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Runic Dictionary

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Arnórr jarlaskáld Þórðarson (Arn)

11th century; volume 2; ed. Diana Whaley;

5. Haraldsdrápa (Hardr) - 17

Arnórr jarlaskáld ‘Jarls’-poet’ came from Hítarnes in western Iceland, the son of the prosperous farmer and poet Þórðr Kolbeinsson (ÞKolbI, born 974) and Oddný eykyndill ‘Island-candle’ Þorkelsdóttir, who was the subject of the long-running personal and poetic rivalry between Þórðr and Bjǫrn Hítdœlakappi (BjhítV) which is commemorated in Bjarnar saga Hítdœlakappa. According to that saga chronology, Arnórr would have been born c. 1011/12, and he features as a boy in ch. 23 of the saga, and in ch. 60 of Grettis saga. He went abroad, probably in his early twenties, for he is named in Skáldatal (SnE 1848-87, III, 258, 267) among the skalds of King Knútr inn ríki (Cnut the Great) (d. 1035). From the evidence of the memorial poems Rǫgnvaldsdrápa (Arn Rǫgndr), especially st. 2, and Þorfinnsdrápa (Arn Þorfdr), especially sts 3, 4 (cf. Lv 1), he spent several years in the Orkney Islands as poet and intimate of the jarls Rǫgnvaldr (d. c. 1045) and Þorfinnr (d. c. 1065). It is to this that his nickname refers. Arnórr was in Norway during the brief joint rule of Magnús Óláfsson and Haraldr Sigurðarson (c. 1045-6), and his performance of Hrynhenda (Arn Hryn) for Magnús and Blágagladrápa ‘The drápa of Dark Geese (= Ravens (?))’ for Haraldr is the subject of a spirited anecdote (Mork 1928-32, 116-18, Flat 1860-8, III, 321-3, Fms 6, 195-8; referred to below as ‘the Mork anecdote’). The later part of Arnórr’s career is obscure, but there is a second, memorial poem for Magnús, Magnússdrápa (Arn Magndr), and his composition of a Haraldsdrápa (Arn Hardr) in memory of Haraldr (d. 1066) suggests continuing links of some kind with Norway, though he also composed about Icelanders: a fragmentarily preserved poem for Hermundr Illugason (d. c. 1055; Arn HermIII) and a poem for Gellir Þorkelsson (d. 1073) of which Arn Frag 1III might be a remnant. For further outlines of Arnórr’s life and works, see Hollander 1945, 177-83; Turville-Petre 1968, 5-10, 1976, 93-4; Whaley 1998, 41-7.

The majority of Arnórr’s surviving oeuvre takes the form of memorial encomia (erfidrápur) for rulers of Norway or Orkney in the dróttkvætt metre: ten ll. only of Rǫgndr and longer fragments of Magnússdrápa (Magndr), Þorfdr and Hardr. His greatest contribution to the development of skaldic poetry, however, is his authorship of the first known encomium in the hrynhent metre: the Hrynhenda which, since it apostrophises Magnús góði, must predate the memorial Magndr. Arn Frag 1III is in the same metre but probably unconnected (see above). It is possible that Arn Frag 4III is in praise of Knútr inn ríki and the non-royal dedicatees of Herm and Frag 1 have been mentioned above. Arnórr also appears in one recension of Skáldatal (SnE 1848-87, III, 262) as a poet of Óláfr kyrri ‘the Quiet’ Haraldsson (d. 1093), and the pres. tense praise of Arn Frag 3III could have been addressed to him, or alternatively to Haraldr in Blágagladrápa. Only one st., Arn Lv 1, seems clearly to be a lv.; it was spoken during a civil conflict in the Orkneys. Herm and the eight other Fragments are printed in SkP III since they are preserved in SnE and LaufE and cannot be certainly assigned to any of the poems in the present volume.

