname in HN .

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hofum ‘’

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ham* ‘hamr’

hamr (noun m.; °dat. -; dat. *-um): skin, shape, form < ljóshamr (adj.)

[5] ‑ham*: om. Kˣ, papp18ˣ, 521ˣ, 761aˣ, ‘‑hofvm’ F, ‑hǫmum J1ˣ, J2ˣ, R685ˣ, 2368ˣ, 743ˣ

notes

[5] ok Ljósham* ‘and Ljóshamr (“the Light-skinned”)’: Emendation is necessary, since the line is too short in the K transcripts (ok ljós) but too long in the J transcripts and LaufE (ok ljóshǫmum). (a) The emendation adopted here produces a cpd that appears to be a nickname of Yngvarr (as proposed by Eggert Ó. Brím 1895, 12-13), an endingless dat. sg. (see LP: hamr) standing in apposition to hilmi ‘the ruler’ (so Noreen, Yt 1925). The nickname is of a common type: a bahuvrihi or exocentric nominal cpd characterising a person by a distinctive feature, cf. blátǫnn ‘Blue-tooth’ or hvítbeinn ‘White-bone’, and evidence that Yngvarr had a nickname based on ljós- ‘light, bright’ is found in HN (2003, 78): Ynguar, qui cognominatus est Canutus ‘Ynguar, who is nicknamed Canutus’. Canutus comes from Lat. canus ‘whitish-gray’ (HN 2003, 137), and cf. Yngvarr’s nickname inn hári ‘Grey-haired’ in the Ættartala in Flat (1860-8, I, 26). Other emendations are less satisfactory. (b) Finnur Jónsson (Hkr 1893-1901, I; Skj B) eliminates ok against all the mss. (c) Eggert Ó. Brím’s suggestion (1895, 12-13) of ljóshárum ‘the light-haired’ also goes against the ms. evidence. (d) The more extensive emendation of the line to ok ljóthamr ‘and ugly-skinned’ preferred by Kock (NN §1917) and Åkerlund (1939, 105), conceived as an adj. associated with eistneskr herr ‘Estonian force’, is to be rejected, because it ignores ljós, attested in all mss, and the attestation of Yngvarr’s nickname in HN .

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lugar ‘’

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lagar ‘of the water’

lǫgr (noun m.; °lagar, dat. legi): sea

[6] lagar: ‘lugar’ R685ˣ

kennings

hjarta lagar.
‘the heart of the water. ’
   = ISLAND

the heart of the water. → ISLAND

notes

[6] hjarta lagar ‘the heart of the water [ISLAND]’: The prose sources diverge on the interpretation of this kenning. (a) HN (2003, 78) mentions an island, and this is assumed in the present edn. Åkerlund (1939, 105) cites ModSwed. island names containing hjärta ‘heart’ (and see Noreen 1919, 147-8). (b) Snorri in Yng (see Context) evidently thinks hjarta lagar a stone-kenning and as such an ofljóst for the p. n. Steinn, and it is cited as an expression for steinn ‘stone, rock’ in LaufE (see Context above, and cf. LaufE 1979, 307). Finnur Jónsson (Hkr 1893-1901, IV; Skj B; Yng 1912) concurs, as do Lindquist (1929, 67) and Hkr 1991. However, the periphrasis ‘heart of the water’ for ‘stone’ would deviate from usual stone-kennings, where normally only hard body parts such as beinn ‘bone’, leggr ‘leg-bone’, rif ‘rib’, tǫnn ‘tooth’ or jótr ‘molar’ serve as base-words (Meissner 90). The closest parallel would be hafnýra ‘sea-kidney’ (ÚlfrU Húsdr 2/6III), but here, too, the meaning is uncertain. (c) Schück (1905-10, 150) and Noreen (1912b, 131; Yt 1925) view hjarta lagar as a metaphor for the capital city of a country on the sea. Such a metaphor would be conceivable in modern literature, but hardly in skaldic poetry.

