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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Þjóð Yt 3I

Edith Marold (ed.) 2012, ‘Þjóðólfr ór Hvini, Ynglingatal 3’ 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. 12.

Þjóðólfr ór HviniYnglingatal
234

Vilja ‘of Vili’

Víli (noun m.): [Vili]

kennings

bróður Vilja,
‘the brother of Vili ’
   = Óðinn

the brother of Vili → Óðinn
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bróður ‘the brother’

bróðir (noun m.; °bróður/brǿðr/bróðurs, dat. bróður/brǿðr/breðr, acc. bróður/brǿðr; brǿðr/bróðr/breðr (brǿðrirnir Jvs291 75¹⁴), gen. brǿ---): brother

kennings

bróður Vilja,
‘the brother of Vili ’
   = Óðinn

the brother of Vili → Óðinn
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vitta ‘of charms’

vitt (noun n.): charm

[3] vitta: vitja F

kennings

véttr vitta
‘the creature of charms ’
   = SORCERESS

the creature of charms → SORCERESS

notes

[3] véttr vitta ‘the creature of charms [SORCERESS]’: Véttr can refer in general to ‘a human, a thing’ as well as to a ‘superhuman being’ (Fritzner: vættr 1-3). The sorceress-kenning is based on the kenning pattern that refers to humans or mythical beings by a characteristic object or possession.

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véttr ‘the creature’

1. vættr (noun f.): being, creature

[3] véttr: vætr F

kennings

véttr vitta
‘the creature of charms ’
   = SORCERESS

the creature of charms → SORCERESS

notes

[3] véttr vitta ‘the creature of charms [SORCERESS]’: Véttr can refer in general to ‘a human, a thing’ as well as to a ‘superhuman being’ (Fritzner: vættr 1-3). The sorceress-kenning is based on the kenning pattern that refers to humans or mythical beings by a characteristic object or possession.

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Vanlanda ‘Vanlandi’

Vanlandi (noun m.): Vanlandi

notes

[4] Vanlanda ‘Vanlandi’: This is one of the legendary kings of the Yngling lineage. (a) His name could be explained as having originally been a nickname (Neckel 1908a, 395) translatable as ‘the Landless’, cf. stillir lýða, landa vanr ‘the controller of men, lacking lands’ in Bragi Rdr 10/1-2III, which would indicate a landless viking king (Turville-Petre 1978-9, 64). One would expect *land(a)vani, but this problem is resolved if the name is viewed as a bahuvrihi cpd (cf. Note to st. 18/5) with an individualizing Gmc ‑an suffix giving ON ‑i (on this see Krahe and Meid 1969, 31-4). (b) Noreen (1892, 216) connected the first element of the name with the Vanir (gods), translating Vanlandi as ‘countryman of the Vanir’ (likewise Wadstein 1895a, 64; Finnur Jónsson 1909, 385).

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þás ‘when’

þás (conj.): when

[5] þás: þá Kˣ, papp18ˣ, 521ˣ, F, 761aˣ, ok J2ˣ, R685ˣ

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troll ‘the troll’

troll (noun n.; °-s; -): troll < trollkundr (adj.): troll-descendant

kennings

trollkund Grímhildr líðs
‘the troll-descended Grímhildr of strong drink ’
   = WOMAN

