ŢÓRSDRÁPA 4:1-4

Codex RegiusCodex TrajectinusCodex WormianusEmended & Modernized
4 : 1-4 VariantsVariants 
Oc gagnsvanir gengvgangs vanirgangs vanirOk, Gangs, -Vanir gengu
gvNvargs himinta/rgvhimin torgo gunn-, vargs himintörgu
friţar vers til flioţa  Fríđar, unz til, fljóđa
frvmseyris kom dreyra;  frumseyrir kom dreyra;

This half-stanza seems to be composed of a main clause, and a subordinate clause, as follows:

Og gunn-Vanir gengu, unz frumseyrir fljóđa vargs Fríđar himintörgu kom til dreyra Gangs, i.e. "and the battle-Vanir [warriors] walked, until the prime diminisher of the maidens of the enemy of the Fríđr of the heaven-shield [Ţórr] reached Gangr's blood [ocean]".

This reading is based on two emendations, originally suggested by Finnur Jónsson. The two words vers and unz are extremely similar graphologically, especially in their abbreviated forms. The emendation of frumseyris to frumseyrir can hardly be avoided - otherwise the subject of kom would be missing. Different readings are, of course, possible.

In stanza 3, Thor starts wading across the ocean. Here he reaches the ocean. This seems to suggest that the order of the stanzas may be incorrect. By transposing 3:5-8 and 4:5-8, we achieve a much more logical sequence of events:

3:1-4 Ţjálfi was quicker to join Thor's expedition than the perjurious Loki,
4:5-8 when the agile, quick-tempered Thor wished to oppress the giantess.
4:1-4 And the warriors walked, until Thor reached the ocean;
3:5-8 (I recite poetry); Thor began to cross the ocean.

gunn-Vanir ] The Vanir ("gods") of the battle, are warriors, i.e. Thor and Ţjálfi. The word has also been read as a substantival adjective gunn-vanir "used to battle = those used to battle".

frumseyrir fljóđa vargs Fríđar himintörgu ] An extremely complex kenning for Thor, who is here called "the prime (first?) diminisher of the maidens of the enemy of the goddess of the heavenly shield". Himintarga is "a shield of heaven, a heavenly shield". I take this to be the shield Svalinn, which belongs to the Sun, according to Grímnismál 38: Svalinn heitir / hann stendr Sólu fyrir / skjöldr skínanda gođi. Fríđur "the beautiful one", is used as the name of a goddess in various kennings. It may originally have been an epithet of Freyja, cp. Fjölsvinnsmál 38, where Fríđ is one of Freyja's handmaidens. Fríđur himintörgu, the beautiful goddess of Svalinn (the sun-shield) is Sól, the sun-goddess. Her vargur "enemy" is the wolf, which according to the mythology constantly chases her across the heavens, and finally devours her during Ragnarök. The fljóđ "maidens" of the wolf are giantesses. Their frumseyrir "prime diminisher" is, of course, Thor, the foremost (first?) killer of giant maidens.

dreyra Gangs ] i.e. "Gangur's blood". Gangur is a giant-name, and here replaces Ymir. (In the system of kennings, it was permissible to replace any giant's name with another's). Ymir's blood is a common kenning for the ocean, which was created from the blood of the primaeval giant, according to Gylfaginning 8 and Grímnismál 40. Such a kenning can hardly imply a river, no more than Endils mór in half-stanza 3:5-8 (see).

The above expressions should be compared to 7:5-8, where Thor is called ţverrir mörnar barna, "diminisher of the giantess' children", and where the ocean is also referred to in terms of Ymir's blood (snerriblóđ Ţorns svíra).

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