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hjarta ‘the heart’

hjarta (noun n.; °-; *-u): heart

[6] hjarta: bjarta 521ˣ

kennings

hjarta lagar.
‘the heart of the water. ’
   = ISLAND

the heart of the water. → ISLAND

notes

[6] hjarta lagar ‘the heart of the water [ISLAND]’: The prose sources diverge on the interpretation of this kenning. (a) HN (2003, 78) mentions an island, and this is assumed in the present edn. Åkerlund (1939, 105) cites ModSwed. island names containing hjärta ‘heart’ (and see Noreen 1919, 147-8). (b) Snorri in Yng (see Context) evidently thinks hjarta lagar a stone-kenning and as such an ofljóst for the p. n. Steinn, and it is cited as an expression for steinn ‘stone, rock’ in LaufE (see Context above, and cf. LaufE 1979, 307). Finnur Jónsson (Hkr 1893-1901, IV; Skj B; Yng 1912) concurs, as do Lindquist (1929, 67) and Hkr 1991. However, the periphrasis ‘heart of the water’ for ‘stone’ would deviate from usual stone-kennings, where normally only hard body parts such as beinn ‘bone’, leggr ‘leg-bone’, rif ‘rib’, tǫnn ‘tooth’ or jótr ‘molar’ serve as base-words (Meissner 90). The closest parallel would be hafnýra ‘sea-kidney’ (ÚlfrU Húsdr 2/6III), but here, too, the meaning is uncertain. (c) Schück (1905-10, 150) and Noreen (1912b, 131; Yt 1925) view hjarta lagar as a metaphor for the capital city of a country on the sea. Such a metaphor would be conceivable in modern literature, but hardly in skaldic poetry.

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eistneskr ‘an Estonian’

eistneskr (adj.): [an Estonian]

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austinar ‘’

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austmarr ‘the Baltic sea’

Austmarr (noun m.): [Baltic sea]

[9] austmarr: ‘austinar’ J1ˣ

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jǫfri ‘ruler’

jǫfurr (noun m.): ruler, prince

[10] jǫfri: efri F

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sœnskum ‘of the Swedish’

sœnskr (adj.): Swedish

[10] sœnskum: ‘fjollum’ F, fǫllnum J1ˣ, J2ˣ, R685ˣ

notes

[10] sœnskum ‘Swedish’: It is impossible to choose between the variants sœnskum and fǫllnum ‘the fallen one’ found in the mss. This edn gives precedence to the main ms. .

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Gymis ‘of Gymir’

2. Gymir (noun m.): Gymir

notes

[11] Gymis ‘of Gymir <sea-giant>’: In skaldic poetry Ægir, Gymir and Hlér are used synonymously as names for a sea-giant as well as terms for ‘ocean’, cf. Note to Þul Sjóvar 2/6III and Snorri’s statement in Skm (SnE 1998, I, 37) about the names being identical. For the etymology of Gymir, see Note to Þul Jǫtna I 1/8III.

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Interactive view: tap on words in the text for notes and glosses

Yngvarr, son of King Eysteinn, becomes ruler of Sweden. Having made peace with the Danes, he goes raiding in the Baltic. On a foray to Eistland (Estonia), he is attacked by a large Estonian force near Steinn and killed in battle. He is buried in Aðalsýsla (see Note to l. 3 below) in a mound by the sea. In LaufE, ll. 5-8 are cited in a section illustrating terms for stones or rocks (steina heiti).

[9-12]: These lines almost seem modern and romantic in their imagery: the rush of the sea is represented as the singing of songs for the enjoyment of a dead person. But caution is needed in projecting this notion back to such an early period because much remains uncertain: whether the king is buried in a mound or has, like most of his ancestors, been cremated on a funeral pyre, and whether his enjoying the rush of the sea is to be taken at face value or as ironic. (On an interpretation of the poem as an ironic composition see Introduction.) At gamni ‘to the delight’ is reminiscent of the erotic relationship between the goddess of death and a deceased prince elsewhere in Yt (see sts 7/4, 24/1 and Notes).

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