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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anonymous Poems (Anon)

VII. Andréasdrápa (Andr) - 4

not in Skj

Andréasdrápa (‘Drápa about S. Andrew’) — Anon AndrVII

Ian McDougall 2007, ‘ Anonymous, Andréasdrápa’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 845-51. <> (accessed 23 October 2021)

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Skj: [Anonyme digte og vers XIV]: [B. 8]. Af et digt om Andreas, Andréasdrápa (AII, 508-9, BII, 558-9)

SkP info: VII, 845-51

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance references search files


AndréasdrápaDrápa about S. Andrew’ (Anon Andr) is an anonymous dróttkvætt poem of four sts (the last l. of which ends imperfectly) preserved on fol. 36v/15-28 of the C14th miscellany ms. AM 194 8° (194 8°) which contains an internal date 1387 (see ONP Registre, 466), as well as in two late copies of this version: Árni Magnússon’s (ÁM) transcript of the same text, preserved in AM 669 c 4°ˣ (669cˣ), 1r-2r, and a copy of ÁM’s transcript made by Þorleifur Arason Adeldahl, NKS 1598 4°ˣ, 29r-30r. The four sts of the poem were published by Konráð Gíslason (1860, 558) under the title ‘Úr Andréas drápa’ ‘From a drápa about Andrew’, indicating that what remains of the text preserves only part of a larger work. This heading is retained in Kålund 1888-94, II, no. 2407.5h, although no such title is recorded in 194 8°, nor in the later transcripts (cf. 669cˣ; Kålund 1888-94, II, 83: ‘Andreas drápa postola’; NKS 1598 4° 188; Kålund 1900, 183: ‘Andreas drápa postola [fragm.]’). The poem has subsequently always been referred to as a drápa, although what survives preserves none of the refrains one would normally expect in this poetic form. Jón Þorkelsson (1888, 62) regards Andr as significantly older than 1400, but offers no arguments as to why the four sts in 194 8° should be regarded as a late copy of a much earlier text. It is likely that the title of the poem and the assumption of an early date derive from its association with the Andréasdrápa which Hrafn Sveinbjarnarson is said to have listened to on the night of his death, commenting between sts on the events of Andrew’s martyrdom (Hrafns saga, ch. 20 in Guðrún P. Helgadóttir 1987, 41).

Andr presents a conventional account of S. Andrew’s martyrdom and triumphant reception into heavenly glory. No single source for the poem has been identified, although some details are paralleled in traditional accounts of S. Andrew.

Although nothing can be said of the circumstances in which Andr was originally composed, it might be noted that in the sole surviving medieval ms. of the poem, the encyclopedic miscellany 194 8°, Andr appears as the last entry in a series of short articles (fols 34v-36v) written in a distinct hand also responsible for short marginal notes on 7v, 13v, and another on 37r which identifies the scribe as a certain Brynjólfr Steinraðarson (see I, 62 n.). The poem is preceded in this section of the ms. by a note on the proper size of the Norwegian national military force, the leiðangr (34v); an account of the ancestral line of S. Anne, mother of the Virgin Mary (34v); an article in Lat. on the eight parts of Adam, together with details about human physiology (34v-35r); an account of a miracle in Finnmǫrk, recorded in the year 1381 (35r-36r); and an entry on the fifteen signs before doomsday (36r-v). Andr is the only sample of poetry in the ms., and perhaps for this reason Kålund (I, iii and 60 n. to l. 24) regarded it as sufficiently out of character with the rest of the collection to be safely excluded from his edn of this medieval compendium.

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