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Data from Samnordisk runtextdatabas

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Jǫkull Bárðarson (Jǫk)

11th century; volume 1; ed. Diana Whaley;

Lausavísur (Lv) - 2

According to Snorri Sturluson (ÓH 1941, I, 503; ÍF 27, 331), Jǫkull (Jǫk) was the son of Bárðr Jǫkulsson of Vatnsdalur, northern Iceland; he is described as a big, powerful man and a great traveller. He was uncle of the saga hero Grettir Ásmundarson and tried unsuccessfully to dissuade him from tackling the revenant Glámr (ÍF 7, 117). Jǫkull became a follower of Hákon jarl Eiríksson (on whom, see ‘Ruler biographies’ in Introduction to this volume), and this allegiance led, in the late 1020s, to both his triumph and his downfall, as commemorated in the two lausavísur attributed to him.

Lausavísur — Jǫk LvI

Diana Whaley 2012, ‘ Jǫkull Bárðarson, Lausavísur’ 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. 813. <> (accessed 28 January 2022)

stanzas:  1   2 

Skj: Jǫkull Bárðarson: Lausavísur (AI, 314, BI, 291)

in texts: Flat, Fsk, Hkr, ÓH, ÓHHkr

SkP info: I, 813

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance references search files


The two stanzas (Jǫk Lv 1-2) present a contrast between triumph at gaining command of a ship belonging to Óláfr Haraldsson, and the extremity of severe wounds resulting from the king’s anger. In the prose sources the second stanza is uttered between the first and second blows in Jǫkull’s beheading. Lv 1 is dated to 1029 (by, among others, Árni Magnússon in 761bˣ and the editors of Hkr 1991, 494), and Lv 2 generally to 1030. Finnur Jónsson (LH I, 517) assigns the two to 1028 and 1030, and treats them as authentic, though at the very least the circumstances of the second stanza’s composition must be questioned. Both are cited in Óláfs saga helga, in the Separate version (ÓH, mss listed below) and the Hkr version (ÓHHkr, as main ms.), jointly designated ÓH-Hkr below. Lv 1 but not Lv 2 is cited in Fsk (FskBˣ, FskAˣ).

Runic data from Samnordisk runtextdatabas, Uppsala universitet, unless otherwise stated