The principal eds consulted in the course of editing Arnórr’s poetry for SkP are listed for each st., and are of two main types: eds of the skaldic corpus (Finnur Jónsson’s in Skj AI, 332-54, BI, 305-27, BI, and E. A. Kock’s in Skald I, 155-65, supported by numerous NN) and eds of the various prose works in which the poetry is preserved. Extracts are also included in anthologies, articles and other works including (with ten or more sts): Munch and Unger 1847, 119-20; CPB II, 184-98; Wisén 1886-9, I, 44-6, 141-2, 199-200 (Hryn only); Kock and Meissner 1931, I, 48-53; Hollander 1945,177-88 (annotated translations only, mainly Hryn); and (with five sts): Turville-Petre 1976, 93-7. Other works containing comment on the poetry are cited as appropriate in the Notes.

Haraldsdrápa (‘Drápa about Haraldr’) — Arn HardrII

Diana Whaley 2009, ‘ Arnórr jarlaskáld Þórðarson, Haraldsdrápa’ 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. 260-80. <> (accessed 23 May 2022)

stanzas:  1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11   12   13   14   15   16   17 

Skj: Arnórr Þórðarson jarlaskáld: 6. Erfidrápa om kong Harald hårdråde, o. 1067 (AI, 349-53, BI, 322-6); stanzas (if different): 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19

SkP info: II, 265-7

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

5 — Arn Hardr 5II

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Diana Whaley (ed.) 2009, ‘Arnórr jarlaskáld Þórðarson, Haraldsdrápa 5’ 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. 265-7.

Gengr í ætt, þats yngvi
Upplendinga brenndi
(þjóð galt ræsis reiði,)
rǫnn (þess’s fremstr vas manna).
Vildut ǫflgar aldir,
áðr vas stýrt til váða,
— grams dolgum fekksk galgi —
gagnprýðanda hlýða.

Gengr í ætt, þats yngvi brenndi rǫnn Upplendinga; þjóð galt reiði ræsis, þess’s vas fremstr manna. Ǫflgar aldir vildut hlýða gagnprýðanda, áðr vas stýrt til váða; galgi fekksk dolgum grams.

It runs in the family that the prince burned the dwellings of the Upplendingar; the people paid for the wrath of the ruler who was foremost of men. Mighty men were not willing to heed the glorious victor, before their course turned to ruin; the gallows were the lot of the foes of the fierce lord.

Mss: (357v), 325XI 2 f(2rb) (Hkr); Holm2(38v), 325V(40rb), 972ˣ(273va), J2ˣ(176v-177r), 325VI(26vb), 75a(26vb), 321ˣ(140), 73aˣ(104v), 68(37r), 61(102vb), Holm4(31va), 325VII(21v), 75b(3v), Flat(109va), Bb(168va), Tóm(126r) (ÓH)

Readings: [1] í ætt: rétt 325XI 2 f, Flat, Bb, at 61, rétt(?) 75b, í átt Tóm;    þats (‘þar er’): þar er Holm2, 325V, 75a, Flat;    yngvi: yngri 325VI    [3] ræsis: so all others, ‘r[...]sis’ Kˣ    [4] rǫnn: rann 325XI 2 f, Holm2, 325V, 972ˣ, J2ˣ, 75a, 321ˣ, 73aˣ, 61, Holm4, 325VII, 75b, Flat, Bb, Tóm;    þess: sá 325XI 2 f, Holm2, 325V, 972ˣ, J2ˣ, 325VI, 75a, 321ˣ, 73aˣ, 61, Holm4, 325VII, 75b, Flat, Bb;    fremstr: fremst 73aˣ, fyrstr Bb;    vas (‘var’): so Holm2, 325V, 972ˣ, J2ˣ, 75a, 321ˣ, 73aˣ, 68, Holm4, 325VII, 75b, Flat, Bb, Tóm, er Kˣ, 325XI 2 f, 325VI, 61    [5] Vildut: vildu 75a, 73aˣ, Flat;    ǫflgar: ǫlfgar 325VI, ǫflgrar 68, ǫflgra 61, ‘ofgar’ Flat;    aldir: aldar Holm2, 68, aldri 73aˣ, alda 61    [6] stýrt: stefnt Tóm    [7] fekksk galgi: fekk galga Tóm    [8] gagn‑: gagl‑ 75a, 73aˣ;    ‑prýðanda: ‘‑pryðinda’ Holm2, ‑prýðan 325V, ‑prýðandi Flat

Editions: Skj: Arnórr Þórðarson jarlaskáld, 6. Erfidrápa om kong Harald hårdråde 7: AI, 350, BI, 323, Skald I, 163; Hkr 1893-1901, II, 265, ÍF 27, 208-9, Hkr 1991, 401 (ÓH ch. 121); Flat 1860-8, II, 236, ÓH 1941, I, 316 (ch. 109); Whaley 1998, 275-8.

