Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Þjóðólfr ór Hvini (Þjóð)

9th century; volume 1; ed. Edith Marold;

1. Ynglingatal (Yt) - 37

Skj info: Þjóðólfr ór Hvini, enn hvinverski, Norsk skjald, 9 årh. (AI, 7-21, BI, 7-19).

Skj poems:
1. Ynglingatal
2. Haustlǫng
3. Et digt om Harald hårfagre, næppe ægte
4. Lausavísur

Þjóðólfr ór Hvini, or inn hvinverski, ‘from Hvinir’ (Þjóð) was a Norwegian skald of the late ninth or early tenth century. As his nickname indicates, he was from Hvinir (Kvinesdal, Vest-Agder). His biography is largely unknown. Skáldatal names him as poet to several rulers and powerful men: Haraldr hárfagri ‘Fair-hair’ and Rǫgnvaldr heiðumhár or heiðumhæri ‘High with Honours’ (SnE 1848-87, III, 253, 261, 273), Hákon jarl Grjótgarðsson (ibid., 256, 265, 280), Þorleifr inn spaki ‘the Wise’ (ibid., 259, 268, 285), Strút-Haraldr jarl (ibid., 259, 284) and an unknown Sveinn jarl (ibid., 268). However, the associations with Hákon, Strút-Haraldr and Þorleifr are uncertain since they may have lived later in the tenth century; see Bugge (1894, 145, 175); Åkerlund (1939, 7). In Hkr, both within the Prologue (ÍF 26, 4) and in HHárf (ÍF 26, 127-8, 139), Þjóðólfr is represented as skald and friend to Haraldr hárfagri and as a dedicated foster-father to Haraldr’s son Guðrøðr ljómi ‘Beam of Light’. It is in this context that he speaks the two lausavísur associated with him (Þjóð Lv 1-2). Þjóðólfr ór Hvini is the composer of the poems Ynglingatal (Þjóð Yt) and Haustlǫng (Þjóð HaustlIII, edited in SkP III). Five stanzas of a poem dedicated to Haraldr hárfagri (Þjóð Har) are also attributed to him. Several stanzas of Haraldskvæði (Þhorn Harkv) are falsely attributed to Þjóðólfr; see Introduction to Harkv. Finally, a fragment (Þjóðólfr FragIII) edited in SkP III is likely to be the work of a different Þjóðólfr, though it is tentatively associated with Þjóð Yt in Skj; see Introduction to Yt.

Ynglingatal — Þjóð YtI

Edith Marold with the assistance of Vivian Busch, Jana Krüger, Ann-Dörte Kyas and Katharina Seidel, translated from German by John Foulks 2012, ‘(Introduction to) Þjóðólfr ór Hvini, Ynglingatal’ 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. 3.

 1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11   12   13   14   15   16   17   18   19   20   21   22   23   24   25   26   27 

for reference only:  8x   11x   13x   14x   15x   16x   17x   20x   25x   26x 

Skj: Þjóðólfr ór Hvini, enn hvinverski: 1. Ynglingatal (AI, 7-15, BI, 7-14); stanzas (if different): 9 | 10 | 11 | 12-13 | 13 | 14 | 15-16 | 16 | 17-18 | 18 | 19-20 | 20 | 21-22 | 22 | 23-24 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27-28 | 28 | 29 | 30 | 31 | 32 | 33-34 | 34 | 35-36 | 36 | 37 | 38(?)

SkP info: I, 40

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

18 — Þjóð Yt 18I

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Edith Marold (ed.) 2012, ‘Þjóðólfr ór Hvini, Ynglingatal 18’ 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. 40.

Þat stǫkk upp,
at Yngvari
Sýslu kind
of sóit hafði.
Ok Ljósham*
við lagar hjarta
herr eistneskr
at hilmi vá.
Ok austmarr
jǫfri sœnskum
Gymis ljóð
at gamni kveðr.

Þat stǫkk upp, at kind Sýslu hafði of sóit Yngvari. Ok eistneskr herr vá at hilmi, Ljósham*, við {hjarta lagar}. Ok austmarr kveðr ljóð Gymis at gamni sœnskum jǫfri.

Word spread quickly, that the people of Sýsla had slain Yngvarr. And an Estonian force attacked the ruler, Ljóshamr (‘the Light-skinned’), at {the heart of the water} [ISLAND]. And the Baltic sea sings the songs of Gymir <sea-giant> to the delight of the Swedish ruler.

Mss: (32v), papp18ˣ(8v), 521ˣ(38), F(5va), J1ˣ(14r), J2ˣ(18r), R685ˣ(17v) (Hkr); 2368ˣ(133), 743ˣ(99v) (LaufE, ll. 5-8); 761aˣ(60v-61r)

Readings: [4] sóit: so J1ˣ, J2ˣ, R685ˣ, sóat Kˣ, papp18ˣ, 521ˣ, F, 761aˣ;    hafði: so F, J1ˣ, J2ˣ, R685ˣ, hefði Kˣ, papp18ˣ, 521ˣ, 761aˣ    [5] ‑ham*: om. Kˣ, papp18ˣ, 521ˣ, 761aˣ, ‘‑hofvm’ F, ‑hǫmum J1ˣ, J2ˣ, R685ˣ, 2368ˣ, 743ˣ    [6] lagar: ‘lugar’ R685ˣ;    hjarta: bjarta 521ˣ    [9] austmarr: ‘austinar’ J1ˣ    [10] jǫfri: efri F;    sœnskum: ‘fjollum’ F, fǫllnum J1ˣ, J2ˣ, R685ˣ

Editions: Skj: Þjóðólfr ór Hvini, enn hvinverski, 1. Ynglingatal 25: AI, 12, BI, 11, Skald I, 7, NN §1917; Hkr 1893-1901, I, 60, IV, 19, ÍF 26, 61-2, Hkr 1991, I, 35 (Yng ch. 32), F 1871, 23; Yng 1912, 39, 66, Yng 2000, 48-9; Yt 1914, 12, Yt 1925, 204, 240-1; LaufE 1979, 398.

