Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Ǫlvir hnúfa (Ǫlv)

9th century; volume 1; ed. Margaret Clunies Ross;

Lausavísa (Lv) - 1

Skj info: Ǫlvir hnúfa, Norsk skjald, 9. årh. (AI, 6, BI, 6).

Skj poems:
1. Af et digt om Tor(?)
2. Lausavísa

The little information we possess about Ǫlvir hnúfa ‘Snub-nose’ (?) (Ǫlv) comes from the following sources: from Egils saga (Eg, ÍF 2, 3-4 n.), where this ninth-century Norwegian skald is said to be the son of Berðlu-Kári, viking companion of Egill Skallagrímsson’s paternal grandfather, Kveldúlfr; from Gullþóris saga (GullÞ), alternatively known as Þorskfirðinga saga (ÍF 13, 226), and from Skálda saga Haralds konungs hárfagra (Skáld) in Hauksbók (Hb 1892-6, 445-55). Two fragments by Ǫlvir have survived: a lausavísa (Ǫlv Lv) from Skáld, edited below, and a couplet (Ǫlv ÞórrIII) from a poem probably about the god Þórr’s fight with the Miðgarðsormr ‘World Serpent’ in mss of SnE (1998, I, 15), edited in SkP III.

Lausavísa — Ǫlv LvI

Margaret Clunies Ross 2012, ‘(Introduction to) Ǫlvir hnúfa, Lausavísa’ in Diana Whaley (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 1: From Mythical Times to c. 1035. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 1. Brepols, Turnhout, p. 125.


Skj: Ǫlvir hnúfa: 2. Lausavísa (AI, 6, BI, 6); stanzas (if different): [v]

in texts: Hb, Skáld

SkP info: I, 125

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance references search files


A single lausavísa by Ǫlvir (Ǫlv Lv), together with one each by Auðunn illskælda (Auðunn Lv 2) and Þorbjǫrn hornklofi (Þhorn Lv), is extant only in Skálda saga (Skáld), within a short narrative about King Haraldr hárfagri ‘Fair-hair’ and his poets preserved on a single leaf of Hauksbók (Hb, AM 544 4°, fol. 102r). For the background to the narrative, the poor state of the text in Hb and the previous editions, see Introduction to Auðunn Lv 2.

The text of Ǫlvir’s lausavísa printed here depends primarily on what little can still be read today, augmented by readings from the paper mss 67aˣ and 67bˣ (which have only l. 1 and the first word of l. 2), and from the earlier editions Fms 3, n. p., SnE 1848-87, III, 415 and Hb 1892-6, 447; these editions are indicated in the Readings by the sigla HbFms n. p., HbSnE and HbFJ, respectively. As it is now impossible to confirm or deny readings from transcripts and earlier editions without current ms. evidence, they are given in italics and treated as on a par with emendations. The translation and interpretation of the stanza is suggestive only, given the poor state of preservation of the ms., and conjectures have not been used, although some are mentioned in the Notes.

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