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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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ÞjóðA Magnfl 12II

Diana Whaley (ed.) 2009, ‘Þjóðólfr Arnórsson, Magnússflokkr 12’ 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, pp. 78-80.

Þjóðólfr ArnórssonMagnússflokkr
111213

Vǫrðr ‘The guardian’

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

[1] Vǫrðr: ‘Vardr’ Hr

kennings

Vǫrðr vagna kjalar,
‘The guardian of waggons of the keel, ’
   = SEAFARER

waggons of the keel, → SHIPS
The guardian of SHIPS → SEAFARER

notes

[1, 2] vǫrðr vagna kjalar ‘guardian of waggons of the keel [SHIPS > SEAFARER]’: (a) The phrase is here taken in apposition to Magnús, as subject to gekk. (b) Alternatively, either vǫrðr vagna kjalar could be an apostrophe (so Hkr 1991), or Magnús could be (so, seemingly, ÍF 28), but it is awkward to assume that Magnús is simultaneously being apostrophised and spoken about in the 3rd pers. (gekk ‘went’ (l. 1)). (c) The variant Kjalars coupled with regna as variant to vagna (as it is in 39 and J2ˣ) could form a battle-kenning, ‘Óðinn’s showers’ (Kjalarr is a name for Óðinn), but a ship-kenning is more likely as the determinant to vǫrðr ‘guardian’, and more likely amidst the nautical imagery of this st. Moreover, regna fails to supply the requisite aðalhending.

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kjalar ‘of the keel’

kjǫlr (noun m.; °kjalar, dat. kili; kjǫlir): keel, ship

[2] kjalar: kjalars 39, J2ˣ

kennings

Vǫrðr vagna kjalar,
‘The guardian of waggons of the keel, ’
   = SEAFARER

waggons of the keel, → SHIPS
The guardian of SHIPS → SEAFARER

notes

[1, 2] vǫrðr vagna kjalar ‘guardian of waggons of the keel [SHIPS > SEAFARER]’: (a) The phrase is here taken in apposition to Magnús, as subject to gekk. (b) Alternatively, either vǫrðr vagna kjalar could be an apostrophe (so Hkr 1991), or Magnús could be (so, seemingly, ÍF 28), but it is awkward to assume that Magnús is simultaneously being apostrophised and spoken about in the 3rd pers. (gekk ‘went’ (l. 1)). (c) The variant Kjalars coupled with regna as variant to vagna (as it is in 39 and J2ˣ) could form a battle-kenning, ‘Óðinn’s showers’ (Kjalarr is a name for Óðinn), but a ship-kenning is more likely as the determinant to vǫrðr ‘guardian’, and more likely amidst the nautical imagery of this st. Moreover, regna fails to supply the requisite aðalhending.

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kjalar ‘of the keel’

kjǫlr (noun m.; °kjalar, dat. kili; kjǫlir): keel, ship

[2] kjalar: kjalars 39, J2ˣ

kennings

Vǫrðr vagna kjalar,
‘The guardian of waggons of the keel, ’
   = SEAFARER

waggons of the keel, → SHIPS
The guardian of SHIPS → SEAFARER

notes

[1, 2] vǫrðr vagna kjalar ‘guardian of waggons of the keel [SHIPS > SEAFARER]’: (a) The phrase is here taken in apposition to Magnús, as subject to gekk. (b) Alternatively, either vǫrðr vagna kjalar could be an apostrophe (so Hkr 1991), or Magnús could be (so, seemingly, ÍF 28), but it is awkward to assume that Magnús is simultaneously being apostrophised and spoken about in the 3rd pers. (gekk ‘went’ (l. 1)). (c) The variant Kjalars coupled with regna as variant to vagna (as it is in 39 and J2ˣ) could form a battle-kenning, ‘Óðinn’s showers’ (Kjalarr is a name for Óðinn), but a ship-kenning is more likely as the determinant to vǫrðr ‘guardian’, and more likely amidst the nautical imagery of this st. Moreover, regna fails to supply the requisite aðalhending.

