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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Þjóð Yt 27I

Edith Marold (ed.) 2012, ‘Þjóðólfr ór Hvini, Ynglingatal 27’ 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. 58.

Þjóðólfr ór HviniYnglingatal
2627

veitk ‘I know’

1. vita (verb): know

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blôum ‘the blue’

blár (adj.): black

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kenni ‘nick’

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nafn ‘name’

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reiðar ‘of the carriage’

1. reið (noun f.; °-ar; -ir/-ar): riding; chariot

kennings

stjóri reiðar,
‘the steerer of the carriage, ’
   = RULER

the steerer of the carriage, → RULER

notes

[6] stjóri reiðar ‘the steerer of the carriage [RULER]’: (a) This interpretation (also adopted in Bugge 1894, 138; Yng 1912, 70; Noreen 1912b, 135; Brøgger 1916, 39) preserves the normal meaning of reið f. (LP: 1. reið). The use of carriages is proven by the Oseberg ship burial, which is dated to approximately the same period and contained a richly ornamented carriage as well as a tapestry depicting figures riding on carriages (Graham-Campbell 1994, 42-3). That Rǫgnvaldr is associated with a carriage is perhaps indicative of his involvement in cultic or royal processions akin to the Swedish custom of Eriksgata (cf. ARG I, 473-4). The base-word stjóri is primarily used to refer to a ruler and appears with designations for people, entourage etc. (Meissner 328; for a few exceptions see LP: stjóri). Here, however, stjóri may have a meaning comparable to that of the verb stýra ‘to steer’, which can be used for ships and carriages but also for countries and people (cf. LP: stýra). (b) Others (Wadstein 1895a, 82; Storm 1899, 139; Brøgger 1925, 185; Hkr 1991) have interpreted reið as ‘ship’, citing a ship heiti in Þul Skipa 3/8III. However, reið ‘carriage’ is normally used not as a ship-heiti but as the base-word in ship-kennings, with determinants such as hlunna ‘of launching-rollers’ or the name of a sea-king (see LP: 1. reið 1). (c) Noreen (Yt 1925; cf. Lindquist 1929, 73) suggests that reið meant a troop of riders, but the word is not attested in this meaning, and mounted warriors were not common in the Viking Age.

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hœri ‘’

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stjóri ‘the steerer’

stjóri (noun m.; °-a; -ar): steerer

kennings

stjóri reiðar,
‘the steerer of the carriage, ’
   = RULER

the steerer of the carriage, → RULER

notes

[6] stjóri reiðar ‘the steerer of the carriage [RULER]’: (a) This interpretation (also adopted in Bugge 1894, 138; Yng 1912, 70; Noreen 1912b, 135; Brøgger 1916, 39) preserves the normal meaning of reið f. (LP: 1. reið). The use of carriages is proven by the Oseberg ship burial, which is dated to approximately the same period and contained a richly ornamented carriage as well as a tapestry depicting figures riding on carriages (Graham-Campbell 1994, 42-3). That Rǫgnvaldr is associated with a carriage is perhaps indicative of his involvement in cultic or royal processions akin to the Swedish custom of Eriksgata (cf. ARG I, 473-4). The base-word stjóri is primarily used to refer to a ruler and appears with designations for people, entourage etc. (Meissner 328; for a few exceptions see LP: stjóri). Here, however, stjóri may have a meaning comparable to that of the verb stýra ‘to steer’, which can be used for ships and carriages but also for countries and people (cf. LP: stýra). (b) Others (Wadstein 1895a, 82; Storm 1899, 139; Brøgger 1925, 185; Hkr 1991) have interpreted reið as ‘ship’, citing a ship heiti in Þul Skipa 3/8III. However, reið ‘carriage’ is normally used not as a ship-heiti but as the base-word in ship-kennings, with determinants such as hlunna ‘of launching-rollers’ or the name of a sea-king (see LP: 1. reið 1). (c) Noreen (Yt 1925; cf. Lindquist 1929, 73) suggests that reið meant a troop of riders, but the word is not attested in this meaning, and mounted warriors were not common in the Viking Age.

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heiðum ‘with Honours’

4. heiðr (adj.): bright < heiðumhár (adj.)4. heiðr (adj.): bright < heiðumhár (adj.)

[7] heiðum‑: so 521ˣ, F, J2ˣ, 761aˣ, heitum Kˣ, papp18ˣ, J1ˣ, hættum corrected from heitum in a later hand R685ˣ

notes

[7] heiðumhôr ‘High with Honours’: This, the explanation generally accepted today, is first proposed by Bugge (1894, 137-8), who notes that although ON heiðr does not occur in the pl., synonyms like sœmð do. The comp. heiðumhæri is the normal form in prose (on the difference between heiðumhôr and heiðumhæri, see ÍF 26, 83, n.).

