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Plot summary

Prophecy

Oddr was the son of Grímr Loðinkinni and the grandson of Ketill Hængr (both of whom have their own sagas) of Hålogaland. When he was an infant, a völva predicted that he would be killed by his own horse Faxi, at the place where he was born, at the age of three hundred (which may very well signify 360, as a hundred by the time was a unit of numbers denoting 120, rather than 100 - which have been called a petty hundred).

In order to undo the prediction, he killed his horse, buried it deep in the ground and left his home intending never to return again. As he was leaving, his father gave him some magic arrows (Gusisnautar) which soon earned him the cognomen arrow. After a voyage to Finnmark, Bjarmaland, Holmgård, Constantinople and Jotunheim, he fought successfully against several Vikings.

Hjalmar and Angantyr

However, when he encountered the Swedish champion Hjalmar, he met his match. The fight was even and the two warriors not only became friends, but entered sworn brotherhood.

The two heroes fought many battles together (for more see Hjalmar), until after the famous battle of Samsø against the sons of Arngrim, Örvar-Oddr had to bring the dead Hjalmar (killed by Angantyr) to Uppsala and his betrothed Ingeborg, the daughter of the Swedish king.

Örvar-Oddr travelled in the South fighting against the corsairs of the Mediterranean, he was baptised in Sicily, was shipwrecked and arrived alone in the Holy Land.

Ögmundr Flóki

Oddr sought vengeance against Ögmundr Flóki ("Ogmund Tussock" or Ögmundr 'tuft';[1][2] aka Ögmundr Eyþjófsbani[3] or "Eythjof's-killer"[4]) for the murder of his blood-brother Þórðr stafnglamr (Thord Prow-Gleam).[4] He and his crew headed toward a fjord in Helluland ("Slabland"), where Ögmundr was to be found, according to Oddr's half-giant son, Vignir. During their voyage, they encounter two huge sea-creatures that resembled islands:

…said Vignir. "I'll tell you about it; these were two sea-monsters, one called Sea-Reek, and the other Heather-Back. The Sea-Reek is the biggest monster in the whole ocean. It swallows men and ships, and whales too, and anything else around. It stays underwater for days, then it puts up its mouth and nostrils, and when it does, it never stays on the surface for less than one tide.[5][6]

There had been five men sent to disembark on what they thought was an island, but the Heather-Back (lyngbakr) plunged into sea, and those men perished.[7] However, the group had safely sailed through the jaws of the Sea-Reek (hafgufa), the other monster that Ögmundr had sent by magic to intercept the party.[6]

Barkman

Oddr becomes Barkman (naefrmaðr, 'birch bark man'), a sort of wildman dressed in bark.[8] He arrived in Hunaland and meets King Herrauðr, where his true identity was soon revealed due to his heroic actions.[9][10] After defeating the king of Bjalkaland ("pelt country"), who used to pay tribute to the king of Hunaland, he married the Herrauðr' daughter Silkisif and became the next king.

Death

After all this, Oddr became homesick and went back home. Walking over the grave of Faxi, he mocked the old prophecy, but tripped over the skull of a horse from which a snake appeared. The snake bit him and he died.

Discover more about Plot summary related topics

Gríms saga loðinkinna

Gríms saga loðinkinna

Gríms saga loðinkinna, or The Saga of Grim Shaggy-Cheek is one of the legendary sagas. It is from the 14th century and takes place in eighth-century Norway. It is one of the sagas called the Hrafnistumannasögur surrounding Ketill Hængr and his relatives.

Ketils saga hœngs

Ketils saga hœngs

Ketils saga hœngs or The Saga of Ketil Trout is an Icelandic legendary saga on the Norwegian chieftain Ketil Hallbjarnarson Haeng, also known as "Ketil Trout of Hrafnista". Hrafnista is present-day Ramsta, Hålogaland, Northern Norway.

