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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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4. Sources

4.1. Sources for skaldic poetry in the present edition: manuscripts, facsimiles and editions
4.2. The Works

(subheadings only)

4.2.1. Snorra Edda (Prologue, Gylfaginning, Skáldskaparmál)

Snorra Edda (SnE) is the name given to a collection of several texts which have different authors and originated at different times. All complete mss (R, , W, U; but not the fragments A, B, C) contain a Prologue followed by Gylfaginning ‘the Delusion of Gylfi’ (Gylf), Skáldskaparmál ‘the Diction of Poetry’ (Skm) and Háttatal ‘Enumeration of Verse-forms’ (Ht). Ms. W has an additional four grammatical treatises with a unique Preface to them, which are inserted between Skm and Ht. Snorri’s authorship of SnE is confirmed by a remark at the beginning of ms. U (SnE 1848-87, II, 250): Bok þessi heitir edda. hana hevir saman setta snorri sturlo sonr ‘This book is called Edda. Snorri Sturluson has compiled it’. In the fragmentary ms. A (SnE 1848-87, II, 427-8), Snorri is mentioned as the author of Skm. Snorri’s authorship is generally accepted for Gylf, Skm and Ht, but some scholars dispute his authorship of the Prologue (e.g. Heusler 1908, 12; von See 1988, 29; 1990, 122; Clunies Ross 1987, 12, on the other hand, regards the prologue as an important key to the conception of the Edda – for further literature see there). The first, second and fourth of the grammatical treatises are anonymous; the third is the work of Snorri’s nephew, Óláfr Þórðarson. The First Grammatical Treatise (FGT) contains one helmingr and a couplet, both edited in other volumes of SkP (Ótt Hfl 8/5-8I, ÞjóðA Har 3/1-2II) while The Second Grammatical Treatise (SGT) has no stanzas; hence only the poetry from The Third Grammatical Treatise (TGT) and The Fourth Grammatical Treatise (FoGT) is edited in the present volume (see Sections 4.2.5 and 4.2.6 below).

A. The Prologue

Even though Snorri’s authorship of the Prologue cannot be established with any certainty, it nevertheless serves as a preface to Gylf. The first part of the Prologue deals with the origin of religions and the multitude of languages, and the second part relates the immigration of the Æsir, the inhabitants of Troy descended from King Priam, to Scandinavia. Led by Óðinn, they migrate to the north (Scandinavia and Saxland, northern Germany) and establish kingdoms there. This section of the Prologue corresponds roughly to the beginning of Heimskringla (Hkr), but the two versions are not fully identical. The story of the Swedish king Gylfi, who is cheated out of land by Gefjon, one of the Æsir, serves as a bridge between the Prologue and Gylf (see Bragi Frag 1 and Introduction there). King Gylfi is defeated several times by the Æsir when competing with them in sorcery, and he decides to explore the background of their magic powers.

B. Gylfaginning

Gylf is a presentation of the pagan Scandinavian religion in a dialogue between Gylfi, who travels under the alias Gangleri, and three of the Æsir who appear to him in a sort of visionary illusion (sjónhverfing) as Hár (the High One), Jafnhár (the Equally High One) and Þriði (the Third) in their stronghold. In Gylf Snorri uses two forms of dialogue. The first is the knowledge contest which is well-known from eddic poetry, e.g. Vafþrúðnismál (Vafþr). Snorri does not follow this model fully, however, because the second part of such dialogues, when there is a reversal of roles and the interrogator becomes the one who is questioned, is lacking. In Gylf, Gylfi remains the interrogator until the very end. The model of contest is abandoned very early in the first part of Gylf, and from then on the conversation resembles more the dialogues between teacher and student which are known from the Latin tradition and were taken over into the Old Norse literary tradition, e.g. in Konungs skuggsjá and Elucidarius. Gylf also deviates from that pattern, however, because the intention of the Æsir to persuade Gylfi to accept the religion presented to him finds clear expression in the dialogue.

The conversation proceeds from the presentation of the Æsir, beginning with Alfǫðr, who is later identified as Óðinn, to the creation of the world from the body of the slain giant Ymir, the construction of Ásgarðr, the stronghold of the Æsir, and the fettering of the wolf Fenrir, which is described in great detail. Here, Gylfi professes his faith to Óðinn/Alfǫðr. Some of the adventures of Þórr follow – the fishing for Miðgarðsormr (‘the World Serpent’), the journey to Útgarðaloki etc., and finally the description of ragnarǫk, the end of the world. After that the Æsir finish the conversation by dispelling the illusion. Gylfi finds himself in an open field, and later on he begins to spread his new faith. The Æsir decide to identify themselves with the Æsir of the mythical stories they had told Gylfi.

There are likely to have been two reasons, not mutually exclusive, why Snorri did not write a systematic presentation of the pagan religion, but rather presented it in the form of a dialogue. First of all, he used the existing model of dialogic teaching that characterised the learned Latin and Icelandic tradition, which he combined with the vernacular model of gnomic poetry known from the Poetic Edda. Secondly, the pointed presentation of Gylf as ‘a delusion of Gylfi’ which identifies the myths as belonging to the fabulae, narrations one should not believe in, but which poets created for the entertainment of their audience, gave Snorri the opportunity to distance himself from the pagan religion.

The interpretation of Gylf has been extremely controversial and ranges between the polar opposites of a confession of faith and a critique of pagan religion. Kuhn (1942, 163-4; 1967, 755), for example, interprets Hár’s words Ok þat er mín trúa ‘And that is my belief’ (SnE 2005, 11) as an Ausbruch religiöser Verehrung ‘an outburst of religious adoration’ by Snorri Sturluson, while other scholars see him as presenting the pagan religion as the result of deception by devilish or demonic forces (Baetke 1950; Holtsmark 1964; Weber 1986a; 1986b; for a moderate view of pagan religion as a historical and cultural phenomenon see e.g. Dronke and Dronke 1977; Clunies Ross 1987; 1992b; von See 1988; 1990; 1993; Faulkes 1983; Beck 1993; 1994b; Marold 1998c; SnE 2005, xxvii-xxix). What is clear, however, is that Gylf presents the myths that are necessary for the understanding and use of mythological kennings. It is remarkable that, with two exceptions (Bragi Frag 1, Þhorn Harkv 11I), no skaldic stanza, but only eddic ones are cited in Gylf. Hence Gylf is not a compendium of skaldic poetry, but it serves as the background for many mythological ideas which are found in skaldic poetry.

