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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

Enn á vit
Vilja bróður
vitta véttr
Vanlanda kom,
þás trollkund
of troða skyldi
líðs Grímhildr
ljóna bága.
Ok sá brann
á beði Skútu
menglǫtuðr,
es mara kvalði.

Enn {véttr vitta} kom Vanlanda á vit {bróður Vilja}, þás {trollkund Grímhildr líðs} skyldi of troða {bága ljóna}. Ok {sá menglǫtuðr}, es mara kvalði, brann á beði Skútu.

And {the creature of charms} [SORCERESS] got Vanlandi to visit {the brother of Vili <god>} [= Óðinn] when {the troll-descended Grímhildr of strong drink} [WOMAN] had to trample {the fighter of men} [KING]. And {that ring-destroyer} [GENEROUS MAN] whom the mara tormented burned on the bank of the Skúta.

Mss: (17r), papp18ˣ(5r), 521ˣ(15), F(3rb), J2ˣ(8v), R685ˣ(10v) (Hkr); 761aˣ(55v)

Readings: [3] vitta: vitja F;    véttr: vætr F    [5] þás: þá Kˣ, papp18ˣ, 521ˣ, F, 761aˣ, ok J2ˣ, R685ˣ    [6] troða: ‘trodo’ F    [7] Grímhildr: ‘grimilldr’ F    [8] bága: baka J2ˣ, R685ˣ    [10] beði: bǫði J2ˣ, R685ˣ

Editions: Skj AI, 7-8, Skj BI, 7, Skald I, 4, NN §1009; Hkr 1893-1901, I, 28, IV, 5-6, ÍF 26, 29, Hkr 1991, I, 16-17 (Yng ch. 13), F 1871, 10; Yng 1912, 21, 57-8, Yng 2000, 17; Yt 1914, 2, Yt 1925, 198, 217‑19.

Context: 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.

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. — [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). — [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). — [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). — [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. — [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).

References

  1. Bibliography
  2. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  3. NN = Kock, Ernst Albin. 1923-44. Notationes Norrœnæ: Anteckningar till Edda och skaldediktning. Lunds Universitets årsskrift new ser. 1. 28 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  4. LP = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1931. Lexicon poeticum antiquæ linguæ septentrionalis: Ordbog over det norsk-islandske skjaldesprog oprindelig forfattet af Sveinbjörn Egilsson. 2nd edn. Copenhagen: Møller.
  5. Fritzner = Fritzner, Johan. 1883-96. Ordbog over det gamle norske sprog. 3 vols. Kristiania (Oslo): Den norske forlagsforening. 4th edn. Rpt. 1973. Oslo etc.: Universitetsforlaget.
  6. ÍF 26-8 = Heimskringla. Ed. Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson. 1941-51.
  7. Hkr 1893-1901 = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1893-1901. Heimskringla: Nóregs konunga sǫgur af Snorri Sturluson. 4 vols. SUGNL 23. Copenhagen: Møller.
  8. Hkr 1991 = Bergljót S. Kristjánsdóttir et al., eds. 1991. Heimskringla. 3 vols. Reykjavík: Mál og menning.
  9. F 1871 = Unger, C. R., ed. 1871. Fríssbók: Codex Frisianus. En samling af norske konge-sagaer. Christiania (Oslo): Malling.
  10. Neckel, Gustav. 1908a. Beiträge zur Eddaforschung mit Exkursen zur Heldensage. Dortmund: Ruhfus.
  11. Marold, Edith. 1983. Kenningkunst: Ein Beitrag zu einer Poetik der Skaldendichtung. Quellen und Forschungen zur Sprach- und Kulturgeschichte der germanischen Völker, new ser. 80. Berlin: de Gruyter.
  12. Wadstein, Elis. 1895a. ‘Bidrag till tolkning och belysning av skalde- ock Edda-dikter. I. Till tolkningen av Ynglingatal’. ANF 11, 64-92.
  13. Falk, Hjalmar. 1889c. ‘Med hvilken ret kaldes skaldesproget kunstigt? 1. Homonymiens rolle. 2. De saakaldte halfkenningar. 3. Personnavnes indflydelse paa mands- og kvindekenningar. 4. Oversigt over det poetiske udtryks udvikling’. ANF 5, 245-77.
  14. Yng 2000 = Jørgensen, Jon Gunnar, ed. 2000b. Ynglinga saga etter Kringla (AM 35 fol). Series of Dissertations submitted to the Faculty of Arts, University of Oslo 80. Oslo: Unipub forlag.
  15. Yt 1914 = Grape, Anders and Birger Nerman, eds. 1914. Ynglingatal I-IV. Meddelanden från Nordiska Seminariet 3. Uppsala: Berling.
  16. Yng 1912 = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1912. Ynglingasaga. Copenhagen: Gad.
  17. Yt 1925 = Noreen, Adolf, ed. 1925. Ynglingatal: Text, översättning och kommentar. Stockholm: Lagerström.
  18. Finnur Jónsson. 1909. Review of Gustav Neckel. 1908. Beiträge zur Eddaforschung: Mit Exkursen zur Heldensage. Dortmund: Ruhfus. ZDP 41, 381-8.
  19. HDA = Bächtold-Stäubli, Hanns and Eduard Hoffmann-Krayer, eds. 1927-1942. Handwörterbuch des deutschen Aberglaubens. 10 vols. Berlin and Leipzig: de Gruyter.
  20. Krahe, Hans and Wolfgang Meid, eds. 1969. Germanische Sprachwissenschaft III: Wortbildungslehre. 7th edn. Berlin: de Gruyter.
  21. Lindqvist, Sune. 1936. Uppsala högar och Ottarshögen. Stockholm: Wahlström & Widstrand.
  22. Noreen, Adolf. 1892. ‘Mytiska beståndsdelar i Ynglingatal’. In Uppsalastudier tillegnade Sophus Bugge på hans 60-åra födelsedag den 5 januari 1893. Uppsala: Almqvist & Wiksell, 194-225.
  23. Röhrich, Lutz. 1999. ‘Mahrtenehe’. In Brednich et al. 1977-, 9, 44-53.
  24. Turville-Petre, Joan. 1978-9. ‘On Ynglingatal’. MS 11, 48-67.
  25. Vikstrand, Per. 2004. ‘Skúta and Vendil. Two Place Names in Ynglingatal’. In Nahl et al. 2004, 372-87.
  26. Internal references
  27. Kari Ellen Gade 2009, ‘Heimskringla (Hkr)’ in Kari Ellen Gade (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 2: From c. 1035 to c. 1300. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 2. Turnhout: Brepols [check printed volume for citation].
  28. Not published: do not cite (YngII)
  29. Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.) 2017, ‘Bragi inn gamli Boddason, Ragnarsdrápa 10’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 42.
  30. Not published: do not cite (Egill Hfl 10V (Eg 43))
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