the troll-descended Grímhildr of strong drink → WOMAN

notes

[5, 7] trollkund Grímhildr líðs ‘the troll-descended Grímhildr of strong drink [WOMAN]’: Grímhildr can be interpreted (a) as an appellative or (b) as a proper name, either of a legendary heroine or of a sorceress. (a) Because Grímhildr is written with lower case <g> in and Fˣ but only in J2ˣ with a capital letter, it has been explained by some scholars as a cpd of two nouns: grím- translated as ‘night’ (cf. LP: gríma 4) and ‑hildr as ‘valkyrie’ (cf. LP: hildr 2). Within this general approach there have been various specific theories. (i) In light of the prose context of Hkr, which links Vanlandi’s death to a mara (a mythical being, cf. Note to l. 12), several sources (Falk 1889c, 264; Hkr 1893-1901, IV; Yng 1912; LP: grím-Hildr; Hkr 1991) assume the cpd to be a kenning ‘hostile creature of the night [NIGHTMARE]’. However, the cpd is not plausible as a kenning since it appears to be a unique coinage, rather than conforming to known semantic-structural patterns. Further, kennings with a base-word meaning ‘hostile creature’ always denote something hostile to the accompanying gen., e.g. a ‘dog (or wolf) of the trees [FIRE]’ damages the trees and a ‘house-enemy [FIRE]’ damages the house. (ii) The primary meaning of gríma, a kind of cowl, helmet or head-covering, inspired a further interpretation of grímhildr as a woman-kenning ‘Hildr of the hood’ (Yt 1925). However, the expected compounding form would be not grím- but grímu-, as in grímumaðr ‘a hooded man’ or grímueiðr ‘an oath against a grímumaðr’ (Fritzner: grímueiðr, grímumaðr). (b) Grímhildr is therefore interpreted in this edn as a proper name linked to the word líðs, with a long vowel, which is n. gen. sg. ‘of strong drink’. The result is a normal woman-kenning of the type ‘heroine/troll-woman of strong drink’. The name Grímhildr could refer to a figure from the Nibelung legend (Marold 1983, 116-17).

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kund ‘descended’

kundr (noun m.): descendant < trollkundr (adj.): troll-descendant

kennings

trollkund Grímhildr líðs
‘the troll-descended Grímhildr of strong drink ’
   = WOMAN

the troll-descended Grímhildr of strong drink → WOMAN

notes

[5, 7] trollkund Grímhildr líðs ‘the troll-descended Grímhildr of strong drink [WOMAN]’: Grímhildr can be interpreted (a) as an appellative or (b) as a proper name, either of a legendary heroine or of a sorceress. (a) Because Grímhildr is written with lower case <g> in and Fˣ but only in J2ˣ with a capital letter, it has been explained by some scholars as a cpd of two nouns: grím- translated as ‘night’ (cf. LP: gríma 4) and ‑hildr as ‘valkyrie’ (cf. LP: hildr 2). Within this general approach there have been various specific theories. (i) In light of the prose context of Hkr, which links Vanlandi’s death to a mara (a mythical being, cf. Note to l. 12), several sources (Falk 1889c, 264; Hkr 1893-1901, IV; Yng 1912; LP: grím-Hildr; Hkr 1991) assume the cpd to be a kenning ‘hostile creature of the night [NIGHTMARE]’. However, the cpd is not plausible as a kenning since it appears to be a unique coinage, rather than conforming to known semantic-structural patterns. Further, kennings with a base-word meaning ‘hostile creature’ always denote something hostile to the accompanying gen., e.g. a ‘dog (or wolf) of the trees [FIRE]’ damages the trees and a ‘house-enemy [FIRE]’ damages the house. (ii) The primary meaning of gríma, a kind of cowl, helmet or head-covering, inspired a further interpretation of grímhildr as a woman-kenning ‘Hildr of the hood’ (Yt 1925). However, the expected compounding form would be not grím- but grímu-, as in grímumaðr ‘a hooded man’ or grímueiðr ‘an oath against a grímumaðr’ (Fritzner: grímueiðr, grímumaðr). (b) Grímhildr is therefore interpreted in this edn as a proper name linked to the word líðs, with a long vowel, which is n. gen. sg. ‘of strong drink’. The result is a normal woman-kenning of the type ‘heroine/troll-woman of strong drink’. The name Grímhildr could refer to a figure from the Nibelung legend (Marold 1983, 116-17).

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trodo ‘troðu’

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troða ‘trample’

troða (verb): tread

[6] troða: ‘trodo’ F

notes

[6] troða ‘trample’: The word can be taken either in the literal sense ‘trample to death’ or in the metaphorical sense ‘overpower’, cf. st. 20/1, 2-3, 5-8, Egill Hfl 10/7-8V (Eg 43).

