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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Egill Skallagrímsson (Egill)

10th century; volume 5; ed. Margaret Clunies Ross;

Arinbjarnarkviða (Arkv) - 25

Skj info: Egill Skallagrímsson, Islandsk skjald; o. 900-983. (AI, 34-60, BI, 30-53).

Skj poems:
[8]. Ubestemmeligt brudstykke
1. Aðalsteinsdrápa
2. Hǫfuðlausn
3. Sonatorrek
4. Arinbjarnarkviða
5. Skjaldardrápa
6. Berudrápa
7. Lausavísur

This edition is currently in preparation. The biography below may represent a superseded edition, notes and/or an interim or draft version. Do not cite this material without consulting the volume and skald editors.

Egill Skallagrímsson (Egill) was born in the west of Iceland to the Norwegian settler Skallagrímr Kveldúlfsson (see separate Biography) and his wife Bera Yngvarsdóttir, probably some time in the last years of the ninth century or the first decade of the tenth. Details of his family’s extensive settlement and his descendants are recorded in Landnámabók (ÍF 1, 68, 70-1, 95 n. 8) as well as in the anonymous saga named for him, Egils saga (Eg), usually considered one of the earliest of the sagas of Icelanders and by many the work of Snorri Sturluson (1179-1241), who was descended from Egill on his mother’s side. The attribution to Snorri is plausible though by no means certain (cf. Hallberg 1962b; West 1980; Vésteinn Ólason 1968 and 1990; Torfi Tulinius 2004).

Most of the details of Egill’s life come from his saga and the poetry transmitted in it or in connection with it. According to these sources, he took after his father and paternal grandfather in being dark, ugly, aggressive and independent. These character traits caused all three men to fall foul of two generations of Norwegian kings, Haraldr hárfagri ‘Fair-hair’ Hálfdanarson and Eiríkr blóðøx ‘Blood-axe’ Haraldsson, and to seek sanctuary in Iceland. Even as a boy, Egill displayed all these qualities in large measure, as well as an outstanding ability as a poet. His brother Þórólfr, on the other hand, like his paternal uncle of the same name in the previous generation, became a king’s man. Egill travelled to Norway but became embroiled in bitter conflict with Eiríkr and his queen Gunnhildr, who was particularly hostile to Egill, and he was outlawed as a consequence. With his brother, he then travelled to England and sought service with King Aðalsteinn (OE Æþelstan); the brothers participated in the battle of Vínheiðr (thought by many scholars to be equivalent to the Old English Brunanburh, fought in 937; cf. Hollander (1933) on the literary ‘ingredients’ of this narrative). Þórólfr was killed in action and, after Egill confronted Aðalsteinn in an outrageously overbearing manner (as the saga has it), the king compensated him handsomely for his loss and promised him his friendship. Egill then returned to Norway and married his brother’s widow, Ásgerðr, went back to Iceland and took up farming. However, marrying Ásgerðr brought with it some complex legal baggage back in Norway, and after her father’s death, Egill returned to Norway to try to claim her inheritance from her half-sister’s husband, Berg-Ǫnundr. He almost succeeded but the king and queen intervened to prevent him, in the process killing some of his men, and either confiscating or destroying his property. Egill retaliated by killing his enemies, who included a number of the king’s men as well as the king’s son Rǫgnvaldr, who was only a boy. To make sure his vengeance against the king and queen worked, he raised a níðstǫng, an ‘insult-pole’, against them, calling upon the guardian deities of Norway to drive the pair from the land. He then returned to Iceland.

Eiríkr was driven from Norway by one of his own brothers, Hákon Aðalsteinsfóstri ‘Foster-son of Aðalsteinn’, after he had killed two other brothers in a struggle for the throne. With Gunnhildr, he established himself in Northumbria, and ruled this kingdom from York (Jórvík). According to the saga, Gunnhildr’s magic drew Egill from Iceland to England, where he thought to visit his friend Aðalsteinn, who, according to the saga (and quite unhistorically, as the king died in 939), was still alive. (The unhistorical notion that Eiríkr’s reign in Northumbria occurred during Aðalsteinn’s lifetime is also to be found in Ágrip (Ágr 2008, 16-17 and n. 31, pp. 90-1).