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vagna ‘of waggons’

vagn (noun m.; °dat. -i; -ar): wagon

[2] vagna: regna 39, F, E, J2ˣ

kennings

Vǫrðr vagna kjalar,
‘The guardian of waggons of the keel, ’
   = SEAFARER

waggons of the keel, → SHIPS
The guardian of SHIPS → SEAFARER

notes

[1, 2] vǫrðr vagna kjalar ‘guardian of waggons of the keel [SHIPS > SEAFARER]’: (a) The phrase is here taken in apposition to Magnús, as subject to gekk. (b) Alternatively, either vǫrðr vagna kjalar could be an apostrophe (so Hkr 1991), or Magnús could be (so, seemingly, ÍF 28), but it is awkward to assume that Magnús is simultaneously being apostrophised and spoken about in the 3rd pers. (gekk ‘went’ (l. 1)). (c) The variant Kjalars coupled with regna as variant to vagna (as it is in 39 and J2ˣ) could form a battle-kenning, ‘Óðinn’s showers’ (Kjalarr is a name for Óðinn), but a ship-kenning is more likely as the determinant to vǫrðr ‘guardian’, and more likely amidst the nautical imagery of this st. Moreover, regna fails to supply the requisite aðalhending.

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vagna ‘of waggons’

vagn (noun m.; °dat. -i; -ar): wagon

[2] vagna: regna 39, F, E, J2ˣ

kennings

Vǫrðr vagna kjalar,
‘The guardian of waggons of the keel, ’
   = SEAFARER

waggons of the keel, → SHIPS
The guardian of SHIPS → SEAFARER

notes

[1, 2] vǫrðr vagna kjalar ‘guardian of waggons of the keel [SHIPS > SEAFARER]’: (a) The phrase is here taken in apposition to Magnús, as subject to gekk. (b) Alternatively, either vǫrðr vagna kjalar could be an apostrophe (so Hkr 1991), or Magnús could be (so, seemingly, ÍF 28), but it is awkward to assume that Magnús is simultaneously being apostrophised and spoken about in the 3rd pers. (gekk ‘went’ (l. 1)). (c) The variant Kjalars coupled with regna as variant to vagna (as it is in 39 and J2ˣ) could form a battle-kenning, ‘Óðinn’s showers’ (Kjalarr is a name for Óðinn), but a ship-kenning is more likely as the determinant to vǫrðr ‘guardian’, and more likely amidst the nautical imagery of this st. Moreover, regna fails to supply the requisite aðalhending.

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vas ‘was’

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

[3] þat vas (‘þat var’): þá vá Hr

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fagran ‘the beautiful’

fagr (adj.; °fagran; compar. fegri, superl. fegrstr): fair, beautiful

[3] fagran: fǫgrum E, ferðum J2ˣ

notes

[3-4] fagran framstafn ‘beautiful forestem’: On ship-stems and the decoration on them, see Jesch 2001a, 127-8, 144-50. See also Notes to Valg Har 10/5 and 11/4.

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fram ‘fore’

framr (adj.; °compar. framari/fremri, superl. framastr/fremstr): outstanding, foremost < framstafn (noun m.): fore-stem

notes

[3-4] fagran framstafn ‘beautiful forestem’: On ship-stems and the decoration on them, see Jesch 2001a, 127-8, 144-50. See also Notes to Valg Har 10/5 and 11/4.

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stafn ‘stem’

stafn (noun m.; °dat. -i/-; -ar): prow < framstafn (noun m.): fore-stem

notes

[3-4] fagran framstafn ‘beautiful forestem’: On ship-stems and the decoration on them, see Jesch 2001a, 127-8, 144-50. See also Notes to Valg Har 10/5 and 11/4.

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varar ‘of the landing-stage’

1. vǫr (noun f.; °varar; varir/varar): landing-stage

[4] varar: vara 39, F, viðar E, J2ˣ

kennings

Hrafni varar;
‘of the Hrafn of the landing-stage; ’
   = SHIP

the Hrafn of the landing-stage; → SHIP

notes

[4] Hrafni varar ‘of the Hrafn <horse> of the landing-stage [SHIP]’: Hrafn (lit. ‘Raven’, presumably from its black colour) was the mount of the legendary sea-king Áli, and hence a heiti for ‘horse’ in general. It is common in ship-kennings (LP).

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Hrafni ‘of the Hrafn’

Hrafn (noun m.): Hrafn

[4] Hrafni: nafni Hr

kennings

Hrafni varar;
‘of the Hrafn of the landing-stage; ’
   = SHIP

the Hrafn of the landing-stage; → SHIP

notes

[4] Hrafni varar ‘of the Hrafn <horse> of the landing-stage [SHIP]’: Hrafn (lit. ‘Raven’, presumably from its black colour) was the mount of the legendary sea-king Áli, and hence a heiti for ‘horse’ in general. It is common in ship-kennings (LP).