C. Skáldskaparmál

The third part of SnE, Skm, presents the most striking linguistic features of skaldic diction, namely, kennings and heiti as variation of or substitution for plain language (see the General Introduction in SkP I, lxix-lxxxix). The two categories of kennings and heiti determine the structure of Skm. This is most clearly shown by ms. U, in which a differentiation between kent ‘paraphrased’ and ókent ‘not paraphrased’ is found already in the introduction, whereas the other mss (R, , W) introduce three kinds of poetic expressions, kenning, heiti and fornǫfn (the last category is difficult to define; see the General Introduction in SkP I, lxxiv-lxxv). The source of these three kinds of poetic expressions, which are also found in the prose commentary on Ht, could possibly be medieval Latin poetics (see the General Introduction in SkP I, lxxv). However, the three categories do not have any effect on the bi-partite structure of Skm, which clearly reflects the duality of kenning and heiti, although some kennings are found in the section on heiti (see below).

In Skm Snorri maintains the presentation of his material in dialogue form as in Gylf. Longer prose accounts of myths like that of Hrungnir or Geirrøðr are not part of the dialogue, but even there Bragi is the narrator (on narratives in SnE see Clunies Ross 1998d). The beginning of Skm, the so-called Bragarœður ‘the Speeches of Bragi’, establishes a scene of conversation at a mythological level; like Gylfi, a man called Ægir comes to the Æsir and is received with visionary illusions (sjónhverfingar) like his predecessor in Gylf. At the feast in the evening Ægir is sitting beside Bragi and they begin to converse about poetry. Ægir is the interrogator, Bragi the expert. This conversation is not a contest as in Gylf, but follows a simple question and answer model. It is curious that Ægir, who appears as a sea-giant in other places, takes on a role similar to Gylfi’s.

Before the conversation turns to the language of poetry, the myth of the mead of poetry is told, which provides the mythical background and foundation of poetry. However, it has been debated (Frank 1981) whether this myth might not be a (re)construction by Snorri based on his interpretation of the numerous kennings for ‘poetry’ which use this myth as a foundation.

The myth itself is the story of a precious drink which changes owners repeatedly – dwarfs, giants, Óðinn. It was created from the blood of Kvasir, a mythical being born of the mixed saliva of the Æsir and Vanir, which they spat into a vessel as they made peace at the end of a prolonged war. The dwarfs killed Kvasir and created the mead of poetry from his blood mixed with honey, but they lost possession of it when they had to hand it over as a ransom to the giant Suttungr whose daughter-in-law they had killed. Suttungr extorted the mead from the dwarfs by exposing them on a skerry where they would have drowned during high tide. Suttungr kept the mead in three vessels inside a mountain, guarded by his daughter Gunnlǫð. Óðinn gained access to her, and they agreed that he should be granted one draught from each of the three vessels after sleeping three nights with the giantess. However, he emptied the vessels completely and escaped, flying back to the stronghold of the Æsir in the shape of an eagle and spitting out the mead into containers.

After this story has been told, the actual theme of Skm, the description and explanation of poetic language, begins. The conversation between Ægir and Bragi opens very systematically by outlining the two main principles of poetic composition, mál ‘language’ and hættir ‘verse-forms’, followed by the special theme of Skm, the designation of things by means of kennings and heiti.

Yet before the presentation of the kennings starts, an authorial insert by Snorri interrupts the conversation between Bragi and Ægir, reverting back to the theme of Gylf (and possibly also to the Prologue). This is Snorri’s well-known dedication of his work to ‘young poets’, which at the same time is a warning against the pagan religion that arose from the alleged falsification of the history of Troy by the Æsir (SnE 1998, I, 5). Nevertheless the old kennings should not be forgotten or dismissed, according to Snorri. This section is called Eptirmáli ‘Epilogue’ in SnE 1848-87, owing to the editors’ assumption that both the preceding so-called Bragarœður and Eptirmáli belonged to Gylf. Later editors regard it as an insertion in Skm, and its presence could have been prompted by the fact that it is followed directly by a long section in which kennings for all the gods are dealt with, together with several myths explaining these kennings.

The conversation between Ægir and Bragi now changes to the typical teacher-student format, i.e. a series of questions and answers. Stereotyped questions such as hvernig skal kenna X ‘how should one paraphrase X’ are answered by enumerations of kennings for each referent, in most cases illustrated by examples from skaldic poetry. These are often only helmingar or single stanzas rather than whole poems, and the names of poets are given (though some of the poetry is anonymous) but the titles of the poems from which the stanzas are taken are usually not indicated. Larger parts of poems or whole poems are rarely cited, and when they are, it is mostly in connection with the narration of myths or heroic legends. Such poems or parts of poems are cited to explain the origin of kennings or when they are necessary for the understanding of the underlying myths (see also Section 2 above).

Some of the first myths told in Skm are of Þórr’s fights against the giants Hrungnir and Geirrøðr, which end with the citation of the corresponding parts of Þjóðólfr ór Hvini’s Haustlǫng (Þjóð Haustl 14-20) and the entire Þórsdrápa by Eilífr Goðrúnarson (Eil Þdr). The presentation of kennings for the goddess Iðunn is followed by the first part of Haustl (sts 1-13). The very extensive section on gold-kennings contains a great deal of mythological material and many heroic legends. The gold-kenning ‘fire of Ægir’, for example, is said to derive from the description of the source of illumination in the hall of Ægir, the sea-giant, and from that the pattern ‘fire of the sea’ for ‘gold’ is generated. The gold-kenning ‘Sif’s hair’ is explained by the story of Loki cutting off Sif’s hair and combined with the origin of the treasures of the gods. The kenning ‘otter-payment’ or ‘compensation for the otter’ prompts the retelling of the complete legend of the Nibelungs (ON Niflungar), beginning with the mythical origin of their treasure and culminating in the deaths of Guðrún’s sons Hamðir and Sǫrli in the hall of Jǫrmunrekr. The prose narration of this legend is followed by sts 3-7 of Bragi’s Ragnarsdrápa (Bragi Rdr). The gold-kenning ‘Fróði’s flour’ is explained by the story of the giantesses Fenja and Menja grinding gold for King Fróði of Denmark, after which the entire Grottasǫngr (Grott) is cited. The narration of Hrólfr kraki’s battle against the Swedish king Aðils and their subsequent dealings at Fýrisvellir, when Hrólfr ‘sowed’ gold on the ground to delay the pursuit of the Swedes, serves as an explanation of the gold-kennings ‘seeds of Kraki’ and ‘seeds of Fýrisvellir’. The kenning ‘storm of the Hjaðningar’ leads to the narration of the legend of Hildr and the eternal battle of the Hjaðningar, which is illustrated by the corresponding section of Rdr (Bragi Rdr 8-12). The second section of Skm, which is dedicated to the heiti, does not contain any prose narratives.

The order of the subject matter within the two parts of Skm on kennings and heiti follows a particular structure which is essentially the same for kennings and heiti, even though it differs in detail (see below). The structure of both groups, kennings and heiti, consists of sections on the concepts ‘poetry’, ‘gods’, ‘cosmos’ and ‘humans’. However, within these groups there are considerable differences.

