Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Sturla Þórðarson (Sturl)

13th century; volume 2; ed. Kari Ellen Gade;

4. Hákonarflokkr (Hákfl) - 11

Skj info: Sturla Þórðarson, Islandsk skjald og historiker, 1214-84 (AII, 101-29, BII, 112-36).

Skj poems:
1. Þverárvísur
2. Þorgilsdrápa
3. Hrynhenda
4. Hákonarkviða
5. Hrafnsmál
6. Hákonarflokkr
7. En drape om Magnús lagaböter
8. Lausavísur

The life of Sturla Þórðarson (Sturl) is chronicled in Sturlunga saga (Stu). He was born on 29 July 1214 as the second son of Þórðr Sturluson and his concubine Þóra, and he was the younger brother of Óláfr hvítaskáld Þórðarson (Ólhv). In his early years he spent much time with his uncle, the poet, historian and lawspeaker Snorri Sturluson (SnSt, d. 1241), and later he took an active part in the events that played out before and after the collapse of the Icel. Commonwealth. Sturla was lawspeaker in Iceland 1251-2 and lawman, appointed by the Norw. king, 1272-82. In 1263 he went to Norway where he met King Magnús lagabœtir ‘Law-mender’ Hákonarson (d. 1280). After an initially very cool reception, the king commissioned him to write the saga of Magnús’s father Hákon Hákonarson (d. 1264) and also that of Magnús himself. Sturla later became the retainer (hirðmaðr, skutilsveinn) of Magnús and brought the law code Járnsíða ‘Ironside’ from Norway to Iceland in 1271. The story of Sturla’s journey to Norway in 1263 and his dealings with Magnús is recounted in Sturlu þáttr (StÞ), preserved in a version of Stu. In addition to the sagas of Hákon Hákonarson (Hák) and the no longer extant saga of his son Magnús lagabœtir (only two leaves are preserved in AM 325 X 4°), Sturla is the author of Íslendinga saga (Ísls) and of a redaction of Landnámabók (Ldn, in AM 107 folˣ = Stˣ). Some scholars believe that he may have been responsible for the extant redaction of Kristni saga (Kristni) (see LH 1894-1901, II, 98-105, 717-43), and he is also mentioned as an informant by the author of Grettis saga Ásmundarsonar (Gr; see ÍF 7, 157, 226, 289). Like his uncle, Snorri, and his brother, Óláfr, Sturla was a prolific poet. According to Skáldatal (SnE 1848-87, III, 256, 260, 272, 279, 384-96), he composed poems in honour of the Norw. kings Hákon Hákonarson and Magnús lagabœtir Hákonarson, and also about the Swed. jarl Birgir Magnússon (d. 1266). Nothing is preserved of Sturla’s panegyrics to the latter, but two sts from his poetry to Magnús are recorded in Hák (see Magnússdrápa (Sturl Magndr) below). The bulk of Sturla’s poetic oeuvre about Hákon Hákonarson is interspersed with the prose in Hák: Hrynhenda (Sturl Hryn), Hákonarkviða (Sturl Hákkv), Hrafnsmál (Sturl Hrafn) and Hákonarflokkr (Sturl Hákfl). In addition to these encomia, Sturla composed poetry about events and dignitaries in Iceland: namely Þverárvísur (Sturl ÞvervIV) and Þorgilsdrápa (Sturl ÞorgdrIV), both of which have been edited in SkP IV. That is also the case with his lvv. (Sturl Lv 1-4IV). One fragment which earlier eds assigned to Hryn (earlier st. 22) has been edited in SkP III as Sturl FragIII. Sturla died on 30 July 1284 and was buried in the Church of S. Peter at Staðarhóll.

Hákonarflokkr — Sturl HákflII

Kari Ellen Gade 2009, ‘(Introduction to) Sturla Þórðarson, Hákonarflokkr’ in Kari Ellen Gade (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 2: From c. 1035 to c. 1300. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 2. Brepols, Turnhout, pp. 745-55.

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Skj: Sturla Þórðarson: 6. Hákonarflokkr, 1263-64 (AII, 124-7, BII, 132-4)

in texts: Flat, Hák

SkP info: II, 745-55

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance references search files

 

In its extant form, Sturla’s HákonarflokkrFlokkr about Hákon’ (Sturl Hákfl) consists of eleven sts which are interspersed with the prose in Hákonar saga Hákonarsonar (Hák). The poem mentions Hákon’s burial in 1264 (st. 11) and must have been composed after his death (r. 1217-63; see ‘Royal Biographies’ in Introduction to this vol.). It is preserved in Flat (all sts), F (sts 1-4, 5/1-4, 6-11), 81a (sts 1-9), E (sts 1-2, 4, 5/1-4, 6-9), 42ˣ (sts 1-4, 5/1-4, 5/7-8, 6-7), 8 (sts 1-2, 7-10), 304ˣ (sts 3, 6), 55 A (st. 7), G (st. 9) and 325X (st. 7). E is the main ms. for sts 1-2, 3-4, 6-9, F the main ms. for sts 3, 10-11 and 81a is the main ms. for st. 5 because it contains the complete st. The title of the poem is found in Flat (Flat 1860-8, III, 78). Hákfl spans the period 1221-64 and documents the following events: the attack on the Ribbungar in Værne (1221; st. 1); the battle in Oslo against the Ribbungar (1221; st. 2); the Ribbungar’s attack on Óláfr mókr ‘the Sleepy’ (1224; st. 3); Hákon’s campaign in Värmland and the battle between the Ribbungar and the Birkibeinar in Oslo (1225; sts 4-5); Knútr Hákonarson being elected leader of the Ribbungar (1226; st. 6); the destruction of the stronghold in Lödöse (1227; st. 7); Hákon’s negotiations with the Swed. jarl Birgir Magnússon and the Dan. king Kristófór Valdimarsson (1253, 1257; sts 8-9); Hákon’s expedition to the west (1263; st. 10) and his burial in Bergen (1264; st. 11). For the Ribbungar, see Note to Sturl Hákkv 6/8; for the Birkibeinar, see Note to Nefari Lv l. 1.
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