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Runic Dictionary

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Bǫðvarr balti (Balti)

12th century; volume 2; ed. Kari Ellen Gade;

Sigurðardrápa (Sigdr) - 4

Skáldatal (SnE 1848-87, III, 255, 263, 277) lists Bǫðvarr balti ‘Bear’ (Balti) among the poets of Sigurðr munnr ‘Mouth’ Haraldsson (d. 1155; see ‘Royal Biographies’ in Introduction to this vol.), but he is otherwise unknown. His nickname is given as halti ‘the Lame’ in Mork (see Introduction below), but that must be a scribal error because both Skáldatal and ms. U of SnE agree on balti. We do not know whether Bǫðvarr was from Iceland or Norway.

Sigurðardrápa (‘Drápa about Sigurðr’) — Balti SigdrII

Kari Ellen Gade 2009, ‘ Bǫðvarr balti, Sigurðardrápa’ 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. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 533-6. <> (accessed 6 July 2022)

stanzas:  1   2   3   4 

Skj: Bǫðvarr balti: Sigurðardrápa, o. 1150 (AI, 504-5, BI, 477-8)

in texts: LaufE, Mork, Skm, SnE

SkP info: II, 533-6

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance references search files


Two sts and one helmingr in dróttkvætt metre are preserved from SigurðardrápaDrápa about Sigurðr’ (Balti Sigdr) at the end of SslembMork (Mork), where they are attributed to Bǫðvarr halti ‘the Lame’ (Mork 1928-32, 438): Þess miɴiz Bꜹþvaʀ hallti idrapo er hann orti vm S. konvng Harallz s. ‘Bǫðvarr halti commemorates this in the drápa which he composed about King Sigurðr Haraldsson’ (see Biography above). The sts are devoted to the battle of Holmengrå in 1139 (see also ESk Ingdr 1; Ívarr Sig 34-45; Kolli Ingdr 4-5), and they are preserved only in Mork. Another helmingr is cited in SnE (Skm) in mss R, , W, U and B as well as in LaufE (2368ˣ, 743ˣ). Ms. U gives Bǫðvarr balti as the poet, but R and B attribute it to Kolli (inn prúði) (Kolli) and to Arnórr jarlaskáld Þórðarson (Arn). In W, 2368ˣ and 743ˣ it is written as one st. together with Arn Þorfdr 24/1-4 as the first helmingr. Scholars agree that this half-st. most likely belonged to Bǫðvarr’s Sigdr; see Fidjestøl 1982, 159-60 and Notes to st. 4 below. Because Sigurðr is addressed directly in sts 1-2, the poem must have been composed prior to his death in 1155.
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