(a) The section on poetry gives numerous examples of kennings based on the myth of the mead of poetry outlined above, whereas the heiti section only gives examples for the designations for ‘poetry’ which are listed at the beginning of the section.

(b) The section on the kennings for gods begins with Óðinn; after that kennings for the other male gods are given, followed by kennings for the goddesses. Óðinn and Þórr receive a detailed treatment, also with narratives (in particular, stories about Þórr’s exploits); the other twelve male gods are allotted less space. Sample stanzas containing kennings are only given for Njǫrðr, Freyr and Loki. Of the four goddesses Frigg, Freyja, Sif and Iðunn, only Iðunn receives a lengthier treatment, most likely because there was a section of Haustl (sts 1-13) devoted to her abduction which contained kennings for her and could be cited as illustrations of these.

The section of the heiti for gods is relatively short and only the general terms for the pagan gods, such as bǫnd, hǫpt, rǫgn etc. are given; each term is followed by one stanza that illustrates the use of the word in poetry. No heiti are given for the individual gods.

(c) The cosmological sections on kennings and heiti treat – in differing order – sky, sun, the heavenly bodies, earth, sea, air and wind, fire, the times of the day and the seasons. A significant difference between the kenning-section and the heiti section is that terms for animals like wolf, bear, stag, horse, oxen, snake, cattle, sheep, swine, raven and eagle have been included in the heiti section. In some cases these terms comprise not only heiti but also kennings, however, and it is possible that this group had been accidentally omitted when the kenning-section was written.

(d) The sections on kennings and heiti for humans are also very dissimilar. Both give terms for ‘man’ and ‘woman’ and for several social groups, though in different order. The heiti-section contains the much-discussed paragraph about viðkenningar, sannkenningar and fornǫfn (see the General Introduction in SkP I, lxxiv-lxxv). Whereas the heiti-section only gives terms for body parts and mental qualities, the kenning-section contains a large number of concepts which were used as determinants in kennings for ‘man’, such as ‘gold’, ‘battle’, ‘weapon’, ‘armour’ and ‘ship’.

A look at the content and structure of Skm makes it obvious that SnE was a work in progress. Faulkes (SnE 1998, I, xi) thinks that the work was unfinished when Snorri died in 1241. Yet it is also possible that interpolations were made later by others. There are not only differences between the individual mss of SnE, but the structural plan is not consistently carried out. In the heiti-section in the second part of Skm, kennings and heiti are sometimes mixed, and one gets the impression that items omitted in the kenning-section have been added here.

The sources for Skm are manifold. Most of the skaldic poetry cited in SnE probably derives from oral sources, but it is possible that Snorri had lists of kennings and heiti which had been collected already in the twelfth century (see Section 4.2.3 below).

There are considerable differences between the redactions of Skm in mss R, , W, U, A, B and C. Ms. U, in particular, differs from the other mss because the category fornǫfn is lacking and it only distinguishes between kent ‘paraphrased’ and ókent ‘not paraphrased’. All references to the Trojan War are missing in that ms. as well, and some longer quotations from Haustl and Rdr have been omitted, which is also the case with Þdr (for a complete description, see SnE 1998, I, xxxix-xliii). Scholarly opinion on the status of the U version in the compilation of SnE differs. Some scholars regard it as Snorri’s initial version, while others view it as an abbreviated version of the longer redactions found in mss R, and W (see SnE 1998, I, xli-xliv; U 2012; for an overview of earlier evaluations of U, see Zetterholm 1949; Sävborg 2013).

The mss differ in terms of their value as sources for our modern knowledge of skaldic poetry, and the number of skaldic stanzas transmitted in the seven mss of Skm also varies: ms. R has 470 stanzas, 463 stanzas, W 255 stanzas, U 249 stanzas, A 355 stanzas, B 308 stanzas and C has 278 stanzas.

There are other factors which affect the value of SnE as a source for the study of skaldic poetry. Stanzas or helmingar are seldom assigned to named poems, though it is likely that they originated as parts of longer poems. Hence it is incumbent on an editor to decide whether they belong to a certain poem; e.g. of the ten dróttkvætt stanzas attributed to Þjóðólfr Arnórsson’s Sexstefja which are preserved in SnE only, seven can safely be assigned to that poem (see Introduction to ÞjóðA SexII). Sometimes single stanzas have been assigned to specific poems in earlier editions, yet later research has cast doubt on these reconstructions (see e.g. Introduction to KormǪ Sigdr). Faulkes (SnE 1998, I, xv) rightly observes that ‘many of the attributions in Skj are based on guesswork’. Another problem is that sometimes neither the nickname nor the patronymic of a poet is given. Thus ‘Einarr’ could be either Einarr skálaglamm or Einarr Skúlason, and ‘Þjóðólfr’ could be either Þjóðólfr ór Hvíni or Þjóðólfr Arnórsson (see the discussion of this problem in Section 9 below).

4.2.2. Háttatal

Snorri Sturluson’s Háttatal ‘Enumeration of Verse-forms’ (SnSt Ht) is a clavis metrica that consists of a poem of 102 stanzas illustrating 95 different verse-forms. The stanzas are embedded in a prose commentary, usually believed to have been authored by Snorri himself (see Introduction to Ht in the present volume). Together, the poem and the commentary form the third main part of SnE. Ht was likely composed between the summers of 1222 and 1223 after Snorri’s return to Iceland in 1220 from his first journey to Norway (see below).

Ht is presented in the form of a praise poem in honour of the Norwegian King Hákon Hákonarson (r. 1217-1263) and his father-in-law and regent, Skúli jarl Bárðarson (d. 1240). The poem consists of three encomia, Hákon’s poem (sts 1-30), Skúli’s first poem (sts 31-67) and Skúli’s second poem (sts 68-96). The final six stanzas, sts 97-102, praise both rulers as well as the poetic merits of Ht itself, which, according to Snorri, will ensure that Hákon’s and Skúli’s warlike achievements, noble characters and generosity will live forever. For a detailed discussion of the thematic structure of Ht see Introduction to Ht in the present volume.

