Óláfr svartaskáld Leggsson (Ólsv)
13th century; volume 3; ed. R. D. Fulk;
1. Hákonardrápa (Hákdr) - 2
2. Skúladrápa (Skúldr) - 1
3. Kristsdrápa (Kristdr) - 2
4. Love poem (Love) - 3
IV. 5. Lausavísa (Lv) - 1
It is possible that Óláfr (Ólsv) was a nephew of the poet Játgeirr Torfason (SnE 1848-87, III, 681; SkP II, 652). In Skáldatal (SnE 1848-87, III, 279) he is identified as a poet attached to the court of King Hákon Hákonarson (r. 1217-63; see SkP II, lxxxi-lxxxii). His nickname svartaskáld ‘Black Skald’ no doubt was employed to distinguish him from his contemporary at Hákon’s court, Óláfr hvítaskáld ‘White Skald’ Þórðarson (Ólhv; see SkP II, 656), and presumably it indicates that he had dark hair. He plays a role in a narrative in Sturlunga saga (ch. 228) set in the period 1230-1 (see Stu 1988, I, 329-30). According to that saga, he was a poor man who was in the company of Snorri Sturluson’s son, Jón murtr ‘Roach’, in Bergen in 1231. During a drunken brawl he dealt Jón an axe-blow that led to Jón’s death. Óláfr managed to escape the scene of the crime under the cover of darkness and he was not punished. He is not mentioned again in any literary source. The remains of his poetry are almost all fragmentary: these include what appear to be drápur dedicated to King Hákon (Hákdr), to Christ (Kristdr), and to the Norwegian Skúli jarl Bárðarson (1189-1240) (Skúldr), as well as a love poem (Love); the one complete work is a lone lausavísa.
Skúladrápa (‘Drápa about Skúli’)
R. D. Fulk 2017, ‘ Óláfr svartaskáld Leggsson, Skúladrápa’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 313. <https://skaldic.org/m.php?p=text&i=1331> (accessed 20 May 2022)
Skj: Óláfr Leggsson, svartaskáld: 2. En drape om Skule jarl (AII, 85, BII, 96); stanzas (if different): [v]
in texts: GrammSkáld
SkP info: III, 313
This fragment, Skúladrápa ‘Drápa about Skúli’ (Ólsv Skúldr), is preserved only in the version of TGT contained in A, where it is explicitly attributed to Óláfr Leggsson. Since it eulogises a man named Skúli, it is reasonably assumed to derive from a longer composition about Skúli jarl Bárðarson (about whom see Note to [All] below), even though Óláfr is not mentioned in Skáldatal as a poet who eulogised Skúli. This posited longer composition is more likely to be a drápa than a lausavísa, given the encomiastic nature of the couplet, although the title of the fragment is modern rather than medieval.