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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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ÞjóðA Lv 6II

Diana Whaley (ed.) 2009, ‘Þjóðólfr Arnórsson, Lausavísur 6’ 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. 171-2.

Þjóðólfr ArnórssonLausavísur
567

Sigurðr ‘The Sigurðr’

Sigurðr (noun m.): Sigurðr

kennings

Sigurðr sleggju
‘The Sigurðr of the sledge-hammer ’
   = SMITH

The Sigurðr of the sledge-hammer → SMITH
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eggjaði ‘incited’

eggja (verb; °-að-): urge

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sleggju ‘of the sledge-hammer’

sleggja (noun f.; °-u; -ur): hammer, sledge-hammer

kennings

Sigurðr sleggju
‘The Sigurðr of the sledge-hammer ’
   = SMITH

The Sigurðr of the sledge-hammer → SMITH
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snák ‘the snake’

snákr (noun m.): snake

kennings

snák váligrar brákar,
‘the snake of the dangerous tanning tool, ’
   = TANNER

the snake of the dangerous tanning tool, → TANNER
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váligrar ‘of the dangerous’

váligr (adj.): dangerous, wicked

kennings

snák váligrar brákar,
‘the snake of the dangerous tanning tool, ’
   = TANNER

the snake of the dangerous tanning tool, → TANNER

notes

[2] váligrar ‘dangerous’: Finnur Jónsson emended to váligran so that it qualified snák ‘snake’ rather than brák ‘tanning tool’ (Skj B and LP: váligr).

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brákar ‘tanning tool’

brák (noun f.): tanning tool

[2] brákar: ‘drakar’ 593b

kennings

snák váligrar brákar,
‘the snake of the dangerous tanning tool, ’
   = TANNER

the snake of the dangerous tanning tool, → TANNER

notes

[2] brákar ‘of the tanning tool’: Gen. sg. of brk f., referring to a tool, probably of horn, used for preparing skins (LP).

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skaf ‘the scraping’

skaf (noun n.; °-s): scraping, peeled bark < skafdreki (noun m.)

[3] skaf‑: so H, Hr, skaf‑ or skap‑ Mork, skap‑ Flat, 593b

kennings

skafdreki skinna
‘the scraping-dragon of skins ’
   = TANNER

the scraping-dragon of skins → TANNER
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dreki ‘dragon’

dreki (noun m.; °-a; -ar): dragon, dragon-ship < skafdreki (noun m.)

kennings

skafdreki skinna
‘the scraping-dragon of skins ’
   = TANNER

the scraping-dragon of skins → TANNER
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skinna ‘of skins’

skinn (noun n.; °-s; -): skin, fur, leather

[3] skinna: om. Hr

kennings

skafdreki skinna
‘the scraping-dragon of skins ’
   = TANNER

the scraping-dragon of skins → TANNER
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skreið ‘slithered’

skríða (verb): creep, glide

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of ‘across’

3. of (prep.): around, from; too

[4] of: so H, af or of Mork, af Hr, Flat, 593b

notes

[4] of ‘across’: The variant af ‘from’ also has strong support and as the less obvious prep. before an expression meaning ‘ground’ might have some claim to priority as the lectio difficilior.

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leista ‘of feet’

leistr (noun m.; °; gen. -a): foot-sole, last

[4] leista: gnípa 593b

kennings

heiði leista.
‘the heath of feet. ’
   = FLOOR

the heath of feet. → FLOOR

notes

[4] leista ‘of feet’: Leistr came to mean ‘sock’ but had the older meaning ‘foot’.

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heiði ‘the heath’

3. heiðr (noun f.; °heiðar, dat./acc heiði; heiðar): heath

kennings

heiði leista.
‘the heath of feet. ’
   = FLOOR

the heath of feet. → FLOOR
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Menn ‘People’

maðr (noun m.): man, person

[5] Menn sôusk orm: mann sásk orm Mork, menn sásk orm H, mǫnnum leizk ormr Hr, Flat, ‘monnum […] (ormr)’(?) 593b

notes

[5] menn sôusk ‘people were afraid’: The H variant menn is required here, and a minor emendation (or arguably normalisation) of sásk. The variant mǫnnum leizk ormr ‘the reptile seemed to people’ (so Hr, Flat) is also possible, but would be incomplete without a predicate.

