NORSE-CHRISTIAN SYNCRETISM 261
einn ek rádit hefi
ok þeir Sólkötlu synir
þat er ór haugi bar
hinn vitri Vígdvalinn.
Hér eru rúnar
er ristit hafa
Njarðar dcetr níu . . .
Amidst the perplexities of the above passage,39 I shall sift through
those items which are most intelligible and which best exemplify the
interpretatio christiana of the poet. The runes on the horn spell out in
mystical characters the Christian message of sin and damnation or sal-
vation which the seer as one of the heavenly host has delivered to his
son from beyond the grave and expounded in a dream vision.40 The
sinfulness of man is underscored by the poet's assigning of the cutting
of the runes to the lustful daughters of Njörðr, of whom the most no-
torious, Freyja, has been portrayed in stanza 77 as the driving force
which rows the boat of this world.41 By contrast, 'the sons of Sólkatla'
with whom the seer expounds the runes will be of the angelic company
In the latest article on it, 'Zur Strophe 78 der Sólarljóð' in Arkiv för nordisk fil-
ologi 100 (1985), 97-108, Detlev Brennecke's attempt to turn the sun-stag in stanzas 55
and 78 into a unicorn is grammatically impossible: the towering horns on the beast in st.
55 are in the plural, and the phrase 'hjartar horn' in st. 78 refers to but one of the horns
of the stag, or, better, to a carved piece of them, and not to a single horn. Brennecke's
notion, moreover, of the 'Sólkötlu synir' (st. 78) as the twelve apostles cannot be sub-
stantiated by a couple of 13th-century Latin and German sources remote from Sólarljóð.
Vígdvalinn, however, can be a type of the risen Christ (so Brennecke with most schol-
ars) as well as His successor, Peter (my alternative, below).
Cf. the runic images in sts. 40, 'dreyrstafir,' and 60, 'feiknstafir.'
Paasche, Hedenskap og kristendom, pp. 196-97, and Björn M. Ólsen, Sljð. II, pp.
58-60, 61, would fit the nine women numerically and etymologically into Walther of
Chátillon's schema of the deadly sins in Alexandreis X, 31-54, or Alexanders saga, ed.
Finnur Jónsson, Copenhagen 1925, pp. 144-46; but it is a Procrustean operation which
cannot be done without violence to the text; cf. against schematization, Falk, Sljð. I, p.
44. The number nine in Sólarljóð is generally denotive of pagan-Norse schemata, the
number seven of Christian; on this numerology see Fidjest0l, Sljð. III, p. 26.