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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Bárðr á Upplǫndum (Bárðr)

10th century; volume 1; ed. Kate Heslop;

Lausavísa (Lv) - 1

Skj info: Bárðr á Upplǫndum, Norsk bonde, omkr. 1000. (AI, 153, BI, 145).

Skj poems:

Nothing is known of Bárðr á Upplǫndum ‘of Opplandene’ or Bárðr digri ‘the Stout’ beyond what is told in Þorvalds þáttr tasalda (ÞorvT, ÍF 9, 119-26), which is embedded in ÓT. According to the þáttr, Bárðr is a rich elderly farmer who lives with his daughter at Úlfarsdalir or Úlfsdalir in Upplǫnd (Opplandene in central Norway). He is a ‘noble heathen’ who trusts only in his own might and main (mátt minn ok megin, ÓT 1958-2000, II, 100; cf. Lönnroth 1969). The single helmingr which follows is the only verse composition credited to Bárðr, and its authenticity has been doubted (see below).

Lausavísa — Bárðr LvI

Kate Heslop 2012, ‘ Bárðr á Upplǫndum, Lausavísa’ in Diana Whaley (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 1: From Mythical Times to c. 1035. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 1. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 442. <> (accessed 8 December 2021)


Skj: Bárðr á Upplǫndum: Lausavísa (AI, 153, BI, 145); stanzas (if different): [v]

in texts: Flat, ÓT, ÞorvT

SkP info: I, 442

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance references search files


This helmingr (Bárðr Lv) is preserved only in ÞorvT in ÓT, in the mss listed below; the 325VIII 2a text is seriously incomplete because of a cut down the left side of the leaf. The þáttr chronology would place the composition in the summer of 998 AD, when Þorvaldr tasaldi (whose nickname is of uncertain meaning) visits Bárðr on behalf of King Óláfr Tryggvason, and persuades him, after a series of physical and verbal altercations, to accept Christian baptism. Some features of the helmingr, however, suggest it may have been composed long afterwards (see the Notes), perhaps contemporaneously with the þáttr, which is conventionally dated to the late thirteenth century (Würth 1993, 677). The helmingr is in the simple munnvǫrp ‘mouth-throwings, improvisations’ metre, with skothending rather than aðalhending in the even lines, and no rhyme at all in odd lines (cf. SnSt Ht 66III).
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