The verse-forms illustrated in Ht can be divided into three categories based on statements in the prose commentary and the features displayed by the verse-forms themselves. The poem opens with a sequence of eight prefatory stanzas which exemplify the constitutive features of dróttkvætt metre, such as the number and placement of alliterating staves, the number, quality, and placement of syllables carrying internal rhyme, the number of lines in a stanza and the number of syllables in a dróttkvætt line, plus a brief exegesis of poetic diction (kennings and their structure). The eight stanzas are followed by the first category of verse-forms, inn fyrsti háttr (sts 9-27), which displays variation in clause arrangement and syntax in dróttkvætt metre as well as lexical antithesis. The second category, which comprises sts 28-67 and whose end coincides with the end of Skúli’s first poem, illustrates verse-forms ultimately based on dróttkvætt but with variation in the placement of alliteration, in the quality, placement and number of internal rhymes and in the number of metrical positions in a line caused by the addition or subtraction of syllables. The last category of verse-forms, smærri hættir ‘lesser verse-forms’, commences with st. 97, thus coinciding with the opening stanza of Skúli’s second poem, and concludes with st. 102, the final stanza of Ht. The lesser verse-forms not only include metres used by earlier skalds, such as tøglag ‘journey metre’, hagmælt ‘skilfully spoken’, runhent ‘end-rhymed’, Haðarlag ‘Hǫðr’s metre’, hálfhnept ‘half-curtailed’, fornyrðislag ‘old story metre’, málaháttr ‘speeches’ form’, ljóðaháttr ‘songs’ form’, galdralag ‘incantations’ metre’ and kviðuháttr ‘poem’s form’, but also variants that are otherwise unattested or found only in Ht and in the earlier clavis metrica, Rǫgnvaldr jarl Kali Kolsson’s and Hallr Þórarinsson’s Háttalykill (RvHbreiðm Hl) from the middle of the twelfth century. ‘Many a poetic metre of mine … has never been used before’, Snorri boasts (st. 70/1, 2-3 Mart bragarlag mitt[e]s áðr ókveðit). While this is a slight exaggeration, it is true that Snorri systematises metrical features found occasionally in the poetry of earlier skalds and thereby creates new verse-forms (e.g. detthent ‘stumbling-rhymed, falling rhymed’, st. 29; bragarbót ‘poem’s improvement’, st. 31; riðhent ‘rocking-rhymed’, st. 32; stamhent ‘stuttering-rhymed’, st. 45, etc.).

The prose commentary, which ends after st. 93 (aside from a brief insert between sts 97 and 98), opens in didactic dialogue form, as a series of questions and answers apparently between a teacher and a student, known from medieval Latin treatises on grammar and rhetoric and also found in Gylf and Skm (see section 4.2.1 above). The dialogue form occurs only at the very beginning of the commentary; namely, in the first part that outlines the constitutive features of dróttkvætt metre and includes the first eight stanzas of Ht. It opens as follows (SnE 2007, 3): Hvat eru hættir skáldskapar? Þrent. Hverir? Setning, leyfi, fyrirboðning. Hvat er setning háttana? Tvent. Hver? Rétt ok breytt ‘What are the modes of poetic composition? Threefold. Which? Prescription, licence, prohibition. What is the prescription of verse-forms? Double. Which? Correct and varied’.

The remainder of the commentary, which deals with sts 9-93, consists of more or less detailed descriptions of the metrical peculiarities characterising the individual verse-forms. The commentary to the variant hjástælt ‘abutted’ (st. 13) serves to illustrate this (SnE 2007, 10): Þetta kǫllum vér hjástælt. Hér er it fyrsta <vísuorð> ok annat ok þriðja sér um mál, ok hefir þó þat mál eina samstǫfun með fullu orði af *hinu fjórða vísuorði, en þær fimm samstǫfur *er eptir* fara lúka heilu máli, ok skal orðtak vera forn minni ‘We call this hjástælt. Here the first, second and third line form a separate statement, and yet that statement includes one syllable with a complete word from the fourth line, and the five syllables that follow complete the entire statement, and that must be a saying relating ancient memories’. In this particular case, metrical positions 2-6 in ll. 4 and 8 contain independent clauses that apparently refer to myths of creation that thematically have nothing to do with the statements contained in the first three lines and the first word of ll. 4, 8 (in prose order): sær stóð af fjǫllum ‘the sea stood above the mountains’ (l. 4); jǫrð skaut ór geima ‘the earth shot up from the ocean’ (l. 8).

The commentary usually contains the names of the individual verse-forms, either embedded in the prose or added as rubrics (treated differently in the different mss; see Notes to the individual stanzas). Many of these names are also known from Hl, which contains no commentary but often has the names of the metres written as headings above the stanzaic pairs that illustrate the metrical variants. Snorri must have been familiar with a ms. containing a version of Hl, not only because of the common terminology, but also because he uses verse-forms that are otherwise known only from that clavis metrica (see Introductions to Hl and Ht in this volume).

As far as content goes, the three encomia in Ht are rather generic, especially the first poem (sts 1-30) that eulogises Hákon Hákonarson. The reason for the very general character of the Hákon part could be that there was not much to say about his exploits since he was only seventeen years old in 1221 and had not taken part in any military campaigns aside from skirmishes in Viken during the summer of 1221. Snorri praises Hákon as a ruler and a warrior and describes his generosity and hospitality with specific reference to Snorri’s own sojourn at the Norwegian court (1218-20). He wishes Hákon longevity, declares his own allegiance to Hákon and makes a bid to keep his good grace (in prose order): hoddspennir vas hollr stilli hersa … ‘the hoard-spender [GENEROUS MAN = Snorri] was loyal to the lord of hersar [RULER] …’ (st. 29/7-8); Biðk þoll grœnna skjalda halda hylli hilmis ‘I ask that the fir-tree of green shields [WARRIOR = Snorri] keep the lord’s good grace’ (st. 30/1-2).

The two poems about Skúli are more personal and fervent in their praise, and the first poem contains references to historical events – armed confrontations in which Skúli participated during the years 1213-14 and 1220-1 – including the occasion on which he received the title of jarl from his half-brother, King Ingi Bárðarson, in 1217. Because there is no mention in Ht of any event involving Skúli after 1221, this circumstance is important for establishing a date for the composition of the poem. The praise of Skúli, although much less restrained than the praise of Hákon, more or less follows the same pattern as the first encomium: Snorri praises Skúli as a leader, a warrior and a naval commander and extols his generosity. Both of Skúli’s poems contain personal asides with references to Snorri’s previous stays at the Norwegian court. He also makes reference to the poetry he has composed about Skúli on earlier occasions, as in st. 95 at the end of Skúli’s second poem (in prose order): Mundak mildingi fimtán stórgjafar, þás fluttak hilmi Mæra fjogur kvæði. Hvar und skautum himins viti maðr mærð með œðra hætti áðr orta of menglǫtuð? ‘I remembered the generous one for fifteen grand gifts when I presented four poems to the lord of the Mœrir [NORWEGIAN RULER = Skúli]. Where beneath the corners of heaven may a man know praise with a more distinguished verse-form previously composed about a necklace-destroyer [GENEROUS MAN]?’.