Egill travelled to England via Orkney and Scotland, but his ship was wrecked in the mouth of the River Humber, where he heard that Eiríkr was in residence at nearby York. Gunnhildr’s magic had thus drawn him irrevocably into the king’s power and it was in this desperate situation, and on the advice of his friend Arinbjǫrn, who was also one of the king’s men, that he composed his Hǫfuðlausn (Hfl) and so ransomed his head. Afterwards he visited Aðalsteinn, and, after many conflicts and lawsuits, eventually gained his wife’s inheritance in Norway. He then retired to Iceland, settled down and became a successful farmer and landowner, living until an advanced old age. In later life he suffered the loss of two of his sons, a circumstance that occasioned his elegaic poem Sonatorrek (St). He also composed poetry (notably Arinbjarnarkviða, Arkv) in honour of his friend Arinbjǫrn.

Egill was a prolific poet but not a court poet in the conventional sense, as most of his oeuvre has been transmitted only in medieval mss and later copies of Eg, aside from the quotation of some of his poetry in the grammatical treatises. He is credited with forty-eight lausavísur across the mss of Eg, as well as with six drápur, three of which have  survived in some form or other. Skáldatal (SnE 1848-87, III, 253, 261, 273, 284, 285) names Egill as a poet of Eiríkr blóðøx, Aðalsteinn of England and the Norwegian hersar Arinbjǫrn Þórisson and Þorsteinn Þóruson.

Arinbjarnarkviða — Egill ArkvV (Eg)

Not published: do not cite (Egill ArkvV (Eg))

 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 

Skj: Egill Skallagrímsson: 4. Arinbjarnarkviða, 962 (AI, 43-8, BI, 38-41)

in texts: Eg, Gramm, Skm, SnE, SnEW, TGT

This edition is currently in preparation and will be published in a forthcoming volume of the series. The text below is from a superseded edition (Skj where relevant).

1 Vol. 5. Egils saga Skalla-Grímssonar 97 (Egill Skallagrímsson, Arinbjarnarkviða, 1) — Egill Arkv 1V (Eg 97)

The following text is from a superseded edition and is not the work of the editor(s) named on this page. It is included for reference only. Do not refer to this site when using this text but rather consult the original edition (Skj where relevant).

Emk hraðkvæðr
hilmi at mæra,
en glapmáll
of gløggvinga,
opinspjallr
of jǫfurs dôðum,
en þagmælskr
of þjóðlygi.

Skj: Egill Skallagrímsson: 4. Arinbjarnarkviða 1 (AI, 43; BI, 38); kviðuháttr; ed. MCR; group: D; mss: 146x, 169x, M; texts: Eg 97
 
2 Vol. 5. Egils saga Skalla-Grímssonar 98 (Egill Skallagrímsson, Arinbjarnarkviða, 2) — Egill Arkv 2V (Eg 98)

The following text is from a superseded edition and is not the work of the editor(s) named on this page. It is included for reference only. Do not refer to this site when using this text but rather consult the original edition (Skj where relevant).

Skaupi gnœgðr
skrǫkberǫndum,
emk vilkvæðr
of vini mína;
sótt hefk mǫrg
mildinga sjǫt
með grunlaust
grepps of œði.

Skj: Egill Skallagrímsson: 4. Arinbjarnarkviða 2 (AI, 44; BI, 38); kviðuháttr; ed. MCR; group: D; mss: 146x, 169x, M; texts: Eg 98
 
3 Vol. 5. Egils saga Skalla-Grímssonar 99 (Egill Skallagrímsson, Arinbjarnarkviða, 3) — Egill Arkv 3V (Eg 99)

The following text is from a superseded edition and is not the work of the editor(s) named on this page. It is included for reference only. Do not refer to this site when using this text but rather consult the original edition (Skj where relevant).

Hafðak endr
ynglings burar,
ríks konungs,
reiði fengna;
drók djarfhǫtt
of døkkva skǫr,
létk hersi
heim of sóttan.

