The earliest Old Norse metrics



Parole chiave:

Old Norse, metrical analysis, dróttkvætt


This article explores Old Norse metrical developments in the ninth century, focusing on the only securely datable evidence we have: the Rök stanza and Bragi’s poetry. It reveals a greater degree of continuity between the two than scholars have previously assumed, and it clarifies fundamental dynamics in the emergence of dróttkvætt that have hitherto been impeded by an unwarranted analytical dichotomy. It also presents the first detailed metrical analysis of the Rök stanza, specifying how far its form has proceeded from the shared Germanic one towards later, specifically Old Norse forms. While Bragi’s metrical practices are usually grouped together with those of other early poets, this article also clarifies how he differs from these in ways that are most plausibly explained by the fact that he represents the earliest attested stage of dróttkvætt poetry.