Because the date of the composition of Ht can be established as falling between 1222 and the end of the summer of 1223, it is generally believed that this metrical part of SnE was the first part of that work to be completed, although Ht follows both Gylf and Skm in mss R, , W, U (see Introduction to Ht in this volume). It is not clear what prompted the composition of the poem. Hl, the earlier clavis metrica, which commemorates legendary heroes and kings as well as historical and semi-historical kings of Norway, Denmark and Sweden, could have been the model, both as far as form and content are concerned; the composition of Ht could also have been sparked by a combination of Snorri’s knowledge of Hl and late twelfth- and early thirteenth-century poetic treatises or commentaries that may have been disseminated in Iceland (see also the discussion by Holtsmark in Hl 1941, 122-4 as well as Faulkes in SnE 2007, xxi.).

It is impossible to ascertain whether the poem and the prose commentary were originally conceived as a unit or whether the latter was added later to provide an explanatory framework for the verse-forms. It is clear that some of the more intricate verse-forms, e.g. the refhvǫrf ‘fox-turns’ variants (sts 17-22), could not have been understood and appreciated by the audience during oral recitation without explanation, and each of the first three stanzas of refhvǫrf are followed by prose sections detailing the nature of the verbal antitheses and their ‘double meanings’. Stanzas 81 and 85 of Ht show that Snorri had intended the poem to be brought to Norway, either by himself or by someone else, to be recited before Hákon and Skúli at the royal court. He would have wanted the recipients to understand his use and command of the verse-forms he boasts of in Ht, and they would certainly not have been able to do so without some kind of guidance.

We can only speculate about whether Ht, with or without the commentary, ever arrived in Norway and, if so, about what reception it received there. We know that Snorri had earlier composed poems in honour of Norwegian magnates, such as Jarl Hákon galinn ‘the Crazy’ Fólkviðarson and his widow, as well as an earlier SkúladrápaDrápa about Skúli’ (SnSt SkúldrIV), but there is no record of him composing poetry about any Norwegian dignitary after Ht. The role of royal encomiast was later taken over by his two nephews, Óláfr and Sturla Þórðarson (see their poetry in SkP II), who eulogised Hákon Hákonarson and his son Magnús in metres that must have been readily comprehensible, such as hrynhent ‘flowing-rhymed’, kviðuháttr ‘poem’s metre’, Haðarlag ‘Hǫðr’s metre’ and regular dróttkvætt, maybe because they had learned from their uncle’s experience that over-complicated poetry was not well received.

Although Ht’s possible reception in Norway is shrouded in darkness, this third main part of SnE lived on in Iceland and became influential later in the thirteenth century and in the later Middle Ages. Snorri’s nephew Óláfr incorporated stanzas from Ht in his TGT, as did the author of FoGT, and two of the stanzas in that treatise, Anon (FoGT) 38, 41, are modelled on a metre found in Ht (see also Anon (FoGT) 46-7). Ht also became the model for a number of later Icelandic claves metricae (for an overview of these, see Jón Þorkelsson 1888, 243 n. 1), and the names of metres and some of the metrical terminology found in Ht are still used in skaldic studies to this day.

4.2.3. Þulur

The þulur are versified enumerations of heiti (poetic terms) for the main subject categories of skaldic verse, appended to the end of Skáldskaparmál in five mss of SnE, namely in R, , A, B and C. With a few exceptions these lists were composed in fornyrðislag metre and were most likely compiled first of all as versified dictionaries intended for educational and mnemonic purposes, i.e. for training young poets and preserving poetic vocabulary. However, the þulur display substantial learned content, and both the range and the ordering of the subject categories and the fact that many of the heiti they contain never appear in skaldic poetry indicate that the composition of these enumerations could also have been prompted by encyclopedic interests. In addition to a great number of personal names from Old Norse myth and legend (names of gods, giants, dwarfs, sea-kings etc.) and terms for the main heroic concepts important for skaldic poetry (e.g. man, woman, battle, armour, ship and various weapons), these catalogues systematise numerous heiti that describe the physical world (sea, rivers, fjords, earth, heaven, sun, moon etc.) with its elements (wind, fire) and inhabitants (various animals, fish and birds).

It is likely that the þulur were added to Skm at a later stage by an unknown compiler (or compilers). That Snorri could not have been the author of the þulur is first of all suggested by the fact that these are missing in mss U and W of SnE. Moreover, Snorri is likely to have regarded such an addendum as superfluous, because Skm already had an extensive section dealing with heiti (cf. SnE 1998, I, 83-109), where poetic synonyms are enumerated in prose lists and subsequently exemplified by skaldic stanzas. It is also important to note that, as can be seen from some of the comments in Skm, Snorri’s approach to the content of such enumerations was mainly a conservative one, that is, he recommended young poets not to use heiti which were not found in the poetry of earlier prominent skalds (see, e.g. SnE 1998, I, 85). The anonymous þulur poet (or poets), on the other hand, inserted into the lists many terms that are otherwise unattested in skaldic poetry. There are, however, some parallels between the prose and the versified enumerations of heiti as well as other evidence which indicate that Snorri might have known certain þulur. While composing his prose lists of poetic synonyms, Snorri may have consulted and used written records which contained heiti, perhaps an early redaction of the þulur.

The þulur are extant in two main redactions. The first, which is found in mss R (41v l. 34-44v l. 7), (43v l. 15-46v l. 7) and C (11r l. 12-13v l. 9), includes a sequence of thirty-five lists starting with Sækonunga heiti (Þul Sækonunga) and ending with Sólar heiti (Þul Sólar). The second, preserved in ms. A (17r l. 20-21v l. 27) and partially in B (8r l. 3-9v l. 53), adds another twenty-four þulur in fornyrðislag (Þul Tungls-Þul Sáðs) to the lists in the R, , C redaction, and several þulur-like stanzas in dróttkvætt metre have been incorporated into this final section. These dróttkvætt stanzas are only transmitted in ms. A, while ms. B, which is now seriously damaged and difficult to read, breaks off at the very beginning of Þul Fugla. Hence it cannot be ascertained whether the þulur at the end of the sequence were originally incorporated in the lost archetype of the A, B redaction. The order of the þulur in the A, B redaction has also undergone certain rearrangements in the first part of the þulur sequence common to both redactions.

The relation between the two main þulur redactions is a matter of controversy. Bugge (1875) came to the conclusion that the sequence of fifty-nine þulur preserved only in ms. A must be the original set and that the R, C redaction contains an incomplete text (cf. also CPB II, 422). Finnur Jónsson (1893c), on the other hand, argued that mss R, and C preserve the original set of þulur, while the A, B redaction must have undergone a series of revisions and rearrangements made by later editors who also supplemented the initial sequence with additional lists of heiti. He also dismissed Bugge’s (1875) assumption, based on the latter’s interpretation of some geographical and other names in these lists, that the þulur might have been composed by someone who had a good knowledge of Scotland and northern England, and he rejected Bugge’s attempt to ascribe their authorship to the Orcadian bishop Bjarni Kolbeinsson (1150-1223). According to him, these lists must have been composed by different poets and only later compiled into coherent sequences. As far as dating is concerned, Finnur Jónsson (1893c) believed that the first set of thirty-five þulur could have been compiled in the second half of the twelfth century or around 1200 and the A, B redaction either in the first half of the thirteenth century or even as late as after 1250. These different approaches to the problem of the relationships between the two main redactions of the þulur are reflected in the way they are presented in modern editions.

