ŽÓRSDRĮPA 2:5-8

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ža er giaršveniošr goržiz-vendižav ; -vendi ; gioršizžį er gjaršvenjušr göršisk
gandvikr skotvm rikriganduikurgandvikirGandvķkr, skotum rķkri,
endr til ymsa kindar landaendr til Ymsa kindar,
ižia setrs fra žrižia.idra scers Išja setrs, frį Žrišja.

This half-stanza consists of one subordinate clause, structured as follows:

žį er gjaršvenjušr Gandvķkr, rķkri skotum Išja setrs, göršisk endr frį Žrišja til Ymsa kindar, i.e. "when the tamer of Gandvķk's girdle [Žórr], mightier than the Scots of Iši's dwelling [giants], again set forth from Žriši's [Odin's] towards Ymsi's kindred [giants]".

gjaršvenjušr ] This problematic word has been taken to mean "he who is used to the belt (or girdle)", referring to Thor's "girdle of power" (megingjaršir). This is, however, difficult to accept, since -venjušur can hardly carry such a meaning. Therefore, some editors have emended the word to read garšvitjušur, "he who visits the gard (dwelling)", for after all Thor is on his way to Geirröšargaršar (Geirröd's gard).

I would like to offer a new interpretation, a third possibility, which seems to be the most likely one. Venja can mean "teach, train, tame", and thus venjušur can mean "tamer". Gjörš means "girdle, belt", and could refer to the Midgard serpent, who lies in the ocean and surrounds Midgard. But gjörš, on its own, can not carry this meaning - it would have to form a part of a kenning of the type "sea-girdle" or "earth-girdle" (cp. umgjörš allra landa "girdle of all lands", Hymiskviša 22). The modifying part of such a kenning may be found in the word Gandvķkur. Gandvķk ("Magic Bay") seems to have indicated the White Sea, and more generally, the Arctic Ocean. Mythologically, it is equivalent to the great river, or ocean, which was seen to separate the world of men (Midgard) from the world of Giants (Jötunheim) - the great expanse of water, which Thor had to wade on his expeditions to Jötunheim. Thus Gandvķkur gjörš "the girdle of the ocean" is a legitimate kenning for the Midgard serpent, who was also named Jörmungandur. Thor is therefore venjušur gjaršar Gandvķkur, i.e. "the tamer of the ocean-girdle".

rķkri skotum Išja setrs ] Išja seturs has usually been understood as an attribute of Gandvķkur. I have suggested (above) that Gandvķkur should be read as part of a kenning involving gjaršvenjušur. So who are skotar Išja seturs? According to the traditional interpretation they are simply "giants". Iši is here used as a generic giant name, his setur ("seat, residence") being equivalent to Jötunheim. The nation (skotar - "Scotsmen") of Jötunheim are giants. The construction rķkri + dative (skotum) means "more powerful than the giants".

Rydberg's quite different interpretation may be mentioned here. He was convinced that Iši is not a giant in the oldest sources, but one of three Elven brothers, the sons of Ķvaldi/Ölvaldi. Their fortress, Thor's way-station on the road to Jötunheim, was (according to Rydberg) situated on the southern shore of Gandvķk (the Arctic Ocean), where they kept watch with an army of Elves, skotar Išja setrs. Rydberg interpreted skotar as "shooters" (i.e. archers), and the construction rķkri + dative (skotum) as "made more powerful by an army of Elven warriors (archers)". Such a construction is quite possible, grammatically. Unfortunately, there is no sign of these "Elven archers" in the rest of the poem.

Ymsa kindar ] Ymsi is a variant of Ymir, probably used here by the poet for metrical reasons. The kin of Ymir are, of course, giants.

Žrišja ] Žriši ("the third one") is one of Odin's names. Frį Žrišja "from Odin, from Odin's" means "from Odin's residence, from Asgard". Such usage is perfectly normal, and is supported by the proximity of seturs, which strongly suggests Žrišja setri "Odin's residence".

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