Stefnir Þorgilsson (Stefnir)
10th century; volume 1; ed. Diana Whaley;
Lausavísur (Lv) - 2
The biography of Stefnir Þorgilsson (Stefnir) is narrated in Kristni saga (Kristni, ÍF 15, II, 15-17) and in ÓT and ÓTOdd, from which a Stefnis þáttr Þorgilssonar (Stefn) can be assembled (ÍF 15, I, clxxxi-clxxxiv, II, 103-10; cf. Flat 1860-8, I, 285 for a section about Stefnir headed þáttr). Stefnir was the son of Þorgils Eilífsson, son of Helgi bjóla (meaning uncertain), from Kjalarnes, western Iceland. The name Stefnir is not certainly recorded in Norway or Iceland until the fourteenth century, and where it occurs in the kings’ sagas it appears to be an Icelandicised form of the name Stephen, borne by Englishmen (so ÍF 15, II, 103 n. 1). Stefnir travelled with Þorvaldr víðfǫrli ‘Wide-travelling’ Koðránsson (Þvíðf). He was converted to Christianity and sent by King Óláfr Tryggvason to evangelise his homeland c. 996, but met with shipwreck and a hostile reception (see Anon (ÓT) 1), was prosecuted for his Christianity by his kinsmen and sentenced to lesser outlawry; he then returned to Óláfr. The two stanzas below are attributed to Stefnir during a period of disconsolate wandering after the king’s death c. 1000, and are of very different kinds. Stefnir and his slander of someone identified as Sigvaldi jarl (Lv 1) were regarded as the fabrication of Gunnlaugr Leifsson (d. c. 1218/9) by Baetke (1970, and cf. Gottskálk Þór Jensson 2006, 52-3), but see the refutation by Andersson (2003, 21-5).
Diana Whaley 2012, ‘(Introduction to) Stefnir Þorgilsson, 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. 447.
Skj: Stefnir Þórgilsson: Lausavísur (AI, 153-154, BI, 146)
in texts: Flat, Fsk, Kristni, ÓT, ÓTOdd
SkP info: I, 447
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