The þulur appear already in the earliest edition of SnE, Resen’s Edda Íslandorum (RE 1665; cf. Resen 1977) published in 1665 and based on Magnús Ólafsson’s Laufás Edda (LaufE), although in this work the lists of heiti are presented as prose rather than as verse and only in part coincide with the lists found in the medieval mss. The poetic texts of the þulur were published for the first time by Rask in his 1818 edition of the R version of Snorri’s work (SnE 1818, 208-23). Ms. R was also used as the basis for the text of the þulur in the Arnamagnæan edition of SnE (SnE 1848-87, I, 546-93), and subsequently in two other editions of SnE which are referred to in the present edition, SnE 1931 by Finnur Jónsson and Faulkes’s SnE 1998, I. Both of these editors discuss the þulur in their introductions (SnE 1931, xlviii-xlix; SnE 1998, I, xv-xviii), and the latter edition also contains a glossary with English translations of the þulur terms in R as well as of the text of SnE (SnE 1998, II). The version of the þulur, a ms. of the R, , C redaction, was first published in 1913 by van Eeden (1913, 130-8) and later by Árni Björnsson (SnE 1975, 248-74), as well as in Faulkes’s facsimile of (Tˣ 1985, fols 43v-36v). The three medieval fragments of Skm containing the þulur, i.e. mss A, B and C were published in SnE 1848-87, II, 468-93, 551-72, 614-27.

Other than in the editions of SnE, the þulur are included in all major collections of skaldic poetry. In the earliest of these, Guðbrandur Vigfússon’s Corpus poeticum boreale (CPB II, 422-39), the þulur appear throughout in the form they have in ms. A, with the exception of the stanzas in dróttkvætt metre from the final part of the þulur sequence, which are placed in an Appendix (CPB II, 440-1) among similar stanzas contained in other sources; these dróttkvætt þulur are also published separately in all subsequent þulur editions. In a short Introduction to §6: Rhymed Glossaries. Thulor (CPB II, 422-3), the editors explain their choice of ms., judging the R redaction of the þulur to be ‘imperfect and inferior’ to the A version. Finnur Jónsson, on the other hand (Skj AI, BI; followed by Kock in Skald I), presents a layout of the þulur that conforms to his views about the ‘old’ R, , C redaction (the thirty-five þulur found in both groups of mss) and the ‘new’ A, B redaction (the twenty-four additional þulur found only in mss A and B). He thus divides the þulur sequence into two parts: the main sequence, which is given in accordance with mss R, , C, and the ‘Addition’ (Tillæg) from mss A and B, which contains all the lists of heiti not included in R, and C. In the present edition the entire þulur sequence (i.e. the fifty-nine þulur composed in fornyrðislag metre) is given in the order it is recorded in ms. A, while the main mss chosen for the two redactions, with a few exceptions, are mss R and A respectively (for a more detailed discussion, see Introduction to Anon Þulur).

4.2.4. The Third Grammatical Treatise

The Third Grammatical Treatise (TGT) is a vernacular treatise on language and rhetoric, based in part on Latin models. It is transmitted in mss A, B and W (see Section 4.1.4 above), as well as in AM 757 b 4° (c. 1500), a copy of W that contains no poetry. The treatise is named for its position among four treatises on broadly grammatical topics in the Codex Wormianus (AM 242 fol, W). According to ms. A(8v), TGT was written by Óláfr hvítaskáld ‘White Skald’ Þórðarson (d. 1259), a nephew of Snorri Sturluson (see Óláfr’s Biography in SkP II, 656). It was most likely composed after 1242, when Óláfr returned to Iceland from mainland Scandinavia. Björn Magnússon Ólsen suggests a narrower range of c. 1245-52 for its composition (TGT 1884, xxxv-xxxvii), but this is based on speculation about poorly documented events in Óláfr’s life (see Wills 2001, 7).

The treatise is in two parts. The first, Málfræðinnar grundvǫllr ‘The Foundation of Grammar’, as it has been known since Rask’s edition (SnE 1818, 297), derives ultimately from Priscian’s Institutiones Grammaticae Books I-II (Keil 1855-80, I, 7-242), with additional material primarily on the runic alphabet. It contains two fragments of skaldic poetry, both known from other sources: SnSt Ht 86/5-6 (illustrating end-rhyme (runhenda) in the section on the syllable) and Þorm Lv 22/4I (illustrating conjunction in the section on parts of speech).

The second part, termed Málskrúðsfræði ‘The Lore of Rhetoric’ by Sveinbjörn Egilsson (SnE 1848, 181), contains almost all the poetry in the treatise, some 121 fragments. The main source of Málskrúðsfræði is Donatus’s Ars maior Book III (Holtz 1981, 653-74), illustrating errors (vitia) of language (barbarisms and solecisms). Óláfr, like other medieval grammarians and rhetoricians, identified deviations from normal usage as either vices or virtues, and considered deviations in poetic language as justifiable in terms of literary effects or poetic licence. The Latin models for this part of the treatise use classical Latin verse citations to illustrate the figures, whereas Óláfr uses Norse poetic citations. Between Donatus and late medieval grammarians lies an extensive medieval commentary tradition, to which Óláfr is clearly indebted, although the exact influence is unclear. Despite direct sources having been identified for similar works such as FoGT (see Introduction to FoGT in this volume) and Ælfric’s grammar (Förster 1917), no such sources for TGT have yet been discovered. Micillo (1999) suggests that extant Hiberno-Latin commentaries on Donatus are likely to be sources for the second section of TGT. These include Murethac, In Donati Artem Maiorem (CCCM 40), the anonymous Ars Laureshamensis (CCCM 40A) and, more convincingly, Sedulius Scottus, In Donati Artem Maiorem (CCCM 40B). Three stanzas here attributed to Óláfr (Ólhv Frag 6-8) appear to be inspired by supplementary examples found in Sedulius but not in Donatus. The last part of the treatise shows clear influence from the Doctrinale of Alexander de Villa-Dei (see Introduction to FoGT below) and other minor sections show influence from the Doctrinale in the structuring of information about rhetorical figures (Wellendorf in FoGT 2014, xli-xliv; Wellendorf [forthcoming]). Additionally, a number of parallels in glosses to the Latin grammatical tradition have been identified, most extensively in the notes to Björn Magnússon Ólsen’s (TGT 1884) edition.

