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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Vagn Ákason (Vagn)

10th century; volume 1; ed. Matthew Townend;

Lausavísa (Lv) - 1

Skj info: Vagn Ákason (AI, 185-6, BI, 175).

According to Jvs (e.g. Jvs 1962, 18), Vagn (Vagn) was the son of Áki and grandson of Pálna-Tóki, founder of the Jómsvíkingar. He is mentioned in Vígf Hák 1/4 and features prominently in later verse and prose accounts of the famous sea-battle between the Jómsvíkingar and the Norwegian jarls at Hjǫrungavágr (Liavågen, c. 985). He appears to have survived both the battle and the executions that followed it. The following lausavísa is the only poetry attributed to him in any source.

see Anon. X (Tillæg 1)

Lausavísa — Vagn LvI

Matthew Townend 2012, ‘ Vagn Ákason, 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. 366. <> (accessed 2 December 2021)


SkP info: I, 366

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

1 — Vagn Lv 1I

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Matthew Townend (ed.) 2012, ‘Vagn Ákason, Lausavísa 1’ 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. 366.

Sigvaldi hefr setta
sjalfa oss und
und kylfu,
en fárhugaðr fnauði
fór heim til Dan
Hyggr í faðm at falla
fljótt vinkonu sinni,
en fyr borð it breiða
Búi gekk með hugrekki.


Sigvaldi has put us ourselves under the cosh, but the little-hearted coward has gone home to Denmark. He thinks to fall swiftly into the embrace of his lady-friend, but Búi has gone over the broad gunwale with courage.

context: At a point in the battle of Hjǫrungavágr (Liavågen) when the division and defeat of the Jómsvíkingar has become apparent, and victory looks assured for the Norwegian jarls Hákon Sigurðarson and his son Eiríkr, Sigvaldi, leader of the Jómsvíkingar, flees and (in 291) calls for others to flee too. Vagn speaks the stanza (in 291 as a direct response to Sigvaldi).

notes: [5-8]: The second helmingr sets up a familiar skaldic contrast between the coward at home with a woman, and the brave man in battle (cf., e.g., Vígf Lv, Anon Liðs 3).

texts: Flat 225, Jvs 20

editions: Skj Anonyme digte og vers [X]: Tillæg [1]. Vagn Ákason (AI, 185-6; BI, 175); Skald I, 93; Jvs 1879, 86, Jvs 1882, 118, Jvs 1962, 37-8, Jvs 1969, 188, 216, Flat 1860-8, I, 194


AM 291 4° (291) 36v, 1 - 36v, 3 (Jvs)  transcr.  
Holm perg 7 4° (7) 37v - 37v (Jvs)  image  
GKS 1005 fol (Flat) 25vb, 40 - 25vb, 40 (Jvs)  image  image  image  
AM 510 4° (510) 63r - 63r, 3 (Jvs)  image  
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