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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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ÞjóðA Sex 30II/4 — sævar ‘of the sea’

Geirs oddum lætr greddir
grunn hvert stika sunnar
hirð, þats hann skal varða,
hrægamms ara sævar.

Greddir hrægamms sævar ara lætr hirð stika sunnar oddum geirs hvert grunn, þats hann skal varða.

The feeder of the corpse-vulture of the sea of the eagle [BLOOD > RAVEN > WARRIOR] has his retinue barricade with spear points, further south, every shallow [lit. ‘each shallow’] that he has to defend.


[4] ‑gamms ara sævar: ‘[…]ar’ B, ‘….s ara se᷎far’ 744ˣ;    sævar: ‘.s.’ U


[4] hrægamms sævar ara ‘of the corpse-vulture of the sea of the eagle [BLOOD > RAVEN]’: The base-word greddir ‘feeder’ (see LP and references there) evidently forms a warrior-kenning, with a term for a beast of the battlefield in the gen. as determinant. (a) The construction assumed here is overloaded (so also Finnur Jónsson in Skj B, marking hrægamms ara as unexplained): -gamms sævar ara ‘of the vulture of the sea of the eagle [BLOOD > RAVEN]’ is an adequate determinant, leaving hræ- ‘corpse, carrion’ as unnecessary (cf. val- ‘slaughter-’ in st. 28/4). (b) Rather more tortuously, in terms of w. o., the determinant referring to a bird of the battlefield could be formed from hræ- and sævar ‘corpse-sea [BLOOD]’ plus either gamms ‘vulture’ or ara ‘eagle’, but the one not deployed in the kenning would be redundant. (c) Kock interprets the gen. sg. ara sævar ‘of eagle’s sea [BLOOD]’ as adjectival, ‘bloody’, hence ara sævar hrægamms greddir ‘the one who feeds the birds which feed on bloody corpses’ (NN §864). (d) To take sævar with stika grunn hvert, hence ‘stake every shallow of the sea’ does not help, since ara (or gamms) is still redundant.



case: gen.


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