Some things never change…

Life gets in the way. That’s all I’ll say.

The Völsunga Saga, also called the Saga of the Völsungs, is one of the greatest and renowned Norse epics apart from the Eddas. It influenced, and in turn was influenced by the Niebelungenlied written in the Middle Ages in Middle High German, as well as the Anglo-Saxon Epic of Beowulf. The most interesting part is that all the three epics share characters, stories, and motifs with each other, such as the characters of the Niebelungen family (Niflungs in the Völsunga Saga) and the role of the scop and skald in Beowulf and the Völsung Saga respectively.

In the Saga of the Völsungs, king Sigmund of the Völsung Clan (not sure if you can call ancient Germanic peoples as belonging to clans, but this is my blog so I do what I want) has a son named Helgi. In fitt 9, Helgi goes out to raid the neighboring lands and comes across a retinue of women dressed in “magnificent attire.” The leader of the women, named Sigrun, told Helgi that she would be his wife if he would besiege her king named Hogni, who wanted to marry her off to a man she hated named Hodbrodd. Helgi accepted the task at once, and the battle commenced.

During the battle, Sinfjotli, a warrior in Helgi’s band, stood up and faced the opposing warriors, addressing King Granmar, Hodbrodd’s father. What follows is what Jesse L. Byock calls in his commentary a “senna,” or a battle of insults:

“Sinfjotli (said): “you probably do not remember clearly now when you were the witch on Varinsey and said that you wanted to marry a man and you chose me for the role of husband. And afterward… I sired nine wolves on you at Laganess, and I was the father of them all.”

Granmar responded: “You are a great liar. I do not think you could sire anyone because you were gelded by the giant’s daugheters on Thrasness…”

Sinfjotli answered: “Do you remember when you were a mare with the stallion Grani and I rode you at full speed on Bravoll?…”

The two warriors eventually destroyed each other, but not before they literally went back and forth, calling each other gay. Some things never change…

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