Hålogaland

Hålogaland

Hålogaland was the northernmost of the Norwegian provinces in the medieval Norse sagas. In the early Viking Age, before Harald Fairhair, Hålogaland was a kingdom extending between the Namdalen valley in Trøndelag county and the Lyngen fjord in Troms og Finnmark county.

Cognomen

Cognomen

A cognomen was the third name of a citizen of ancient Rome, under Roman naming conventions. Initially, it was a nickname, but lost that purpose when it became hereditary. Hereditary cognomina were used to augment the second name, the nomen gentilicium, in order to identify a particular branch within a family or family within a clan. The term has also taken on other contemporary meanings.

Finnmark

Finnmark

Finnmark was a county in the northern part of Norway, and it is scheduled to become a county again in 2024.

Constantinople

Constantinople

Constantinople was the capital of the Roman Empire, and later, the Eastern Roman Empire, the Latin Empire (1204–1261), and the Ottoman Empire (1453–1922). Following the Turkish War of Independence, the Turkish capital then moved to Ankara. Officially renamed Istanbul in 1930, the city is today the largest city and financial centre of the Republic of Turkey (1923–present). It is also the largest city in Europe.

Samsø

Samsø

Samsø is a Danish island in the Kattegat 15 kilometers (9.3 mi) off the Jutland Peninsula. Samsø is located in Samsø municipality. The community has 3,724 inhabitants (2017) called Samsings and is 114 km² in area. Due to its central location, the island was used during the Viking Age as a meeting place. The etymology of the island's name is unknown.

Arngrim

Arngrim

Arngrim was a berserker, who features in Hervarar saga, Gesta Danorum, Lay of Hyndla, a number of Faroese ballads and Orvar-Odd's saga in Norse mythology.

Angantyr

Angantyr

Angantyr was the name of three male characters from the same line in Norse mythology, and who appear in Hervarar saga, Gesta Danorum, and Faroese ballads.

Gamla Uppsala

Gamla Uppsala

Gamla Uppsala is a parish and a village outside Uppsala in Sweden. It had 17,973 inhabitants in 2016.

Sicily

Sicily

Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea and one of the 20 regions of Italy. The Strait of Messina divides it from the region of Calabria in Southern Italy. It is one of the five Italian autonomous regions and is officially referred to as Regione Siciliana. The region has 5 million inhabitants. Its capital city is Palermo.

Holy Land

Holy Land

The Holy Land is an area roughly located between the Mediterranean Sea and the Eastern Bank of the Jordan River, traditionally synonymous both with the biblical Land of Israel and with the region of Palestine. The term "Holy Land" usually refers to a territory roughly corresponding to the modern State of Israel and the modern State of Palestine. Jews, Christians, and Muslims regard it as holy.

Analysis

The saga includes several stories, such as the voyage of Ottar from Hålogaland to Bjarmaland, the legend of Hjalmar's foster-brother (originally named Söte), Starkaðr, Ketil Höing, Odysseus and Polyphemus, Sigurd Jorsalfare and the Rus' ruler Oleg of Novgorod (the attack on Bjalkaland).

The motive of Örvar-Oddr's mocking the prophecy and death has parallels in the Primary Chronicle, which describes the manner of the death of Oleg (also of Varangian origin) in similar terms. Oleg's death from "the skull of a horse" is also the subject of one of the best known ballads in the Russian language, written by Alexander Pushkin in 1826.

Ögmundr Flóki owned a cloak made from the beards of kings he collected, as did the giant of Mont Saint-Michel, enemy of King Arthur in Brittany.[11][a]

Discover more about Analysis related topics

Odysseus

Odysseus

Odysseus, also known by the Latin variant Ulysses, is a legendary Greek king of Ithaca and the hero of Homer's epic poem the Odyssey. Odysseus also plays a key role in Homer's Iliad and other works in that same epic cycle.