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Gerðum ‘We brought it about’

1. gera (verb): do, make

[5] Gerðum: ‘geyrðom’ F, ‘gíordí’ Hr

notes

[5, 6] gerðum ... þengill ‘we brought it about … prince’: (a) As in st. 9/3, the 1st pers. pl. verb seems, unexpectedly, to imply direct involvement by Þjóðólfr. Again, the sense might merely be ‘we’ in the sense of ‘our side’. The question then arises whether þengill is an apostrophe (as assumed above, following ÍF 28 and Hkr 1991) or whether it is the subject of þverrði, hence ‘we brought it about that the prince reduced...’. (b) The variant ‘gíordí’ in Hr encouraged some eds to adopt gerði, either ‘it happened, came about’ (Hkr 1893-1901, IV), or, reading þengill gerði, svát... ‘the prince brought it about that he...’ (Skj B). Although this is less problematic than gerðum, it goes against the evidence of the normally more reliable Hkr mss.

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þar ‘there’

þar (adv.): there

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þverrði ‘reduced’

3. þverra (verb): -rð-

[5] þverrði: so E, þurði Kˣ, papp18ˣ, F, þyrði 39, sverði J2ˣ, þorði Hr

notes

[5] þverrði ‘reduced’: Given the dissent among the mss here there is a difficult choice between this and þurði ‘rushed on’. (a) Adopting þverrði ‘reduced’ has the advantage of following gerðum/gerði ‘we brought it about / it came about’ with more of an achievement: the reduction of the enemy army, rather than merely advancing (þurði ‘rushed’), and þverrði ‘reduced’ contrasts neatly with óx ‘increased’. In the interpretation above þverrði is impersonal, but one could alternatively read þengill þverrði lið húskarla jarli, en fengi óx; herr nam at hrjóða skeiðr ‘the prince reduced the jarl’s troop of housecarls, and booty increased; the army started to clear the warships’. The reading þverrði is adopted by most modern eds, except that Hkr 1991 reads þurði but with a similar sense to þverrði: jarli þurði (þraut) húskarla lið ‘the jarl’s (Sveinn’s) troop of housecarls rushed (gave out)’. (b) The variant þurði ‘rushed on’ would yield: Gerðum þar, svát þengill þurði ‘We brought it about there that the prince rushed on’, but a statement implying that the king needed his troops to urge him on is very unlikely in a skaldic encomium.

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þengill ‘prince’

þengill (noun m.): prince, ruler

[6] þengill: þengils Hr

notes

[5, 6] gerðum ... þengill ‘we brought it about … prince’: (a) As in st. 9/3, the 1st pers. pl. verb seems, unexpectedly, to imply direct involvement by Þjóðólfr. Again, the sense might merely be ‘we’ in the sense of ‘our side’. The question then arises whether þengill is an apostrophe (as assumed above, following ÍF 28 and Hkr 1991) or whether it is the subject of þverrði, hence ‘we brought it about that the prince reduced...’. (b) The variant ‘gíordí’ in Hr encouraged some eds to adopt gerði, either ‘it happened, came about’ (Hkr 1893-1901, IV), or, reading þengill gerði, svát... ‘the prince brought it about that he...’ (Skj B). Although this is less problematic than gerðum, it goes against the evidence of the normally more reliable Hkr mss.

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en ‘and’

2. en (conj.): but, and

[6] en: ern Hr

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fengi ‘booty’

fengi (noun n.; °-s): booty

[6] fengi: gengi Hr

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skeiðr ‘the warships’

1. skeið (noun f.; °-ar; -r/-ar/-ir): ship

[7] skeiðr: skeiði J2ˣ, ‘skædr’ Hr

notes

[7] skeiðr (f. acc. pl.) ‘warships’: The monosyllabic pl. skeiðr is attested by the metre, as also, e.g., in ÞjóðA Frag 1/3, Arn Magndr 14/1 and Bǫlv Hardr 2/4, while a disyllabic skeiðar or skeiðir is required, and indicated by the mss, in ÞjóðA Har 5/6, Arn Hardr 3/2. That skeið refers to a warship is well evidenced, but it is difficult to specify the type of ship further (Jesch 2001a, 123-4).

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jarli ‘the jarl’s’

jarl (noun m.; °-s, dat. -i; -ar): poet, earl

notes

[8] jarli ‘jarl’s’: This is taken here as a poss. dat., or dat. of disadvantage, qualifying lið húskarla ‘troop of housecarls’ in l. 8; it could alternatively qualify skeiðr ‘warships’ or herr ‘army’, both in l. 7.

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

Still within the battle of Århus (Áróss), Magnús and his company board Sveinn’s ship; Sveinn flees, with many of his men, while others fall or accept safe conduct.

This st. and the following helmingr are lacking from the narrative in H. — [8]: The l. is identical with Hharð Lv 6/8.

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