Skj: Egill Skallagrímsson: 4. Arinbjarnarkviða 3 (AI, 44; BI, 38); kviðuháttr; ed. MCR; group: D; mss: 146x, 169x, M; texts: Eg 99
 
4 Vol. 5. Egils saga Skalla-Grímssonar 100 (Egill Skallagrímsson, Arinbjarnarkviða, 4) — Egill Arkv 4V (Eg 100)

The following text is from a superseded edition and is not the work of the editor(s) named on this page. It is included for reference only. Do not refer to this site when using this text but rather consult the original edition (Skj where relevant).

Þars allvaldr
und ýgs hjalmi,
ljóðfrǫmuðr,
at landi sat;
stýrði konungr
við stirðan hug
í Jórvík
úrgum - - -.

Skj: Egill Skallagrímsson: 4. Arinbjarnarkviða 4 (AI, 44; BI, 38); kviðuháttr; ed. MCR; group: D; mss: 146x, 169x, M; texts: Eg 100
 
5 Vol. 5. Egils saga Skalla-Grímssonar 101 (Egill Skallagrímsson, Arinbjarnarkviða, 5) — Egill Arkv 5V (Eg 101)

The following text is from a superseded edition and is not the work of the editor(s) named on this page. It is included for reference only. Do not refer to this site when using this text but rather consult the original edition (Skj where relevant).

Vasa tunglskin
tryggt at líta
né ógnlaust
Eiríks bráa,
þás ormfránn
ennimáni
skein allvalds
œgigeislum.

Skj: Egill Skallagrímsson: 4. Arinbjarnarkviða 5 (AI, 44; BI, 38); kviðuháttr; ed. MCR; group: D; mss: 146x, 169x, M; texts: Eg 101
 
6 Vol. 5. Egils saga Skalla-Grímssonar 102 (Egill Skallagrímsson, Arinbjarnarkviða, 6) — Egill Arkv 6V (Eg 102)

The following text is from a superseded edition and is not the work of the editor(s) named on this page. It is included for reference only. Do not refer to this site when using this text but rather consult the original edition (Skj where relevant).

Þó bólstrverð
of bera þorðak
maka hœings
markar drótni,
svát Yggs full
ýranda kom
at hvers manns
hlustamunnum.

Skj: Egill Skallagrímsson: 4. Arinbjarnarkviða 6 (AI, 44; BI, 38); kviðuháttr; ed. MCR; group: D; mss: 146x, 169x, M; texts: Eg 102
 
7 Vol. 5. Egils saga Skalla-Grímssonar 103 (Egill Skallagrímsson, Arinbjarnarkviða, 7) — Egill Arkv 7V (Eg 103)

The following text is from a superseded edition and is not the work of the editor(s) named on this page. It is included for reference only. Do not refer to this site when using this text but rather consult the original edition (Skj where relevant).

Né hamfagrt
hǫlðum þótti
skaldfé mitt
at skata húsum,
þás ulfgrátt
við Yggjar miði
hattar staup
at hilmi þák.

Skj: Egill Skallagrímsson: 4. Arinbjarnarkviða 7 (AI, 44; BI, 39); kviðuháttr; ed. MCR; group: D; mss: 146x, 169x, M; texts: Eg 103
 
8 Vol. 5. Egils saga Skalla-Grímssonar 104 (Egill Skallagrímsson, Arinbjarnarkviða, 8) — Egill Arkv 8V (Eg 104)

The following text is from a superseded edition and is not the work of the editor(s) named on this page. It is included for reference only. Do not refer to this site when using this text but rather consult the original edition (Skj where relevant).

Við því tók,
en tiru fylgðu
sǫkk sámleit
síðra brúna
ok sá muðr,
es mína bar
hǫfuðlausn
fyr hilmis kné.

Skj: Egill Skallagrímsson: 4. Arinbjarnarkviða 8 (AI, 44-5; BI, 39); kviðuháttr; ed. MCR; group: D; mss: 146x, 169x, M, W; texts: Eg 104, SnEW 17
 
9 Vol. 5. Egils saga Skalla-Grímssonar 105 (Egill Skallagrímsson, Arinbjarnarkviða, 9) — Egill Arkv 9V (Eg 105)

The following text is from a superseded edition and is not the work of the editor(s) named on this page. It is included for reference only. Do not refer to this site when using this text but rather consult the original edition (Skj where relevant).

