This interface will soon cease to be publicly available. Use the new interface instead. Click here to switch over now.

Cookies on our website

We use cookies on this website, mainly to provide a secure browsing experience but also to collect statistics on how the website is used. You can find out more about the cookies we set, the information we store and how we use it on the cookies page.

Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

login: password: stay logged in: help

Anonymous Poems (Anon)

VII. Pétrsdrápa (Pét) - 54

not in Skj

Pétrsdrápa (‘Drápa about the Apostle Peter’) — Anon PétVII

David McDougall 2007, ‘ Anonymous, Pétrsdrápa’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 796-844. <> (accessed 6 July 2022)

 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   28   29   30   31   32   33   34   35   36   37   38   39   40   41   42   43   44   45   46   47   48   49   50   51   52   53   54 

Skj: [Anonyme digte og vers XIV]: [B. 7]. En drape om apostlen Peder, Pétrsdrápa (AII, 500-8, BII, 545-58)

SkP info: VII, 796-844


old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance references search files


The extant text of PétrsdrápaDrápa about the Apostle Peter’ (Anon Pét) consists of 54 dróttkvætt sts. There are a considerable number of metrical irregularities in Pét, doubtless because of the poem’s late date, and these are greater in the second half (cf. sts 18, 20, 26, 27, 28 [skjalfhent], 31, 33, 36, 42). Pét is a stefjadrápa with two refrains, the placement of which suggests some broad section-divisions based on subject matter. Sts 1 to 8 form an introduction in which the author professes his faith, confesses past sins, pleads for mercy from God and Mary, and begs indulgence of his listeners. Sts 9 to 36 deal (for the most part) with Peter’s early discipleship: (inter alia) his vocation, his attempt to walk to Christ on the sea, his earning of the name Cephas/Petrus, his presence at the Transfiguration, his vow never to abandon his master. Sts 38 to 48, framed by the two stef ‘refrains’ (sts 37 and 49), focus on Peter’s role in the Passion story: his attempt to defend Jesus in Gethsemane, his threefold denial and bitter remorse, Christ’s appearance to him after the Resurrection to offer forgiveness and consolation. The remaining sts (50-4) deal with some of the ‘acts’ of Peter after the Ascension: his miraculous deliverance from prison (Acts III.1-10), his cure of a lame beggar (Acts III.1-6), his revivification of Tabitha in Joppa (Acts IX.36-42). The poem ends abruptly with an account of his healing of Eneas in Lydda (Acts IX.32-5).

In the text as it stands, however, this broad pattern is frequently disturbed. St. 33, for instance, on Peter’s condemnation of Ananias and Sapphira (Acts V.1-11) looks as though it belongs in the final section of the poem. And as the scriptural parallels for sts 50 to 54 illustrate, little attention appears to be paid to chronology in the presentation of episodes from scripture. Close verbal parallels for much of the poem are found in Pétrs saga postula I (Pétr), and the author of Pét clearly used a version of that text as a source (see Notes passim). In fact, a more logical verse order is suggested in part by the sequence of parallel passages in Pétr: st. 9 (cf. Pétr 1/9-10), 10 (cf. 1/11-12), 11 (cf. 1/10-14), 12 (cf. 1/14-2/3), 13 (cf. 2/6-13), 14 (cf. 2/15-16), 27 (cf. 2/21-30), 28, 15 (cf. 3/31-4/4), 17/5-8 (cf. 4/4-6), 18, 16/5-8 (cf. 5/5-8), 17/1-4 (cf. 5/8-9), 22 (cf. 5/24-33), 23 (cf. 5/33-6/1), 24 (cf. 6/9-11), 31, 32 (cf. 6/12-14), 19 (cf. 6/32-7/5), 20 (cf. 7/4-9, 20-4), 21 (cf. 8/6-23), 26 (cf. 9/2-5), 29 (cf. 12/13-14), 36, 37 (first stef), 39 (cf. 13/21-4), 41, 42 (cf. 14/2-22), 40 (cf. 14/23-4), 38, 43-4 (cf. 14/24), 45 (cf. 15/24-5), 46 (cf. 15/27-8), 47, 48, 16/1-4 (cf. 16/23-5), 25 (cf. 16/31-17/12), 49 (second stef), 30, 52 (cf. 24/1-9), 33 (cf. 27/20-8/34), 54 (cf. 40/2-9), 53 (cf. 40/10-1/10), 50 (cf. 72/14-16), 51 (cf. 72/30-3/2), 34, 35 (cf. 109/2-7) (see Notes passim). However, the author of Pét may never have intended to adhere to a strict chronological sequence (cf., e.g., st. 16, Notes); and even when arranged in the order indicated above the sts do not form a continuous narrative.

Pétr is preserved in a single medieval vellum — AM 621 4° (621), dated c. 1450-1500 (see ONP Registre, 457; cf. Foote 1990, 12). It is written on fols 57v-59v, immediately after the text of Pétr which fills most of the manuscript (text B2 in Unger 1874, xv; cf. Kålund 1889-94, II, 33-4; ONP Registre, 356; Foote 1990, 12). A copy of st. 5 of the poem in an C18th (?) hand is written upside-down in the lower margin of fol. 23r, and a transcript of the whole text from 621 by Steingrímur Thorsteinsson (1831-1913) is found in AM 920 4°ˣ.

Jón Þorkelsson (1888, 63-4) argued that the apparent lacunae in the text indicate that it was copied (at some stage in its transmission) from an older vellum which the transcriber had difficulty reading, and he suggested that the poem was therefore af en betydelig ælde ‘of a considerable age’. However, the author’s clear dependence on a text of Pétr provides a terminus post quem of some time in the early C14th, the probable date of composition of that text (see Foote 1990, 12 and 14; Foote 1993, 250).

The poem is untitled in 621. In Steingrímur’s transcript in 920 it bears the heading Pꜵtrs-drápa postula. Konráð Gíslason (1860, x, xiii, 557) uses the title Pꜵtrs Drápa (cf. Unger 1874, xv). Kahle (1898) refers to the poem variously as Pétrsdrápa (3, 13, 20, 109), Petrs drápa (vii, 4), Petrsdrápa postula (12) and Petrs drápa postula (78). Pétrsdrápa is the title adopted by Jón Þorkelsson (1888, 63), Finnur Jónsson (Skj AII, 500; BII, 545; LP xv) and Kock (Skald II, 299).

© Skaldic Project Academic Body, unless otherwise noted. Database structure and interface developed by Tarrin Wills. All users of material on this database are reminded that its content may be either subject to copyright restrictions or is the property of the custodians of linked databases that have given permission for members of the skaldic project to use their material for research purposes. Those users who have been given access to as yet unpublished material are further reminded that they may not use, publish or otherwise manipulate such material except with the express permission of the individual editor of the material in question and the General Editor of the volume in which the material is to be published. Applications for permission to use such material should be made in the first instance to the General Editor of the volume in question. All information that appears in the published volumes has been thoroughly reviewed. If you believe some information here is incorrect please contact Tarrin Wills with full details.