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líðs ‘of strong drink’

líð (noun n.): drink

kennings

trollkund Grímhildr líðs
‘the troll-descended Grímhildr of strong drink ’
   = WOMAN

the troll-descended Grímhildr of strong drink → WOMAN

notes

[5, 7] trollkund Grímhildr líðs ‘the troll-descended Grímhildr of strong drink [WOMAN]’: Grímhildr can be interpreted (a) as an appellative or (b) as a proper name, either of a legendary heroine or of a sorceress. (a) Because Grímhildr is written with lower case <g> in and Fˣ but only in J2ˣ with a capital letter, it has been explained by some scholars as a cpd of two nouns: grím- translated as ‘night’ (cf. LP: gríma 4) and ‑hildr as ‘valkyrie’ (cf. LP: hildr 2). Within this general approach there have been various specific theories. (i) In light of the prose context of Hkr, which links Vanlandi’s death to a mara (a mythical being, cf. Note to l. 12), several sources (Falk 1889c, 264; Hkr 1893-1901, IV; Yng 1912; LP: grím-Hildr; Hkr 1991) assume the cpd to be a kenning ‘hostile creature of the night [NIGHTMARE]’. However, the cpd is not plausible as a kenning since it appears to be a unique coinage, rather than conforming to known semantic-structural patterns. Further, kennings with a base-word meaning ‘hostile creature’ always denote something hostile to the accompanying gen., e.g. a ‘dog (or wolf) of the trees [FIRE]’ damages the trees and a ‘house-enemy [FIRE]’ damages the house. (ii) The primary meaning of gríma, a kind of cowl, helmet or head-covering, inspired a further interpretation of grímhildr as a woman-kenning ‘Hildr of the hood’ (Yt 1925). However, the expected compounding form would be not grím- but grímu-, as in grímumaðr ‘a hooded man’ or grímueiðr ‘an oath against a grímumaðr’ (Fritzner: grímueiðr, grímumaðr). (b) Grímhildr is therefore interpreted in this edn as a proper name linked to the word líðs, with a long vowel, which is n. gen. sg. ‘of strong drink’. The result is a normal woman-kenning of the type ‘heroine/troll-woman of strong drink’. The name Grímhildr could refer to a figure from the Nibelung legend (Marold 1983, 116-17).

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grimilldr ‘’

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Grímhildr ‘Grímhildr’

Grímhildr (noun f.): Grímhildr

[7] Grímhildr: ‘grimilldr’ F

kennings

trollkund Grímhildr líðs
‘the troll-descended Grímhildr of strong drink ’
   = WOMAN

the troll-descended Grímhildr of strong drink → WOMAN

notes

[5, 7] trollkund Grímhildr líðs ‘the troll-descended Grímhildr of strong drink [WOMAN]’: Grímhildr can be interpreted (a) as an appellative or (b) as a proper name, either of a legendary heroine or of a sorceress. (a) Because Grímhildr is written with lower case <g> in and Fˣ but only in J2ˣ with a capital letter, it has been explained by some scholars as a cpd of two nouns: grím- translated as ‘night’ (cf. LP: gríma 4) and ‑hildr as ‘valkyrie’ (cf. LP: hildr 2). Within this general approach there have been various specific theories. (i) In light of the prose context of Hkr, which links Vanlandi’s death to a mara (a mythical being, cf. Note to l. 12), several sources (Falk 1889c, 264; Hkr 1893-1901, IV; Yng 1912; LP: grím-Hildr; Hkr 1991) assume the cpd to be a kenning ‘hostile creature of the night [NIGHTMARE]’. However, the cpd is not plausible as a kenning since it appears to be a unique coinage, rather than conforming to known semantic-structural patterns. Further, kennings with a base-word meaning ‘hostile creature’ always denote something hostile to the accompanying gen., e.g. a ‘dog (or wolf) of the trees [FIRE]’ damages the trees and a ‘house-enemy [FIRE]’ damages the house. (ii) The primary meaning of gríma, a kind of cowl, helmet or head-covering, inspired a further interpretation of grímhildr as a woman-kenning ‘Hildr of the hood’ (Yt 1925). However, the expected compounding form would be not grím- but grímu-, as in grímumaðr ‘a hooded man’ or grímueiðr ‘an oath against a grímumaðr’ (Fritzner: grímueiðr, grímumaðr). (b) Grímhildr is therefore interpreted in this edn as a proper name linked to the word líðs, with a long vowel, which is n. gen. sg. ‘of strong drink’. The result is a normal woman-kenning of the type ‘heroine/troll-woman of strong drink’. The name Grímhildr could refer to a figure from the Nibelung legend (Marold 1983, 116-17).