Þar tannfjǫlð
með tungu þák
ok hlertjǫld
hlustum gǫfguð,
en sú gjǫf
golli betri
hróðugs konungs
of heitin vas.

Skj: Egill Skallagrímsson: 4. Arinbjarnarkviða 9 (AI, 45; BI, 39); kviðuháttr; ed. MCR; group: D; mss: 146x, 169x, M; texts: Eg 105
 
10 Vol. 5. Egils saga Skalla-Grímssonar 106 (Egill Skallagrímsson, Arinbjarnarkviða, 10) — Egill Arkv 10V (Eg 106)

The following text is from a superseded edition and is not the work of the editor(s) named on this page. It is included for reference only. Do not refer to this site when using this text but rather consult the original edition (Skj where relevant).

Þar stóð mér
mǫrgum betri
hoddfinnǫndum
á hlið aðra
tryggr vinr minn,
sás trúa knáttak,
heiðþróaðr,
hverju ráði.

Skj: Egill Skallagrímsson: 4. Arinbjarnarkviða 10 (AI, 45; BI, 39); kviðuháttr; ed. MCR; group: D; mss: 146x, 169x, M; texts: Eg 106
 
11 Vol. 5. Egils saga Skalla-Grímssonar 107 (Egill Skallagrímsson, Arinbjarnarkviða, 11) — Egill Arkv 11V (Eg 107)

The following text is from a superseded edition and is not the work of the editor(s) named on this page. It is included for reference only. Do not refer to this site when using this text but rather consult the original edition (Skj where relevant).

Arinbjǫrn,
es oss einn of hóf,
knía fremstr,
frá konungs fjónum,
vinr þjóðans,
es vætki ló
í herskás
hilmis garði.

Skj: Egill Skallagrímsson: 4. Arinbjarnarkviða 11 (AI, 45; BI, 39); kviðuháttr; ed. MCR; group: D; mss: 146x, 169x, M; texts: Eg 107
 
12 Vol. 5. Egils saga Skalla-Grímssonar 108 (Egill Skallagrímsson, Arinbjarnarkviða, 12) — Egill Arkv 12V (Eg 108)

The following text is from a superseded edition and is not the work of the editor(s) named on this page. It is included for reference only. Do not refer to this site when using this text but rather consult the original edition (Skj where relevant).

Ok - - - -
- - stuðill lét,
margfrǫmuðr
minna dáða,
sem en - að - -
- - - Halfdanar
at í væri
ættar skaði.

Skj: Egill Skallagrímsson: 4. Arinbjarnarkviða 12 (AI, 45; BI, 39); kviðuháttr; ed. MCR; group: D; mss: 146x, 169x, M; texts: Eg 108
 
13 Vol. 5. Egils saga Skalla-Grímssonar 109 (Egill Skallagrímsson, Arinbjarnarkviða, 13) — Egill Arkv 13V (Eg 109)

The following text is from a superseded edition and is not the work of the editor(s) named on this page. It is included for reference only. Do not refer to this site when using this text but rather consult the original edition (Skj where relevant).

Munk vinþjófr
verða heitinn
ok váljúgr
at Viðurs fulli,
hróðrs ørvirðr
ok heitrofi,
nema þess gagns
gjǫld of vinnak.

Skj: Egill Skallagrímsson: 4. Arinbjarnarkviða 13 (AI, 45; BI, 39-40); kviðuháttr; ed. MCR; group: D; mss: 146x, 169x, M; texts: Eg 109
 
14 Vol. 5. Egils saga Skalla-Grímssonar 110 (Egill Skallagrímsson, Arinbjarnarkviða, 14) — Egill Arkv 14V (Eg 110)

The following text is from a superseded edition and is not the work of the editor(s) named on this page. It is included for reference only. Do not refer to this site when using this text but rather consult the original edition (Skj where relevant).

Nú's þat sét,
hvar setja skalk
bratt stiginn
of bragar fótum
fyr mannfjǫlð
margri sjónir
hróðr máttigs
hersa kundar.

Skj: Egill Skallagrímsson: 4. Arinbjarnarkviða 14 (AI, 45-6; BI, 40); kviðuháttr; ed. MCR; group: D; mss: 146x, 169x, M; texts: Eg 110
 
15 Vol. 5. Egils saga Skalla-Grímssonar 111 (Egill Skallagrímsson, Arinbjarnarkviða, 15) — Egill Arkv 15V (Eg 111)

The following text is from a superseded edition and is not the work of the editor(s) named on this page. It is included for reference only. Do not refer to this site when using this text but rather consult the original edition (Skj where relevant).

