Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

1. 38. Óttarr svarti, 2. Knútsdrápa, 9 [Vol. 1, 778]

[All]: It is at least a possibility that this stanza comes from an otherwise lost poem in honour of Knútr’s father, Sveinn tjúguskegg (for earlier discussion of this issue see A. Campbell 1971, 13; Poole 1987, 276-80). According to the English sources we possess (primarily the ASC and the Encomium Emmae Reginae), Knútr did not fight a battle at Norwich in the course of his 1016 campaign in England; but his father Sveinn did fight a major battle there in 1004, which is the only conflict at Norwich recorded in English sources for the late Viking Age (ASC (‘E’) s. a. 1004). Moreover, in Skáldatal (SnE 1848-87, III, 258, 267) Óttarr is listed as having composed for Sveinn as well as Knútr. Nonetheless, Poole (1987, 278) has argued that Knýtl’s attribution of this stanza to Óttarr’s Knútdr can still be salvaged. Although Knútr is not remembered in English sources as having fought a battle at Norwich, ASC (s. a. 1016) does record that after fighting in London (and before the battle of Ashingdon) Knútr and his army went by ship into the river Orwell, and then inland into Mercia. This would provide opportunity for some sort of action at or near Norwich, which Óttarr may then have wished to emphasise in order to draw a parallel between Knútr and his illustrious father. For the sequencing of sts 8-10 in this edn, see further Introduction.


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