Context: The st. is quoted in a context totally unrelated to Haraldr Sigurðarson: an account of how Óláfr Haraldsson subdued and Christianised the farmers of Valdres. Their land is burned and plundered, and hostages are taken. Some mss, including , specify that Arnórr mentions Óláfr’s burning of Opplandene (Upplǫnd) while composing about his brother Haraldr, but the unspecific introduction in several others would not negate the impression that the st. is about Óláfr.

Notes: [All]: This campaign is also documented in st. 6 and in ÞjóðA Sex 19-22. — [1] gengr í ætt ‘it runs in the family’: The two main interpretations of the idiom, which is not precisely paralleled in ON, and of the st., were examined by Konráð Gíslason (1879b, especially 158-9), and much of the following discussion is indebted to his. (a) That gengr í ætt means ‘it runs in the family’ is suggested by the adj. ættgengr ‘characteristic of the family’ and by ModIcel. ganga í ætt ‘run in the family’. If this interpretation is correct, the subject to gengr í ætt is the cl. þats yngvi brenndi rǫnn Upplendinga ‘that the prince burned the dwellings of the Upplendingar’ and the overall sense, ‘the prince [Haraldr] takes after his half-brother Óláfr in that he burned the dwellings of the Upplendingar’. The Context above shows that at least some compilers or scribes understood the st. thus, and this is the solution favoured by Konráð Gíslason. (b) Ganga can have the figurative sense ‘it is current’ (of a report or story), as in geingr þersi saga ... mest af Suerri konungi ‘this story is much told about King Sverrir’ (Flat 1860-8, II, 533), and í ætt can mean ‘down the generations, from generation to generation’ as in SnSt Ht 89/4III þat spyrr framm í tt ‘that will be heard for generations’. Lines 1-2 could hence be rendered, ‘It is related from generation to generation, how the prince burned the dwellings of the Upplendingar’. But this would fail to explain how the st. came to be associated with Óláfr helgi, for whom Arnórr is unlikely to have composed. — [2] Upplendinga ‘Upplendingar’: These are the people of Opplandene (Upplǫnd), the provinces that stretch inland to the north of Oslofjorden: Romerike, Ringerike, Hadeland and Hedmark (respectively Raumaríki, Hringaríki, Haðaland and Heiðmǫrk). The prose sources differ in their explanation of Haraldr’s raid on the region, claiming either that the people there had given allegiance and revenues to Hákon jarl Ívarsson, or that they had insisted on retaining privileges granted them by Óláfr Haraldsson for their service at the battle of Nesjar (c. 1015). The second explanation has been thought the more credible of the two (see Bull 1927, 40-4, and following him Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson, ÍF 27, xvii; also Schreiner 1928). In either case the men of Opplandene may have been expressing a more general resistance to royal domination over the region (see Andersen 1977, 151-2). — [4] þess’s ‘who’: The variant sás (mss ‘sa er’) ‘who’ would also give good sense, modifying yngvi ‘prince’, the subject of the main cl., and it has considerable support from the stemma. — [4] vas ‘was’: The pres. tense es (‘er’) in [e]s fremstr es manna ‘who is foremost of men’ (so , 325XI 2 f, 325VI, 61) can scarcely have been applied to a deceased hero and must be an error, perhaps influenced by the preceding rel. particle er or by gengr in l. 1. — [8] gagnprýðanda ‘the glorious victor’: Lit. ‘victory-glorifying (one)’, i.e. Haraldr.

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