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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Glúmr Gráf 8I/4 — þjóðum ‘of troops’

Mælti mætra hjalta
malm-Óðinn sá, blóði,
þróttarorð, es þorði
þjóðum vǫll at rjóða.
Víðlendr of bað vinda
verðung Haraldr sverðum
— frægt þótti þat flotnum
fylkis orð — at morði.

Sá mætra hjalta malm-Óðinn, es þorði at rjóða vǫll blóði þjóðum, mælti þróttarorð. Víðlendr Haraldr of bað verðung vinda sverðum at morði; þat orð fylkis þótti frægt flotnum.

That Óðinn <god> of the metal of the splendid hilt [(lit. ‘metal-Óðinn of the splendid hilt’) SWORD > WARRIOR], who dared to redden the field with the blood of troops, spoke forceful words. Ruling extensive lands, Haraldr bade the retinue draw swords in battle; that speech of the leader seemed glorious to seafarers.

readings

[4] þjóðum: þjóðu Bb, bjóðum FskBˣ

notes

[4] þjóðum ‘of troops’: The context suggests a military sense here (as also, e.g., in Hfr ErfÓl 14/4, ÞjóðA Lv 11/3II), though ‘people’ is a more usual sense of þjóð. Syntactically, this dat. pl. form is capable of several interpretations. (a) The phrase blóði þjóðum ‘blood of troops’ is assumed here (as in Skj B), as the most natural in both sense and word order. The usage is comparable with the dat. of respect (almost of possession) common with parts of the body (NS §100 Anm. 3), though the gen. pl. þjóða might be expected (cf. manna ‘of men’ and synonyms qualifying blóð ‘blood’, e.g. in Eyv Hák 6/8, Eyv Hál 8/4, Anon Liðs 2/5-6). (b) Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson (ÍF 26) also attaches þjóðum to the subordinate clause, but reads rjóða þjóðum vǫll blóði ‘redden the field with blood for men’. Þjóðum is explained as a type of dativus ethicus, with the sense ‘before men’, i.e. ‘where men fought/stood’. ÍF 29 has the same construal, as does Hkr 1991, though with a different word order. (c) Kock (NN §1061) takes þjóðum as the indirect object of mælti in the main clause, hence ‘addressed forceful words to men’, but mæla e-m e-t normally means ‘to stipulate sth for sby’.

grammar

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