Erum auðskœf
ómunlokri
magar Þóris
mærðar efni,
vinar míns,
þvít valið liggja
tvén ok þrén
á tungu mér.

Skj: Egill Skallagrímsson: 4. Arinbjarnarkviða 15 (AI, 46; BI, 40); kviðuháttr; ed. MCR; group: B; mss: 146x, 169x, 744x, A, B, M, W; texts: Eg 111, TGT 3
 
16 Vol. 5. Egils saga Skalla-Grímssonar 112 (Egill Skallagrímsson, Arinbjarnarkviða, 16) — Egill Arkv 16V (Eg 112)

The following text is from a superseded edition and is not the work of the editor(s) named on this page. It is included for reference only. Do not refer to this site when using this text but rather consult the original edition (Skj where relevant).

Þat telk fyrst,
es flestr of veit
ok alþjóð
eyru sœkir,
hvé mildgeðr
mǫnnum þótti
bjóða-bjǫrn
birkis ótta.

Skj: Egill Skallagrímsson: 4. Arinbjarnarkviða 16 (AI, 46; BI, 40); kviðuháttr; ed. MCR; group: D; mss: 146x, 169x, M; texts: Eg 112
 
17 Vol. 5. Egils saga Skalla-Grímssonar 113 (Egill Skallagrímsson, Arinbjarnarkviða, 17) — Egill Arkv 17V (Eg 113)

The following text is from a superseded edition and is not the work of the editor(s) named on this page. It is included for reference only. Do not refer to this site when using this text but rather consult the original edition (Skj where relevant).

Þat alls heri
at undri gefsk,
hvé urþjóð
auði gnœgir,
en Grjótbjǫrn
of gœddan hefr
Freyr of Njǫrðr
at féar afli.

Skj: Egill Skallagrímsson: 4. Arinbjarnarkviða 17 (AI, 46; BI, 40); kviðuháttr; ed. MCR; group: D; mss: 146x, 169x, M, R, W; texts: Eg 113, Skm 61
 
18 Vol. 5. Egils saga Skalla-Grímssonar 114 (Egill Skallagrímsson, Arinbjarnarkviða, 18) — Egill Arkv 18V (Eg 114)

The following text is from a superseded edition and is not the work of the editor(s) named on this page. It is included for reference only. Do not refer to this site when using this text but rather consult the original edition (Skj where relevant).

En Hróalds
at hǫfuðbaðmi
auðs iðgnótt
at alnum sifjar (?)
se - - - semd (?)
af vegum ǫllum
á vindkers
víðum botni.

Skj: Egill Skallagrímsson: 4. Arinbjarnarkviða 18 (AI, 46; BI, 40); kviðuháttr; ed. MCR; group: D; mss: 146x, 169x, M; texts: Eg 114
 
19 Vol. 5. Egils saga Skalla-Grímssonar 115 (Egill Skallagrímsson, Arinbjarnarkviða, 19) — Egill Arkv 19V (Eg 115)

The following text is from a superseded edition and is not the work of the editor(s) named on this page. It is included for reference only. Do not refer to this site when using this text but rather consult the original edition (Skj where relevant).

Hann drógseil
of - - - gat
sem hildingr
heyrnar spanna
goðum ávarðr
með gumna fjǫlð
vinr Véþorms
veklinga tøs (?).

Skj: Egill Skallagrímsson: 4. Arinbjarnarkviða 19 (AI, 46; BI, 40); kviðuháttr; ed. MCR; group: D; mss: 146x, 169x, M; texts: Eg 115
 
20 Vol. 5. Egils saga Skalla-Grímssonar 116 (Egill Skallagrímsson, Arinbjarnarkviða, 20) — Egill Arkv 20V (Eg 116)

The following text is from a superseded edition and is not the work of the editor(s) named on this page. It is included for reference only. Do not refer to this site when using this text but rather consult the original edition (Skj where relevant).