Polyphemus

Polyphemus

Polyphemus is the one-eyed giant son of Poseidon and Thoosa in Greek mythology, one of the Cyclopes described in Homer's Odyssey. His name means "abounding in songs and legends". Polyphemus first appeared as a savage man-eating giant in the ninth book of the Odyssey. The satyr play of Euripides is dependent on this episode apart from one detail; Polyphemus is made a pederast in the play. Later Classical writers presented him in their poems as heterosexual and linked his name with the nymph Galatea. Often he was portrayed as unsuccessful in these, and as unaware of his disproportionate size and musical failings. In the work of even later authors, however, he is presented as both a successful lover and skilled musician. From the Renaissance on, art and literature reflect all of these interpretations of the giant.

Oleg of Novgorod

Oleg of Novgorod

Oleg the Prophet was a Rurikid prince who ruled all or part of the Rus' people during the late 9th and early 10th centuries.

Primary Chronicle

Primary Chronicle

The Tale of Bygone Years, often known in English as the Rus' Primary Chronicle, the Russian Primary Chronicle, or simply the Primary Chronicle, as well as also, after the author it has traditionally been ascribed to, Nestor's Chronicle, is an Old East Slavic chronicle (letopis) of Kievan Rus' from about 850 to 1110, originally compiled in Kiev around 1113.

Russian language

Russian language

Russian Russian [ˈruskʲɪj jɪˈzɨk] is an East Slavic language mainly spoken across Russia. It is the native language of the Russians, and belongs to the Indo-European language family. It is one of four living East Slavic languages, and is also a part of the larger Balto-Slavic languages. Besides Russia itself, Russian is an official language in Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan, and is used widely as a lingua franca throughout Ukraine, the Caucasus, Central Asia, and to some extent in the Baltic states. It was the de facto language of the former Soviet Union, and continues to be used in public life with varying proficiency in all of the post-Soviet states.

Alexander Pushkin

Alexander Pushkin

Alexander Sergeyevich Pushkin was a Russian poet, playwright, and novelist of the Romantic era. He is considered by many to be the greatest Russian poet and the founder of modern Russian literature.

Source: "Örvar-Oddr", Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, (2022, November 26th), https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Örvar-Oddr.

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Explanatory notes
  1. ^ The giant which was called Retho by Geoffrey of Monmouth, and Royns (Ryence, Ryens, Ryons) by Thomas Malory.[12]
References
Citations
  1. ^ Lane (1971), p. 90, note 2: "'Tussock' is a poor translation of flóki anyway. Something like "tuft" would be better, since it undoubtedly referred to some sort of hairy feature. The word tussock, while it now-a-days brings grass to most people's minds".
  2. ^ Tracy (2017), p. 327 defends the "Tussock" translation saying: "flóki refers to a section of matted hair, like wool or felt, which resembles a grass lump rather than the standard topprinn, or a lock of hair". In her quote (text vs. translation) toppurinn is rendered "forelock" (cf. mod. Icel. hártoppur).
  3. ^ Fox (2020), p. 175.
  4. ^ a b Edwards & Pálsson (1970) "Ch. 13. Ogmund Eythiof's Killer", pp. 36–39.
  5. ^ Boer (1888), p.132
  6. ^ a b Edwards & Pálsson (1970) "Ch. 21. Family Reunion", pp. 68–69 (in the first edition, "sea-reek" and "heather-back" are non-capitalised); Edwards & Pálsson (1985), pp. 85–86
  7. ^ Kalinke, Marianne E. (January 1992). "Reykjahólabók:A Legendary on the Eve of the Reformation". Skáldskaparmál. 2: 28, note 17.
  8. ^ Fox (2020), p. 162.
  9. ^ Boer (1888), pp.139–141
  10. ^ Edwards & Pálsson (1970) "Ch. 24. King Herraud", pp. 75–79.
  11. ^ Tracy (2017), pp. 327–328.
  12. ^ Nickel, Helmut (Fall 1985). "The Fight about King Arthur's Beard and for the Cloak of Kings' Beards". Interpretations. Scriptorium Press. 16 (1): 1–7. JSTOR 43797841.
Bibliography
External links

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