The stanzas edited in this and other volumes of SkP are the following, in the order they appear in the two parts of the treatise.

Málfræðinnar grundvǫllr: (ch. 5) SnSt Ht 83/5-6, (ch. 9) Þorm Lv 22/4I


Barbarisms (ch. 11): Egill Arkv 15V (Eg 111), Hár Lv 1/1-2I, Auðunn Lv 1, Glúmr Gráf 12/5-8I, Arn Frag 7, Anon (TGT) 1, Eil Þdr 4, Anon (TGT) 2, ESk Lv 10, SkrautO Frag 1, StarkSt Frag 1, Anon (TGT) 3-4, Bjhít Lv 15/5-6V (BjH 20), Eskál Vell 30/1-2I, Ólsv Love 1, Anon (TGT) 5, Eyv Lv 8/1-2I, ESk Lv 11, Anon (TGT) 6-7

Solecisms (ch. 12): Anon (TGT) 8, Þjsk Hák 2I, SnSt Frag 1, Anon (TGT) 9, Anon Hafl 1, Arn Hryn 3/3-4II, Anon (TGT) 10, ÞjóðA Lv 1II, Hskv Útdr 12II

Other faults (ch. 13): Ólhv Frag 1, Sigv Nesv 1/1I, SnSt Ht 28/3-4, Anon (TGT) 11-12, Kolb Lv 7, Ólhv Frag 2, Arn Hryn 2II, Guðbr Frag 2, SnH Frag 1, Anon (TGT) 13-14, ÞjóðA Frag 4II, Guðl Lv 1, Ólhv Frag 3, Anon (TGT) 15, Ólsv Love 3, HSt Frag 2

Metaplasm (ch. 14): Egill Frag 1, Anon (TGT) 16, Bragi Frag 4, KormǪ Lv 65, Arn Hryn 1II, Anon (TGT) 10/1, 2/2, Eil Þdr 4/4, HólmgB Lv 8/7-8V (Korm 43), Sigv Lv 23/6I, Anon Bjúgvís 1, Sigv ErfÓl 26I, Anon (TGT) 1/2

Lexical figures (ch. 15): Ólhv Frag 4, Anon (TGT) 17-18, Ólhv Frag 5, Glúmr Eir 1, Anon (TGT) 19, SnSt Ht 15/7-8, 16/1, SnSt Ht 40/1-4, Anon (TGT) 20-5, Ólhv Frag 6, Anon (TGT) 26, SnSt Ht 73, Hfr Lv 11/1-2V (Hallfr 14), Egill Arkv 24VIII (Eg 120), Grí 47/1-2, Þul Sea-kings 1, Máni Lv 5, Anon (TGT) 27

Tropes and metaphors (ch. 16): Anon (TGT) 28, Eyv Hál 9/5-8I, SkrautO Frag 2, Mark Lv 1/5-6, Anon (TGT) 29, Ormr Woman 4/1-2, Þjóðólfr Frag 1, Mark Frag 2, ÞjóðA Sex 28II, Anon (TGT) 30, Ólhv Frag 7, Anon (TGT) 31-2, SnSt Ht 5/3-6, Anon (TGT) 33, ÞKolb Eirdr 7/5-8I, Anon (TGT) 34, Leiðólfr Frag 1, Ólhv Frag 8, Anon (TGT) 35, Egill Arkv 25V (Eg 121), Anon (SnE) 13, Anon (Nj) 3/8V (Nj 64), Anon (TGT) 36-7, Sigv Berv 12/1-4II, ESk Geisl 1/1-4VII, Sveinn Frag 1, Anon Kúgdr 1, Sveinn Norðrdr 3, Gestumbl Heiðr 25/1-3V (Heiðr 72), Egill Lv 46V (Eg 130), Anon (TGT) 38, Egill Arkv 24V (Eg 120), SnSt Lv 5, Ník Kristdr 1 and Ólhv Frag 9.

Around two-thirds of the stanzas in the treatise are not cited elsewhere, and of those the majority are not attributed to a named poet by Óláfr (Gísli Sigurðsson 2000). Wills (2006) has an extensive discussion of the provenance and classification of these stanzas. To a greater extent than in other prosimetrical works whose poetry appears in this volume, the citations in TGT are fragmentary, often reduced to single lines and couplets. This practice is no doubt influenced by the Latin grammatical literature it draws upon, which typically uses single-line poetic citations. The citations in TGT are eclectic in subject and provenance; they include early skaldic poetry, þulur, encomiastic material and poetry also found in Íslendingasögur and fornaldarsögur.

The present edition substantially reorganises Skj’s presentation of the poetry in TGT. It includes two stanzas which Skj inexplicably omits, namely Anon (TGT) 4 and StarkSt Frag 1. Anon (TGT) 12 was attributed to ESk Øxfl in the Arnamagnæan edition of SnE (SnE 1848-87, III, 365) and this attribution, despite lack of evidence, has been accepted by subsequent editors. It is included here as anonymous. Stanza 49 in TGT is attributed to an ‘Óláfr’ in TGT and this Óláfr is identified by Björn Magnússon Ólsen (TGT 1884, 191; adopted by subsequent editors) as Óláfr hvítaskáld Þórðarson, the treatise’s author. However the poet in question is more plausibly Óláfr svartaskáld ‘Black Skald’ Leggsson (Wills 2006, 1057; see also Introduction to Ólsv Love), and the stanza is edited in this volume as Ólsv Love 3. In the present edition nine anonymous stanzas have been attributed to Óláfr hvítaskáld Þórðarson (Ólhv Frag 1-9). The rationale behind this reclassification is that Óláfr must have been responsible for the adaptation of the Latin source material, and there are close parallels to these nine TGT stanzas in the Latin sources (see Notes to Ólhv Frag 1-9). It is likely, therefore, that Óláfr composed these stanzas himself, modelling them on the examples in his Latin source(s). It could well be that other unattributed stanzas in TGT are the work of Óláfr, but this cannot be ascertained.

Mss A, B and W are independent witnesses to the text. All later mss are copies of the three independent medieval redactions and are therefore not used in this edition. Ms. B is damaged and illegible in places; all previous editions have used the unreliable transcriptions of B in SnE 1848-87, II. The present edition supplies readings from ms. 744ˣ (an early eighteenth-century copy made of B when B was less damaged), where B is not clearly legible. Although the independent witnesses (mss A, B, W) also contain versions of Skm, the stemmata for the two works are different. It is clear that A is the best ms. for TGT, as established by Björn Magnússon Ólsen (TGT 1884, lxii). The relationship between B and W is less obvious (see the detailed discussions in TGT 1884, lv-lxiii and Wills 2001, 52-6).

