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Niels Just Rasmussen




Location: Nykbing Falster, Denmark
Joined: 03 Sep 2014

Spotlight topics: 15
Posts: 800

PostPosted: Wed 07 Jun, 2017 10:48 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Chapter 46 in Egil's saga describes Egil and rlf's raid in Kurland.
"rlfr ok Egill bjuggu um sumarit langskip ok fengu manna til ok fru um
sumarit Austrveg ok herjuu ar; fengu eir f fjr ok ttu orrostur margar
ok heldu um sumarit Krland ok lgu ar vi land um hr.
Page 63 on the top of this link: http://www.vsnrweb-publications.org.uk/Egla/Egils_saga.pdf

Chapter 53 we get the origin information on Egil's sword Nar.
"Egill hafi inn sama bna sem rlfr, hann var gyrr sveri v, er hann kallai Nar; a sver hafi hann fengit Krlandi; var at it bezta vpn; hvrgi eira hafi brynju."
Page 77 top in the link: http://www.vsnrweb-publications.org.uk/Egla/Egils_saga.pdf

The "original" Austrveg is the way from Hedeby along the southern baltic coast to the Baltic countries.
Later it probably meant all the way through Russia to Miklagard (Constantinople)
Nar is a poetic word (heiti) for "ormr" listed in Snorri's Skldskaparml.
http://onpweb.nfi.sc.ku.dk/webart/n/na/56204458218ckronpnfr.htm

The general Scandinavian word for the "common adder" (Vipera berus) is hugorm/hoggorm/hggormur meaning "strike-worm", so it seems the translation of the sword-name should be more "poetic" (Worm in the wingless dragon sense), than just meaning "the common adder". [I have seen Scandinavian translation of it to Hugorm].
Nar and english "Adder" do very much look like cognate words though.
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Mark Lewis





Joined: 19 Apr 2014

Spotlight topics: 1
Posts: 359

PostPosted: Thu 08 Jun, 2017 8:05 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thank you, Luka and Niels! Always reliable with the references. Happy

So Egil's sword from Kurland is mentioned in the passage about the Battle of Brunanburh, in 937.
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Niels Just Rasmussen




Location: Nykbing Falster, Denmark
Joined: 03 Sep 2014

Spotlight topics: 15
Posts: 800

PostPosted: Fri 09 Jun, 2017 5:45 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Scott Woodruff wrote:
As to the Icelandic sagas, the reference to the Curonian sword is found in the same saga that mentions the Scandinavian warrior hoisting his enemy in the air on the blade of his aetgir, I will have to review my Icelandic saga literature to find the exact passage.


From a word search it seems that the word "atgeirr" actually doesn't appear in Egil's saga, but does appear in the included scaldic poems attributed to Egil inserted into the saga.

We see the use of the kennings:
1) "atgeirr yrar" = atgeirr of the female auroch = it's horn(s)
and
2) "atgeirs tft" = atgeir's home = the hand.
So no actual use of atgeirr as meaning an actual spear.

A tft is a very technical word:
In Denmark where you had villages which can be followed from the Iron age (200 AD) until today (for instance Vorbasse), it was a part of land individually owned by a family - and thus fenced - and not part of a village communally owned territory.

As Iceland didn't have communal villages, but single farms (as you interestingly also had on Bornholm and Northern Jutland as far as I remember) - the name likely had the meaning to a generic "piece of land", that could be build on.
The question is whether the Danish or the Icelandic use is the original, or they both changed in meaning?!

In Egil's saga you do see 3 instances of "Kesja" though.
The saga with by far the most use of "atgeirr" is Njal's saga.
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