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sôusk ‘were afraid of’

2. sjá (verb): see

[5] Menn sôusk orm: mann sásk orm Mork, menn sásk orm H, mǫnnum leizk ormr Hr, Flat, ‘monnum […] (ormr)’(?) 593b

notes

[5] menn sôusk ‘people were afraid’: The H variant menn is required here, and a minor emendation (or arguably normalisation) of sásk. The variant mǫnnum leizk ormr ‘the reptile seemed to people’ (so Hr, Flat) is also possible, but would be incomplete without a predicate.

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orm ‘the reptile’

ormr (noun m.; °-s, dat. -i; -ar): serpent

[5] Menn sôusk orm: mann sásk orm Mork, menn sásk orm H, mǫnnum leizk ormr Hr, Flat, ‘monnum […] (ormr)’(?) 593b

notes

[5, 6] orm búinn kilju ilvegs ‘the reptile clad in the covering of the sole-path [FOOT > SHOE]’: This refers to ‘man, tanner’. The overall phrase is kenning-like (and contains a tvíkennt kenning for ‘shoe’), but since búinn ilvegs kilju is a p. p. and dat. rather than a gen. or part of a cpd it is structurally different from a kenning. Kilju ‘covering’ (gen. sg.) is a rare noun, not to be found in Fritzner, and LP offers only this instance under 2. kilja f. meaning ‘cap, covering’; see also Falk 1919, 192. AEW gives three distinct f. nouns, of which the first and third are marked as poetic: 1. ‘protective covering’ (Schulterbedeckung), 2. ‘conflict’ (Zank, Streit) (cf. the verb kilja ‘dispute’), and 3. ‘nourishment’ (Nahrung). Kock in NN §871 favoured kapputrustad ‘wearing a hood’ for búinn kilju, but in Kock and Meissner 1931, II, 96 (: kilja) and NN §2989C suggests ‘ready for strife’ (stridslystne).

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ynni ‘overcame’

1. unna (verb): love

[5] ynni: ynnisk Hr

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il ‘of the sole’

il (noun f.; °; -jar): footsole < ilvegr (noun m.): [sole-path]

kennings

kilju ilvegs,
‘in the covering of the sole-path, ’
   = SHOE

the sole-path, → FOOT
in the covering of the FOOT → SHOE

notes

[5, 6] orm búinn kilju ilvegs ‘the reptile clad in the covering of the sole-path [FOOT > SHOE]’: This refers to ‘man, tanner’. The overall phrase is kenning-like (and contains a tvíkennt kenning for ‘shoe’), but since búinn ilvegs kilju is a p. p. and dat. rather than a gen. or part of a cpd it is structurally different from a kenning. Kilju ‘covering’ (gen. sg.) is a rare noun, not to be found in Fritzner, and LP offers only this instance under 2. kilja f. meaning ‘cap, covering’; see also Falk 1919, 192. AEW gives three distinct f. nouns, of which the first and third are marked as poetic: 1. ‘protective covering’ (Schulterbedeckung), 2. ‘conflict’ (Zank, Streit) (cf. the verb kilja ‘dispute’), and 3. ‘nourishment’ (Nahrung). Kock in NN §871 favoured kapputrustad ‘wearing a hood’ for búinn kilju, but in Kock and Meissner 1931, II, 96 (: kilja) and NN §2989C suggests ‘ready for strife’ (stridslystne).

Close

il ‘of the sole’

il (noun f.; °; -jar): footsole < ilvegr (noun m.): [sole-path]

kennings

kilju ilvegs,
‘in the covering of the sole-path, ’
   = SHOE

the sole-path, → FOOT
in the covering of the FOOT → SHOE

notes

[5, 6] orm búinn kilju ilvegs ‘the reptile clad in the covering of the sole-path [FOOT > SHOE]’: This refers to ‘man, tanner’. The overall phrase is kenning-like (and contains a tvíkennt kenning for ‘shoe’), but since búinn ilvegs kilju is a p. p. and dat. rather than a gen. or part of a cpd it is structurally different from a kenning. Kilju ‘covering’ (gen. sg.) is a rare noun, not to be found in Fritzner, and LP offers only this instance under 2. kilja f. meaning ‘cap, covering’; see also Falk 1919, 192. AEW gives three distinct f. nouns, of which the first and third are marked as poetic: 1. ‘protective covering’ (Schulterbedeckung), 2. ‘conflict’ (Zank, Streit) (cf. the verb kilja ‘dispute’), and 3. ‘nourishment’ (Nahrung). Kock in NN §871 favoured kapputrustad ‘wearing a hood’ for búinn kilju, but in Kock and Meissner 1931, II, 96 (: kilja) and NN §2989C suggests ‘ready for strife’ (stridslystne).

