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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Steinn Herdísarson (Steinn)

11th century; volume 2; ed. Kari Ellen Gade;

1. Nizarvísur (Nizv) - 7

Skj info: Steinn Herdísarson, Islandsk skjald, 11. årh. (AI, 407-13, BI, 376-83).

Skj poems:
1. Nizarvísur
2. Ulfsflokkr
3. Óláfsdrápa

Steinn was the great-grandson of the Icel. poet Einarr skálaglamm ‘Tinkle-scales’ Helgason (EskálI) and a kinsman of Stúfr inn blindi ‘the Blind’ Þórðarson (Stúfr; see the genealogy in SnE 1848-87, III, 607 and Genealogy IV in ÍF 5). At the battle of the river Nissan in 1062 he was on board the ship of his kinsman, Úlfr stallari ‘the Marshal’ Óspaksson (Úlfr). Steinn was a court poet of Haraldr harðráði ‘Hardrule’ Sigurðarson and his son Óláfr kyrri ‘the Quiet’ Haraldsson (SnE 1848-87, III, 254, 262, 275). Two poems, NizarvísurVísur about the Nissan’ (Steinn Nizv), and ÓláfsdrápaDrápa about Óláfr’ (Steinn Óldr) survive of his poetic oeuvre, and another st., ÚlfsflokkrFlokkr about Úlfr’ (Steinn Úlffl), is usually assigned to a poem about Úlfr Óspaksson.

Nizarvísur (‘Vísur about the Nissan’) — Steinn NizvII

Kari Ellen Gade 2009, ‘ Steinn Herdísarson, Nizarvísur’ in Kari Ellen Gade (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 2: From c. 1035 to c. 1300. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 2. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 359-66. <> (accessed 5 December 2021)

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Skj: Steinn Herdísarson: 1. Nizarvísur, 1062 (AI, 407-9, BI, 376-8)

in texts: Flat, Fsk, H-Hr, , Hkr, HSig, Knýtl, MH, Mork

SkP info: II, 359-66

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance references search files


The poem, NizarvísurVísur about the Nissan’ (Steinn Nizv), commemorates the battle of the river Nissan (Niz; a river in Halland, Sweden, then a part of Denmark) between Haraldr harðráði Sigurðarson of Norway and Sveinn Úlfsson of Denmark (on 9 August 1062). The name of the poem is preserved in Knýtl (ÍF 35, 138), and all the sts are attributed to Steinn in most prose texts. H-Hr mistakenly assigns sts 3-4 to ‘Stúfr’, i.e. Steinn’s relative, Stúfr inn blindi (Stúfr, see above) (Fms 6, 315-16; see also Fidjestøl 1982, 147). Stanzas 1-2 are preserved in HSigHkr (, 39 (st. 2 only), F, E, J2ˣ), as well as in Fsk (FskBˣ, FskAˣ), Mork (Mork), Flat (Flat) and H-Hr (H, Hr), and st. 1 is also recorded in AM 570 a 4° (570a) of Hákonar saga Ívarssonar (). Stanzas 3-4 are found in Hkr and H-Hr, st. 5 in Fsk, Mork, Flat and H-Hr (here FskBˣ is the main ms.), and sts 6-7 are recorded only in mss 20dˣ, 873ˣ, 20b I and 180b of Knýtl, as well as in 1741 (JÓ is the main ms.). The order of the sts is unproblematic and determined by the events they commemorate. For the battle of the Nissan, see also Arn Hardr 2-4, ÞjóðA Sex 13-18, Stúfr Stúfdr 7, Steinn Úlffl and Note to Steinn Óldr 9/4.
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