Þjóðólfr ór Hvini (Þjóð)
9th century; volume 1; ed. Edith Marold;
1. Ynglingatal (Yt) - 37
2. Poem about Haraldr hárfagri (Har) - 5
3. Lausavísur (Lv) - 2
III. 1. Haustlǫng (Haustl) - 20
Þjóðólfr ór Hvini, or inn hvinverski, ‘from Hvinir’ (Þjóð) was a Norwegian skald of the late ninth or early tenth century. As his nickname indicates, he was from Hvinir (Kvinesdal, Vest-Agder). His biography is largely unknown. Skáldatal names him as poet to several rulers and powerful men: Haraldr hárfagri ‘Fair-hair’ and Rǫgnvaldr heiðumhár or heiðumhæri ‘High with Honours’ (SnE 1848-87, III, 253, 261, 273), Hákon jarl Grjótgarðsson (ibid., 256, 265, 280), Þorleifr inn spaki ‘the Wise’ (ibid., 259, 268, 285), Strút-Haraldr jarl (ibid., 259, 284) and an unknown Sveinn jarl (ibid., 268). However, the associations with Hákon, Strút-Haraldr and Þorleifr are uncertain since they may have lived later in the tenth century; see Bugge (1894, 145, 175); Åkerlund (1939, 7). In Hkr, both within the Prologue (ÍF 26, 4) and in HHárf (ÍF 26, 127-8, 139), Þjóðólfr is represented as skald and friend to Haraldr hárfagri and as a dedicated foster-father to Haraldr’s son Guðrøðr ljómi ‘Beam of Light’. It is in this context that he speaks the two lausavísur associated with him (Þjóð Lv 1-2). Þjóðólfr ór Hvini is the composer of the poems Ynglingatal (Þjóð Yt) and Haustlǫng (Þjóð HaustlIII, edited in SkP III). Five stanzas of a poem dedicated to Haraldr hárfagri (Þjóð Har) are also attributed to him. Several stanzas of Haraldskvæði (Þhorn Harkv) are falsely attributed to Þjóðólfr; see Introduction to Harkv. Finally, a fragment (Þjóðólfr FragIII) edited in SkP III is likely to be the work of a different Þjóðólfr, though it is tentatively associated with Þjóð Yt in Skj; see Introduction to Yt.
Margaret Clunies Ross 2017, ‘(Introduction to) Þjóðólfr ór Hvini, Haustlǫng’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 431.
Skj: Þjóðólfr ór Hvini, enn hvinverski: 2. Haustlǫng (AI, 16-20, BI, 14-18)
in texts: LaufE, LaufE, Skm, SnE
SkP info: III, 431
Haustlǫng ‘Autumn-long’ (Þjóð Haustl) is one of only three extant Old Norse dróttkvætt drápur of any length that belong to the genre of ekphrasis or poetry descriptive of pictures. The other two are Bragi Boddason’s Ragnarsdrápa ‘Drápa about Ragnarr’ (Bragi Rdr) and Úlfr Uggason’s Húsdrápa ‘House-drápa (ÚlfrU Húsdr). They date from the second half or the very end of the ninth century (Rdr, Haustl) and c. 1000 (Húsdr); the first two were composed by Norwegian skalds, the third by an Icelander. In the case of both Rdr and Haustl the skalds have apparently received gifts of painted or decorated shields from their patrons, and their reciprocating task is to compose a poem about the splendid objects and the myths or legends depicted on them. On the genre, see Fuglesang (2007), Clunies Ross (2006b) and (2007).
All three ekphraseis have been preserved in mss of SnE. The 20-stanza Haustlǫng is extant in mss R, Tˣ and W, with R containing all stanzas, Tˣ all but st. 4 and W all but sts 11/6-13/8. Ms. R has been selected as the main ms. for this edition, although its preservation of sts 1-2 is not good. In many places, too, W has a better text than either R or Tˣ. Like SnE’s citation of stanzas from Bragi Rdr, Haustl stanzas are quoted in two continuous sequences, and in each case the prose of SnE names the poem Haustlǫng ‘Autumn-long’ (SnE 1998, I, 22, 30) and attributes it to Þjóðólfr. The origin of the poem’s name is unknown, but the general surmise is that it refers to the time it took Þjóðólfr to compose it. The first sequence, cited in Skm (sts 14-20, SnE 1998, I, 22-4) to illustrate Snorri Sturluson’s account of the myth of the god Þórr’s single combat with the giant Hrungnir, has been considered by all editors to be the second subject of the drápa, while the first (sts 1-13), the myth of the dealings of three Æsir, Óðinn, Hœnir and Loki with the giant Þjazi, and the latter’s abduction of the goddess Iðunn, is presented later in Skm (SnE 1998, I, 30-3), at a point where names for Iðunn are listed, although Snorri’s prose narrative of this myth occurs near the beginning of Skm (SnE 1998, I, 1-2). The drápa’s stef or refrain occurs at the end of each of the poem’s two sections at sts 13/7-8 and 20/7-8.
The drápa has been edited many times, both separately and in anthologies. For details of nineteenth- and early twentieth-century editions, see textual note to st. 1 in Skj A. There are also a number of significant studies of the poem, the most important of which are Holtsmark (1949) (for sts 1-13 only) and Marold (1983, 153-210). These and other studies will be referred to, where relevant, in the Notes. The edition and translation of North (1997a) and the study of Kiil (1959), although interesting, are somewhat unreliable and have not been cited here.