Editions of TGT include the following: Rask (SnE 1818, with W as the base text); Sveinbjörn Egilsson (SnE 1848, based on A); the Arnamagnæan SnE edition (SnE 1848-87, II; based on W with a Latin translation, but also including transcriptions of A and B); Björn Magnússon Ólsen (TGT 1884; a diplomatic text based on A plus a transcription of W); Finnur Jónsson (TGT 1927; a normalised text based on Björn Magnússon Ólsen’s edition); and Krömmelbein (TGT 1998; a reproduction of the text in TGT 1884 with a German translation and notes). TGT 1998 has not been used in the present edition. SnE 1848-87TGT 1884 and TGT 1927 provide separate translations of and commentary on the stanzas in the treatise. Lucy Collings’ unpublished MA thesis (1967) on TGT contains an English translation of the prose in the second part of the treatise.

4.2.5. The Fourth Grammatical Treatise

The Fourth Grammatical Treatise (FoGT) is extant only in W, where it occupies pages 111-19 of the ms.’s seventh gathering, immediately following the end of The Third Grammatical Treatise (TGT). Together with the Prologue to all the grammatical treatises in W, which may have been composed by the same anonymous author (Sverrir Tómasson 1993), FoGT is the youngest of the four main Old Icelandic grammatical treatises, and most likely dates from some time after 1309, the date of an incident mentioned in one of the stanzas (Anon (FoGT) 7), and before 1350, the latter being the probable date of the writing of W. Although the author of FoGT is unknown, it is likely that he belonged to a learned milieu, and various indications suggest a connection with one of the northern Icelandic Benedictine monasteries of Þingeyrar or Munkaþverá.

FoGT is best considered as a continuation and amplification of TGT, a relationship discussed in detail in the Introduction to FoGT 2014 (FoGT 2014, xxxvii-xliv). The author acknowledges his debt to TGT’s composer, Óláfr hvítaskáld ‘White Skald’ Þórðarson, in several places and also shows his awareness of Snorri Sturluson’s writing, particularly Háttatal. However, the foundation of FoGT and its principal source was the twelfth chapter of the Doctrinale (c. 1200) of Alexander de Villa-Dei. The Doctrinale (ed. Reichling 1893) was a popular versified textbook of Latin grammar for intermediate students in medieval European schools. Its twelfth chapter describes a selection of rhetorical figures used by Latin poets. In the second part of TGT, the so-called Málskrúðsfræði ‘The Lore of Rhetoric’, Óláfr Þórðarson based himself largely on Donatus’s Barbarismus, but TGT also shows the influence of the Doctrinale, especially towards the end of Málskrúðsfræði, as Wellendorf (FoGT 2014, xli-xliv and forthcoming) has now demonstrated. The author of FoGT has presented an Icelandic version of all the Graeco-Latin figures in the Doctrinale’s twelfth chapter, together with some additional figures from another popular Latin treatise, the Graecismus (c. 1200), ascribed to Eberhard of Béthune (ed. Wrobel 1887). He also knew and made use of some Latin commentaries on the Doctrinale and the Graecismus for his examples of rhetorical figures, as Björn Magnússon Ólsen (1884) and now Clunies Ross and Wellendorf (FoGT 2014) have shown in their editions.

What is new in FoGT, from the perspective of the history of medieval Icelandic grammatical literature, is the unique selection of indigenous poetic examples the author uses to illustrate the various rhetorical figures. Although both Snorri Sturluson and Óláfr Þórðarson do use some anonymous poetic examples to illustrate their treatises on poetics, most of their citations are taken from named Norse poets, of whom the majority are Icelanders. By contrast, the majority of the poetic examples in FoGT (forty-seven out of sixty-two stanzas) are anonymous. Moreover, many of them are so ingeniously crafted to demonstrate close parallels to the examples given in FoGT’s Latin sources that it seems probable that they were composed for that very purpose and did not otherwise have currency in the skaldic repertoire. They are therefore likely to be of early fourteenth-century date and possibly the work of the treatise’s author himself. Many of the examples have a strongly Christian religious or didactic character, unlike most of the examples provided by Snorri and Óláfr, which are either secular or (especially in the case of early skaldic poetry) draw upon the pre-Christian mythological system. The prose text of FoGT, too, delights in theological or moralising explanations and digressions.

The fifteen stanzas of FoGT that are either attributed to named poets in the treatise or can be identified from external sources include the work of some of the major poets of the Old Norse repertoire cited in the grammatical treatises: Bragi Boddason, Arnórr jarlaskáld ‘Jarls’ Poet’ Þórðarson, Einarr Skúlason, Snorri Sturluson and Óláfr (probably Þórðarson). Others are less frequently cited and, as a general comment, it can be observed that FoGT’s coverage of poetic examples from the chief poets of the eleventh and twelfth centuries is quite restricted compared with both SnE and TGT. On the other hand, the author quotes stanzas by three late tenth- or early eleventh-century skalds from the north of Iceland, Þorleifr jarlsskáld ‘Jarl’s Poet’ Rauðfeldarson, Eiríkr viðsjá ‘the Circumspect’ and Þorleifr skúma ‘Dusky’ (?) Þorkelsson. This slight bias in favour of northern skalds may support the presumption of many scholars that W was itself a product of the Þingeyrar scriptorium (W 1924, i-ii; Sigurður Nordal 1931, 17-18), and that FoGT may have been composed somewhere nearby, if not in that monastery.

FoGT exists in six independent editions. The first edition of FoGT was that of Rasmus Rask in his edition of SnE (SnE 1818, 335-53). Rask did not consider FoGT an independent text but a continuation of TGT, entitled Figúrur í ræðunni ‘Figures of speech’. The second edition was that of Sveinbjörn Egilsson (SnE 1848, 200-12), in which FoGT was entitled Seinni viðbættir við málskrúðs-fræðina ‘Later supplement to the lore of rhetoric’ and the third the Arnamagnæan Commission’s edition (SnE 1848-87, II, 190-249, III, 152-63), whose editor-in-chief was Jón Sigurðsson, but to which Sveinbjörn Egilsson contributed the facing Latin translation in Volume II (1852) and a number of Latin notes in Volume III (1880-7). In that edition FoGT is entitled IV (Málskrúðs-fræði). The fourth edition (FoGT 1884) is by Björn Magnússon Ólsen. It includes an Introduction, an unnormalised text with notes, citation of some Latin sources, and separate editions of the stanzas cited and notes on their interpretation. The fifth edition is the unpublished doctoral dissertation from the University of Palermo by Michele Longo (FoGT 2004), which includes an Italian translation and commentary on the Icelandic text, with separate notes on the poetry. Finally, Margaret Clunies Ross and Jonas Wellendorf (FoGT 2014) have recently produced a new edition of FoGT, with an Introduction that places the treatise in the medieval Latin rhetorical tradition, an English translation and extensive Commentary on both prose and verse.

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