Thursday, September 4, 2008

Kennings for Mead

To my visitor who was looking for a kenning for mead, here is a catalog of kennings online. Notice that mead isn't on the list, but that doesn't mean there isn't one or more. The search piqued my interest, and I will pay particular attention for them now as I read.

As I flipped through casually, I did find in Loki's Quarrel from The Poetic Eddas this phrase in stanza 4, "mixed their mead with malice." Interesting, but not a kenning. When Sigurn joins Helgi, Second Poem of Helgi Hundingsbani, in his death mound, they share a "precious liquid," which could be mead. When I first read it, I morbidly thought the liquid was blood (after all she's sleeping with a dead man), but the commentary suggested Sigurn brought mead or ale with her.

It's an important topic because the presence of mead is indicative of symbel (sumbel), definitive if it's mentioned with other elements of the custom. In this respect, it's just as important to watch for the mention of bragarfull, name both of the draught and the ceremony. I've seen the bragarfull defined as a mix of ale and mead, but also just as mead.

Addendum: An additional site for more Eddic-type kennings is here.

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