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hôr ‘High’

3. hár (adj.; °-van; compar. hǽrri, superl. hǽstr): high < heiðumhár (adj.)3. hár (adj.; °-van; compar. hǽrri, superl. hǽstr): high < heitumhár (adj.)3. hár (adj.; °-van; compar. hǽrri, superl. hǽstr): high < hættumhár (adj.)

[7] ‑hôr: ‑hœri F

notes

[7] heiðumhôr ‘High with Honours’: This, the explanation generally accepted today, is first proposed by Bugge (1894, 137-8), who notes that although ON heiðr does not occur in the pl., synonyms like sœmð do. The comp. heiðumhæri is the normal form in prose (on the difference between heiðumhôr and heiðumhæri, see ÍF 26, 83, n.).

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derr ‘’

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es ‘is’

2. vera (verb): be, is, was, were, are, am

[8] es (‘er’): ‘derr’ Kˣ, papp18ˣ, 521ˣ, J1ˣ, J2ˣ, R685ˣ

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Ok ‘And’

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

[9] Ok mildgeðr: so F, 761aˣ, om. Kˣ, papp18ˣ, 521ˣ, J1ˣ, J2ˣ, R685ˣ

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mild ‘the generous’

mildr (adj.; °compar. -ri/-ari, superl. -astr): mild, gentle, gracious, generous < mildgeðr (adj.)

[9] Ok mildgeðr: so F, 761aˣ, om. Kˣ, papp18ˣ, 521ˣ, J1ˣ, J2ˣ, R685ˣ

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geðr ‘minded’

-geðr (adj.): -minded < mildgeðr (adj.)

[9] Ok mildgeðr: so F, 761aˣ, om. Kˣ, papp18ˣ, 521ˣ, J1ˣ, J2ˣ, R685ˣ

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markar ‘of the forest’

2. mǫrk (noun f.; °merkr; merkr): forest

[10] markar dróttinn: so F, 761aˣ, om. Kˣ, papp18ˣ, 521ˣ, J1ˣ, J2ˣ, R685ˣ

notes

[10] dróttinn markar ‘lord of the forest’: Since ‘lord of the forest’ would not be a standard designation for a king, markar, gen. sg. of mǫrk ‘forest’ or possibly ‘borderland’ (CVC: mörk), may stand for the land in general.

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dróttinn ‘lord’

dróttinn (noun m.; °dróttins, dat. dróttni (drottini [$1049$]); dróttnar): lord, master

[10] markar dróttinn: so F, 761aˣ, om. Kˣ, papp18ˣ, 521ˣ, J1ˣ, J2ˣ, R685ˣ

notes

[10] dróttinn markar ‘lord of the forest’: Since ‘lord of the forest’ would not be a standard designation for a king, markar, gen. sg. of mǫrk ‘forest’ or possibly ‘borderland’ (CVC: mörk), may stand for the land in general.

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Rǫgnvaldr was king in Vestfold after his father Óláfr Geirstaðaálfr. Þjóðólfr composed Yt in his honour.

In its praise of a ruler, the stanza differs decidedly from the other stanzas, and it clearly indicates that the poem was composed for Rǫgnvaldr. According to Yng (ÍF 26, 83, and Context above) Rǫgnvaldr was a son of Óláfr Geirstaðaálfr and hence, like Haraldr hárfagri, a grandson of Guðrøðr. This would find some support in the fact that Haraldr named one of his sons Rǫgnvaldr, possibly following the custom of naming a child after a recently deceased kinsman (Nerman 1914; Marold 1987, 83 n. 3). No trace of Rǫgnvaldr remains in other historical traditions, however, and this has led to diverse speculations. (a) Bugge (1894, 134-5) argues that Rǫgnvaldr was unrelated to Haraldr hárfagri. Believing that Yt was composed in Northumbria or in Ireland, he attempts to identify several kings who fell in those places as Rǫgnvaldr. (b) Wadstein (1895a, 80-2) attempts to show that the last stanza was composed for Haraldr hárfagri (already suggested by Guðbrandur Vigfússon in CPB I, 243). He takes rǫgnvaldr to be a noun meaning ‘the powerful ruler’ and views heiðumhárr as equivalent to hárfagri (‘Fair-hair’), which Bugge (1894, 163) convincingly refutes. (c) According to Bergsveinn Birgisson (2008, 410), Rǫgnvaldr may have been Reginfridus, son of the Danish king Godefridus. — [9-10]: The last two lines are only attested in F and 761aˣ and are syntactically incomplete. It is possible that they are a fragment of a lost stanza (Konráð Gíslason 1881, 185-6; Bugge 1894, 137), and they are omitted in some eds (Hkr 1893-1901; Yng 1912; Skald; ÍF 26; cf. also Åkerlund 1939, 123-4; NN §1014A).

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