Heill Xigung,

Consulting my Old English Dictionary (or rather, the glossary in Mitchell and Robinson), I think the best interpretation is sige-gealdor, cognate with the ON sig-galdr "battle magic" that Haukur suggested. Sigaldry would thus be the art of using such magic, or perhaps any magic if it has become more general in its sense. I assume that OE shows the same variations in spelling that we find in ON manuscripts, because the first element is alternately spelled sige and syge. Considering the two sounds (i and y) were already falling together and being confused by the late OE period, we might expect them to be the same word. However, if anyone knows an alternate meaning for 'syge', it could shed some more light...



xigung wrote:
Hi Laurel,
Thanks for the OED quotes !
If it means enchantment, as the quotes indicate,
then the last part is probably just "gaeldor" (sp)
which I understand was also used in OE (?)
(a gale is a wind)
Could the prefix si- then be the same as ON seid?
--> "Seiðgaldr".
That is all I can think of right now.
English has many words ending in -ry
e.g. "trickery", "witchery", "sorcery",
"all and sundry", "weaponry", "infantry".
"artillery", "gallery", "victory". And so it it is not
implausible that a word "gaeldry" might have been
formed from "gaeldor".

I hope these remarks will encourage you not to give it
up quite yet, because I find it not very convincing (yet).

Best regards

--- In norse_course@yahoogroups.com, "Laurel Bradshaw" <llawryf@...>
From the OED.  It does not give an etymology, however:

Obs. rare. 

    Enchantment, sorcery. 
  a1225 [see SIGALDER n.]. 13.. K. Alis. 7015 (W.), Quede and harme
he wil me spye,..Gef he wot of this sygaldrye [Laud trigoldrye] That
this trowes [= trees] kan lye. ?a1500 Chester Pl., Crucifixion (Shaks.
Soc.) II. 69 Burye hym wher thy wil be, But look thou make no sigaldry
To raise him up agayne.

Obs. rare. 


    A charm or incantation. 
  c1000 Saxon Leechd. I. 388 Sye-ealdor ic begale, sie~yrd ic me
wee. a1225 Ancr. R. 208 Sigaldren [v.r. sigaldrie], & false teolunges,
leuunge on ore & of swefnes, & alle wichchecreftes.

    Hence sigalder v., to enchant, bewitch. Obs. 
  1303 R. BRUNNE Handl. Synne 503 ere was a wycche, and made a
bagge, A bely of leyr,..She sygaldryd so ys bagge bely at hyt ede and
soke mennys ky.

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School of Studies in Religion A20
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