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vegs ‘path’

1. vegr (noun m.; °-s/-ar, dat. -i/-; -ar/-ir, gen. -a/-na, acc. -a/-i/-u): way, path, side < ilvegr (noun m.): [sole-path]

kennings

kilju ilvegs,
‘in the covering of the sole-path, ’
   = SHOE

the sole-path, → FOOT
in the covering of the FOOT → SHOE

notes

[5, 6] orm búinn kilju ilvegs ‘the reptile clad in the covering of the sole-path [FOOT > SHOE]’: This refers to ‘man, tanner’. The overall phrase is kenning-like (and contains a tvíkennt kenning for ‘shoe’), but since búinn ilvegs kilju is a p. p. and dat. rather than a gen. or part of a cpd it is structurally different from a kenning. Kilju ‘covering’ (gen. sg.) is a rare noun, not to be found in Fritzner, and LP offers only this instance under 2. kilja f. meaning ‘cap, covering’; see also Falk 1919, 192. AEW gives three distinct f. nouns, of which the first and third are marked as poetic: 1. ‘protective covering’ (Schulterbedeckung), 2. ‘conflict’ (Zank, Streit) (cf. the verb kilja ‘dispute’), and 3. ‘nourishment’ (Nahrung). Kock in NN §871 favoured kapputrustad ‘wearing a hood’ for búinn kilju, but in Kock and Meissner 1931, II, 96 (: kilja) and NN §2989C suggests ‘ready for strife’ (stridslystne).

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vegs ‘path’

1. vegr (noun m.; °-s/-ar, dat. -i/-; -ar/-ir, gen. -a/-na, acc. -a/-i/-u): way, path, side < ilvegr (noun m.): [sole-path]

kennings

kilju ilvegs,
‘in the covering of the sole-path, ’
   = SHOE

the sole-path, → FOOT
in the covering of the FOOT → SHOE

notes

[5, 6] orm búinn kilju ilvegs ‘the reptile clad in the covering of the sole-path [FOOT > SHOE]’: This refers to ‘man, tanner’. The overall phrase is kenning-like (and contains a tvíkennt kenning for ‘shoe’), but since búinn ilvegs kilju is a p. p. and dat. rather than a gen. or part of a cpd it is structurally different from a kenning. Kilju ‘covering’ (gen. sg.) is a rare noun, not to be found in Fritzner, and LP offers only this instance under 2. kilja f. meaning ‘cap, covering’; see also Falk 1919, 192. AEW gives three distinct f. nouns, of which the first and third are marked as poetic: 1. ‘protective covering’ (Schulterbedeckung), 2. ‘conflict’ (Zank, Streit) (cf. the verb kilja ‘dispute’), and 3. ‘nourishment’ (Nahrung). Kock in NN §871 favoured kapputrustad ‘wearing a hood’ for búinn kilju, but in Kock and Meissner 1931, II, 96 (: kilja) and NN §2989C suggests ‘ready for strife’ (stridslystne).

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búinn ‘clad’

2. búa (verb; °býr (1. pers. býg NjM 330²⁴); bjó/bjuggi/bjǫggi/byggi, bjuggu/bjǫggu (præt. conj. byggi); búinn (n. sg. búit/bút)): prepare, ready, live

[6] búinn: bana 593b

notes

[5, 6] orm búinn kilju ilvegs ‘the reptile clad in the covering of the sole-path [FOOT > SHOE]’: This refers to ‘man, tanner’. The overall phrase is kenning-like (and contains a tvíkennt kenning for ‘shoe’), but since búinn ilvegs kilju is a p. p. and dat. rather than a gen. or part of a cpd it is structurally different from a kenning. Kilju ‘covering’ (gen. sg.) is a rare noun, not to be found in Fritzner, and LP offers only this instance under 2. kilja f. meaning ‘cap, covering’; see also Falk 1919, 192. AEW gives three distinct f. nouns, of which the first and third are marked as poetic: 1. ‘protective covering’ (Schulterbedeckung), 2. ‘conflict’ (Zank, Streit) (cf. the verb kilja ‘dispute’), and 3. ‘nourishment’ (Nahrung). Kock in NN §871 favoured kapputrustad ‘wearing a hood’ for búinn kilju, but in Kock and Meissner 1931, II, 96 (: kilja) and NN §2989C suggests ‘ready for strife’ (stridslystne).

