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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Snæbjǫrn (Snæbj)

11th century; volume 3; ed. Edith Marold;

Lausavísur (Lv) - 2

Skj info: Snæbjǫrn, Islænder, i det 11. årh. (AI, 211, BI, 201).

Skj poems:

The identity of the skald Snæbjǫrn (Snæbj), to whom SnE attributes one stanza and one helmingr, is uncertain. He is not mentioned in Skáldatal, nor can he be identified as one of the three Snæbjǫrns who appear in Ldn (Snæbjǫrn Eyvindarson, Snæbjǫrn galti ‘Boar’ from Vestfirðir and Snæbjǫrn Hafnar-Ormsson). SnE does not give his patronymic. He was first assumed to be Snæbjǫrn galti (Bugge 1886, 337; Gollancz 1898, xvii) who discovered Gunnbjarnarsker and was killed there (Ldn, ÍF 1, 190-5). Finnur Jónsson (1898, 133; LH I, 520) rightly opposed this view. Ohlmarks (1958, 167-71) identified him as Snæbjǫrn Hafnar-Ormsson (Ldn, ÍF 1, 61), whom he took to be the grandson of Snæbjǫrn galti. Ohlmark’s reason for doing so was that Snæbjǫrn Hafnar-Ormsson’s adulthood (c. 1000-30) coincided with the period to which Finnur Jónsson (Skj B) assigned the stanzas.

Lausavísur — Snæbj LvIII

Edith Marold with the assistance of Vivian Busch, Jana Krüger, Ann-Dörte Kyas and Katharina Seidel, translated from German by John Foulks 2017, ‘ Snæbjǫrn, Lausavísur’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 376. <> (accessed 19 May 2022)

 1   2 

Skj: Snæbjǫrn: Lausavísur, o. 1010-20 (AI, 211, BI, 201)

in texts: LaufE, Skm, SnE

SkP info: III, 376

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance references search files


The stanza (Snæbj Lv 1) and the helmingr (Snæbj Lv 2) edited below are both about sea-voyages and Lv 1 describes a journey near the edge of the earth. The expression máli buðlunga ‘confidant of rulers’ in Snæbj Lv 2/2 led scholars to conclude that these lausavísur were composed for a chieftain or a commander rather than for a king (Guðmundur Þorláksson 1882, 64). Ohlmarks’s (1958, 171) unfounded view that this chieftain was Eiríkr jarl Hákonarson caused him to date the poem to before 1012 (Eiríkr left Norway prior to 1014). Guðbrandur Vigfússon (CPB II, 55) and Bugge (1886, 338) attributed another helmingr (one by Þórðr Sjáreksson, ÞSjár Frag 4) to Snæbjǫrn, but Finnur Jónsson (LH I, 520) strongly rejected that attribution. Both lausavísur appear in mss R (main ms.), , W and U of Skm (SnE). Lv 1 is also found in ms. B, and Lv 2 is transmitted in mss 743ˣ and 2368ˣ of LaufE as well. The LaufE mss derive from W, and readings from these mss are not considered in the present edition.

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