Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Þjóð Yt 18I/5 — ham* ‘hamr’

Þat stǫkk upp,
at Yngvari
Sýslu kind
of sóit hafði.
Ok Ljósham*
við lagar hjarta
herr eistneskr
at hilmi vá.
Ok austmarr
jǫfri sœnskum
Gymis ljóð
at gamni kveðr.

Þat stǫkk upp, at kind Sýslu hafði of sóit Yngvari. Ok eistneskr herr vá at hilmi, Ljósham*, við hjarta lagar. Ok austmarr kveðr ljóð Gymis at gamni sœnskum jǫfri.

Word spread quickly, that the people of Sýsla had slain Yngvarr. And an Estonian force attacked the ruler, Ljóshamr (‘the Light-skinned’), at the heart of the water [ISLAND]. And the Baltic sea sings the songs of Gymir <sea-giant> to the delight of the Swedish ruler.


[5] ‑ham*: om. , papp18ˣ, 521ˣ, 761aˣ, ‘‑hofvm’ F, ‑hǫmum J1ˣ, J2ˣ, R685ˣ, 2368ˣ, 743ˣ


[5] ok Ljósham* ‘and Ljóshamr (“the Light-skinned”)’: Emendation is necessary, since the line is too short in the K transcripts (ok ljós) but too long in the J transcripts and LaufE (ok ljóshǫmum). (a) The emendation adopted here produces a cpd that appears to be a nickname of Yngvarr (as proposed by Eggert Ó. Brím 1895, 12-13), an endingless dat. sg. (see LP: hamr) standing in apposition to hilmi ‘the ruler’ (so Noreen, Yt 1925). The nickname is of a common type: a bahuvrihi or exocentric nominal cpd characterising a person by a distinctive feature, cf. blátǫnn ‘Blue-tooth’ or hvítbeinn ‘White-bone’, and evidence that Yngvarr had a nickname based on ljós- ‘light, bright’ is found in HN (2003, 78): Ynguar, qui cognominatus est Canutus ‘Ynguar, who is nicknamed Canutus’. Canutus comes from Lat. canus ‘whitish-gray’ (HN 2003, 137), and cf. Yngvarr’s nickname inn hári ‘Grey-haired’ in the Ættartala in Flat (1860-8, I, 26). Other emendations are less satisfactory. (b) Finnur Jónsson (Hkr 1893-1901, I; Skj B) eliminates ok against all the mss. (c) Eggert Ó. Brím’s suggestion (1895, 12-13) of ljóshárum ‘the light-haired’ also goes against the ms. evidence. (d) The more extensive emendation of the line to ok ljóthamr ‘and ugly-skinned’ preferred by Kock (NN §1917) and Åkerlund (1939, 105), conceived as an adj. associated with eistneskr herr ‘Estonian force’, is to be rejected, because it ignores ljós, attested in all mss, and the attestation of Yngvarr’s nickname in HN .



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