Þat hann viðr,
es þrjóta mun
flesta menn,
þótt fé eigi,
kveðka skamt
meðal skata húsa
né auðskept
almanna spjǫr.

Skj: Egill Skallagrímsson: 4. Arinbjarnarkviða 20 (AI, 46-7; BI, 40); kviðuháttr; ed. MCR; group: D; mss: 146x, 169x, M; texts: Eg 116
 
21 Vol. 5. Egils saga Skalla-Grímssonar 117 (Egill Skallagrímsson, Arinbjarnarkviða, 21) — Egill Arkv 21V (Eg 117)

The following text is from a superseded edition and is not the work of the editor(s) named on this page. It is included for reference only. Do not refer to this site when using this text but rather consult the original edition (Skj where relevant).

Gekk maðr engr
at Arinbjarnar
ór legvers
lǫngum knerri
háði leiddr
né heiptkviðum
með atgeirs
auðar toptir.

Skj: Egill Skallagrímsson: 4. Arinbjarnarkviða 21 (AI, 47; BI, 41); kviðuháttr; ed. MCR; group: D; mss: 146x, 169x, M; texts: Eg 117
 
22 Vol. 5. Egils saga Skalla-Grímssonar 118 (Egill Skallagrímsson, Arinbjarnarkviða, 22) — Egill Arkv 22V (Eg 118)

The following text is from a superseded edition and is not the work of the editor(s) named on this page. It is included for reference only. Do not refer to this site when using this text but rather consult the original edition (Skj where relevant).

Hinn's fégrimmr,
es í Fjǫrðum býr,
sá's of-dolgr
Draupnis niðja,
sǫkunautr
of sona hvinna,
hringum hættr (?)
hoddvegandi.

Skj: Egill Skallagrímsson: 4. Arinbjarnarkviða 22 (AI, 47; BI, 41); kviðuháttr; ed. MCR; group: D; mss: 146x, 169x, Acc28x, M; texts: Eg 118
 
23 Vol. 5. Egils saga Skalla-Grímssonar 119 (Egill Skallagrímsson, Arinbjarnarkviða, 23) — Egill Arkv 23V (Eg 119)

The following text is from a superseded edition and is not the work of the editor(s) named on this page. It is included for reference only. Do not refer to this site when using this text but rather consult the original edition (Skj where relevant).

Hann aldrteig
of eiga gat
fjǫl - - - -
of friðar spjǫllum
- - - - - -

Skj: Egill Skallagrímsson: 4. Arinbjarnarkviða 23 (AI, 47; BI, 41); kviðuháttr; ed. MCR; group: D; mss: 146x, 169x, Acc28x, M; texts: Eg 119
 
24 Vol. 5. Egils saga Skalla-Grímssonar 120 (Egill Skallagrímsson, Arinbjarnarkviða, 24) — Egill Arkv 24V (Eg 120)

The following text is from a superseded edition and is not the work of the editor(s) named on this page. It is included for reference only. Do not refer to this site when using this text but rather consult the original edition (Skj where relevant).

Þat's órétt,
es orpit hefr
á máskeið
mǫrgu gagni,
ramriðin
Rǫkkva stóði,
vellvǫnuðr,
því's veitti mér.

Skj: Egill Skallagrímsson: 4. Arinbjarnarkviða 24 (AI, 47; BI, 41); kviðuháttr; ed. MCR; group: D; mss: 146x, 169x, A, M, W; texts: Eg 120, TGT 81, TGT 120
 
25 Vol. 5. Egils saga Skalla-Grímssonar 121 (Egill Skallagrímsson, Arinbjarnarkviða, 25) — Egill Arkv 25V (Eg 121)

The following text is from a superseded edition and is not the work of the editor(s) named on this page. It is included for reference only. Do not refer to this site when using this text but rather consult the original edition (Skj where relevant).

Vask árvakr,
bark orð saman
með málþjóns
morginverkum;
hlóðk lofkǫst
þann's lengi stendr
óbrotgjarn
í bragar túni.

Skj: Egill Skallagrímsson: 4. Arinbjarnarkviða 25 (AI, 47-8; BI, 41); kviðuháttr; ed. MCR; group: D; mss: 146x, 169x, A, M, W; texts: Eg 121, TGT 107
 
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