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ljóna ‘of men’

ljónar (noun m.): men

kennings

bága ljóna.
‘the fighter of men. ’
   = KING

the fighter of men. → KING
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bága ‘the fighter’

bági (noun m.; °-a): adversary

[8] bága: baka J2ˣ, R685ˣ

kennings

bága ljóna.
‘the fighter of men. ’
   = KING

the fighter of men. → KING
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‘that’

1. sá (pron.; °gen. þess, dat. þeim, acc. þann; f. sú, gen. þeirrar, acc. þá; n. þat, dat. því; pl. m. þeir, f. þǽ---): that (one), those

kennings

sá menglǫtuðr,
‘that ring-destroyer ’
   = GENEROUS MAN

that ring-destroyer → GENEROUS MAN
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á ‘on’

3. á (prep.): on, at

notes

[10] á beði Skútu ‘on the bank of the Skúta’: The river Skúta probably refers to Skutån in Skuttunge, Uppland (Yt 1925). According to Vikstrand (2004, 376-7), who refers to the current p. n. Skottbro originally noted by Lindqvist (1936, 316-17), it might also be an old river name from Vendel, Uppland.

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beði ‘the bank’

beðr (noun m.; °dat. -/-i; -ir, dat. -jum): bed

[10] beði: bǫði J2ˣ, R685ˣ

notes

[10] á beði Skútu ‘on the bank of the Skúta’: The river Skúta probably refers to Skutån in Skuttunge, Uppland (Yt 1925). According to Vikstrand (2004, 376-7), who refers to the current p. n. Skottbro originally noted by Lindqvist (1936, 316-17), it might also be an old river name from Vendel, Uppland.

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Skútu ‘of the Skúta’

2. Skúta (noun f.): Skúta

notes

[10] á beði Skútu ‘on the bank of the Skúta’: The river Skúta probably refers to Skutån in Skuttunge, Uppland (Yt 1925). According to Vikstrand (2004, 376-7), who refers to the current p. n. Skottbro originally noted by Lindqvist (1936, 316-17), it might also be an old river name from Vendel, Uppland.

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men ‘ring’

2. men (noun n.; °; dat. menjum): neck-ring < menglǫtuðr (noun m.): necklace-destroyer

kennings

sá menglǫtuðr,
‘that ring-destroyer ’
   = GENEROUS MAN

that ring-destroyer → GENEROUS MAN
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glǫtuðr ‘destroyer’

glǫtuðr (noun m.): destroyer < menglǫtuðr (noun m.): necklace-destroyer

kennings

sá menglǫtuðr,
‘that ring-destroyer ’
   = GENEROUS MAN

that ring-destroyer → GENEROUS MAN
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mara ‘the mara

1. mara (noun f.; °maru): [mara]

notes

[12] mara ‘the mara’: ON mara corresponds to a word shared by all Gmc languages: OHG mara, OE mæra/mære, OFris. (nacht)merie, ModGer. Mahre, ModEngl. (night)mare, ModDan. mare, ModSwed. mara, Faroese marra. It is also known in ModFr. cauchemar. A mara is a mythical being, sometimes called an elf, which causes nightmares such that the sleeper believes an animal or human creature, commonly a woman, to be sitting on his breast, crushing him to the point of suffocation. The notion exists worldwide and was known in antiquity as an incubus or a succubus (cf. ‘Mahr, Alp’, HDA, 5, 1508-11; Röhrich 1999; Lecouteux 1987).

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King Vanlandi, son of Sveigðir, stays the winter in Finnland (the land of the Saami) with the prince Snjár inn gamli (whose name means ‘Snow the Old’) and marries his daughter Drífa (‘Snow-storm’). When after ten years he does not come back to her as promised, Drífa commissions a sorceress to perform a spell which will either bring him back or kill him. As Vanlandi’s men do not let him return to Finnland, he is killed by a mara as he sleeps.

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