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kilju ‘in the covering’

1. kilja (noun f.): covering

kennings

kilju ilvegs,
‘in the covering of the sole-path, ’
   = SHOE

the sole-path, → FOOT
in the covering of the FOOT → SHOE

notes

[5, 6] orm búinn kilju ilvegs ‘the reptile clad in the covering of the sole-path [FOOT > SHOE]’: This refers to ‘man, tanner’. The overall phrase is kenning-like (and contains a tvíkennt kenning for ‘shoe’), but since búinn ilvegs kilju is a p. p. and dat. rather than a gen. or part of a cpd it is structurally different from a kenning. Kilju ‘covering’ (gen. sg.) is a rare noun, not to be found in Fritzner, and LP offers only this instance under 2. kilja f. meaning ‘cap, covering’; see also Falk 1919, 192. AEW gives three distinct f. nouns, of which the first and third are marked as poetic: 1. ‘protective covering’ (Schulterbedeckung), 2. ‘conflict’ (Zank, Streit) (cf. the verb kilja ‘dispute’), and 3. ‘nourishment’ (Nahrung). Kock in NN §871 favoured kapputrustad ‘wearing a hood’ for búinn kilju, but in Kock and Meissner 1931, II, 96 (: kilja) and NN §2989C suggests ‘ready for strife’ (stridslystne).

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nauta ‘of ox’

nauti (noun m.): [gifts, ox] < nautaleðr (noun m.)

kennings

naðri nautaleðrs.
‘the serpent of ox-leather.’
   = TANNER

the serpent of ox-leather. → TANNER
Close

leðrs ‘leather’

leðr (noun n.; °-s; dat. -um): leather < nautaleðr (noun m.)

[7] ‑leðrs: ‘le(d)us’(?) Hr

kennings

naðri nautaleðrs.
‘the serpent of ox-leather.’
   = TANNER

the serpent of ox-leather. → TANNER
Close

naðri ‘the serpent’

naðr (noun m.): snake

kennings

naðri nautaleðrs.
‘the serpent of ox-leather.’
   = TANNER

the serpent of ox-leather. → TANNER
Close

neflangr ‘the long-nosed’

neflangr (adj.): [long-nosed]

kennings

neflangr konungr tangar
‘the long-nosed king of tongs ’
   = SMITH

the long-nosed king of tongs → SMITH
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konungr ‘king’

konungr (noun m.; °dat. -i, -s; -ar): king

kennings

neflangr konungr tangar
‘the long-nosed king of tongs ’
   = SMITH

the long-nosed king of tongs → SMITH
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tangar ‘of tongs’

tǫng (noun f.; °tangar, dat. -u/-; tengr/tangir): tongs

kennings

neflangr konungr tangar
‘the long-nosed king of tongs ’
   = SMITH

the long-nosed king of tongs → SMITH
Close

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

In all the sources the st. is cited within the same anecdote as Lv 5 (see Context). This time Þjóðólfr must represent the contending artisans as the hero Sigurðr and his adversary the dragon Fáfnir. After the st., the king calls Þjóðólfr a good skald and there is a general discussion of poetry. In Flat and 593b, the sts and the instructions preceding them are in the reverse order.

The legendary story on which Þjóðólfr plays is told in Fáfn and in SnE (1998, I, 46). The smith is presented as Sigurðr, appropriately since Sigurðr stayed with the smith Reginn and shattered his anvil (prose preceding Reg 15, NK 176-7), and the tanner as the dragon. Still more clearly than in Lv 5, the kennings produce a double narrative: of the human fracas in Norway through the complete kennings and of the Sigurðr legend through their base-words.

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