Context: Yngvarr, son of King Eysteinn, becomes ruler of Sweden. Having made peace with the Danes, he goes raiding in the Baltic. On a foray to Eistland (Estonia), he is attacked by a large Estonian force near Steinn and killed in battle. He is buried in Aðalsýsla (see Note to l. 3 below) in a mound by the sea. In LaufE, ll. 5-8 are cited in a section illustrating terms for stones or rocks (steina heiti).

Notes: [1] þat stǫkk upp ‘word spread quickly’: Lit. ‘it sprang up’. — [3] kind Sýslu ‘the people of Sýsla’: Sýsla is a p. n. referring to Estonian territory, as indicated by eistneskr herr ‘Estonian force’ (l. 7). Later prose sources differ on the exact reference. Snorri interprets it as Aðalsýsla, the Estonian mainland, now Suuremaa, whereas HN (2003, 78) refers to quadam insula Baltici Maris, que ab indigenis Eycisla uocatur ‘a certain island of the Baltic Sea called Eycisla by the indigenous people’, by which the island Eysýsla is meant, known today as Saaremaa or (Swed./Ger.) Ösel. — [4] hafði of sóit ‘had slain’: Sóa normally means ‘sacrifice’, but here it means ‘kill’ in the general sense, as in e.g. Hávm 109/7 (NK 34): eða hefði hánom Suttungr of sóit ‘or if Suttungr had killed him’. — [5] ok Ljósham* ‘and Ljóshamr (“the Light-skinned”)’: Emendation is necessary, since the line is too short in the K transcripts (ok ljós) but too long in the J transcripts and LaufE (ok ljóshǫmum). (a) The emendation adopted here produces a cpd that appears to be a nickname of Yngvarr (as proposed by Eggert Ó. Brím 1895, 12-13), an endingless dat. sg. (see LP: hamr) standing in apposition to hilmi ‘the ruler’ (so Noreen, Yt 1925). The nickname is of a common type: a bahuvrihi or exocentric nominal cpd characterising a person by a distinctive feature, cf. blátǫnn ‘Blue-tooth’ or hvítbeinn ‘White-bone’, and evidence that Yngvarr had a nickname based on ljós- ‘light, bright’ is found in HN (2003, 78): Ynguar, qui cognominatus est Canutus ‘Ynguar, who is nicknamed Canutus’. Canutus comes from Lat. canus ‘whitish-gray’ (HN 2003, 137), and cf. Yngvarr’s nickname inn hári ‘Grey-haired’ in the Ættartala in Flat (1860-8, I, 26). Other emendations are less satisfactory. (b) Finnur Jónsson (Hkr 1893-1901, I; Skj B) eliminates ok against all the mss. (c) Eggert Ó. Brím’s suggestion (1895, 12-13) of ljóshárum ‘the light-haired’ also goes against the ms. evidence. (d) The more extensive emendation of the line to ok ljóthamr ‘and ugly-skinned’ preferred by Kock (NN §1917) and Åkerlund (1939, 105), conceived as an adj. associated with eistneskr herr ‘Estonian force’, is to be rejected, because it ignores ljós, attested in all mss, and the attestation of Yngvarr’s nickname in HN . — [6] hjarta lagar ‘the heart of the water [ISLAND]’: The prose sources diverge on the interpretation of this kenning. (a) HN (2003, 78) mentions an island, and this is assumed in the present edn. Åkerlund (1939, 105) cites ModSwed. island names containing hjärta ‘heart’ (and see Noreen 1919, 147-8). (b) Snorri in Yng (see Context) evidently thinks hjarta lagar a stone-kenning and as such an ofljóst for the p. n. Steinn, and it is cited as an expression for steinn ‘stone, rock’ in LaufE (see Context above, and cf. LaufE 1979, 307). Finnur Jónsson (Hkr 1893-1901, IV; Skj B; Yng 1912) concurs, as do Lindquist (1929, 67) and Hkr 1991. However, the periphrasis ‘heart of the water’ for ‘stone’ would deviate from usual stone-kennings, where normally only hard body parts such as beinn ‘bone’, leggr ‘leg-bone’, rif ‘rib’, tǫnn ‘tooth’ or jótr ‘molar’ serve as base-words (Meissner 90). The closest parallel would be hafnýra ‘sea-kidney’ (ÚlfrU Húsdr 2/6III), but here, too, the meaning is uncertain. (c) Schück (1905-10, 150) and Noreen (1912b, 131; Yt 1925) view hjarta lagar as a metaphor for the capital city of a country on the sea. Such a metaphor would be conceivable in modern literature, but hardly in skaldic poetry. — [10] sœnskum ‘Swedish’: It is impossible to choose between the variants sœnskum and fǫllnum ‘the fallen one’ found in the mss. This edn gives precedence to the main ms. . — [11] Gymis ‘of Gymir <sea-giant>’: In skaldic poetry Ægir, Gymir and Hlér are used synonymously as names for a sea-giant as well as terms for ‘ocean’, cf. Note to Þul Sjóvar 2/6III and Snorri’s statement in Skm (SnE 1998, I, 37) about the names being identical. For the etymology of Gymir, see Note to Þul Jǫtna I 1/8III.

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