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Runic Dictionary

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Arnórr jarlaskáld Þórðarson (Arn)

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

3. Magnússdrápa (Magndr) - 19

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.

Magnússdrápa (‘Drápa about Magnús’) — Arn MagndrII

Diana Whaley 2009, ‘ Arnórr jarlaskáld Þórðarson, Magnússdrápa’ 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. 206-29. <> (accessed 23 January 2022)

stanzas:  1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11   12   13   14   15   16   17   18   19 

Skj: Arnórr Þórðarson jarlaskáld: 3. Magnúsdrápa (AI, 338-43, BI, 311-15); stanzas (if different): 13 | 14

SkP info: II, 209-10

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

2 — Arn Magndr 2II

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Diana Whaley (ed.) 2009, ‘Arnórr jarlaskáld Þórðarson, Magnússdrápa 2’ 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. 209-10.

Þing bauð út inn ungi
eggrjóðandi þjóðum;
fim bar hirð til hǫmlu
hervæðr ara bræðis.
Salt skar húfi héltum
hraustr þjóðkonungr austan;
bôru brimlogs rýri
brún veðr at Sigtúnum.

{Inn ungi eggrjóðandi} bauð þjóðum út þing; fim hirð {bræðis ara} bar {hervæðr} til hǫmlu. Hraustr þjóðkonungr skar salt héltum húfi austan; brún veðr bôru {rýri {brimlogs}} at Sigtúnum.

{The young blade-reddener} [WARRIOR] summoned men to the assembly; lively, the troop {of the feeder of the eagle} [WARRIOR] went in {war-garb} [ARMOUR] to the rowing positions. The valiant mighty king clove the salt with rime-spread hull from the east; sharp gales bore {the diminisher {of surf-fire}} [GOLD > GENEROUS MAN] towards Sigtuna (Sigtúnir).

Mss: (494r), 39(12ra), F(37ra), E(3r), J2ˣ(239r) (Hkr); Holm2(73r), 972ˣ(578va), 325VI(41ra), 73aˣ(213r), Holm4(68va), 325VII(41r), 325V(87vb-88ra), 61(129va), Bb(205ra), Tóm(160r) (ÓH); Hr(3vb) (H-Hr); Flat(189va) (Flat); R(38r) (ll. 5-8), Tˣ(40r) (ll. 5-8), A(13r) (ll. 5-8), C(7v) (ll. 5-6) (SnE)

Readings: [1] Þing: Þings 61    [2] ‑rjóðandi: ‑ríðandi 39;    þjóðum: so 39, F, E, J2ˣ, Holm2, 972ˣ, 325VI, 73aˣ, Holm4, 325VII, 325V, 61, Bb, Hr, Flat, þjóðu Kˣ, þjóðar Tóm    [3] fim: fimm F, fimt 61, Tóm;    hirð: herr 39, hríð 61, Tóm;    til hǫmlu: í hǫmlu 39, í hǫmlur F, 325VI, Bb, Hr, Flat, at hǫmlu E, J2ˣ    [4] ‑væðr: ‑veðr 39, J2ˣ, 325VI, Bb, ‑væðs Holm4, ‑næðr 325V, ræðr Tóm, ‑veðrs Flat;    ara: ‘aara’ 61;    bræðis: ‘bræðir’ Hr, ‘bredía’ Flat    [5] húfi: húmi 61;    héltum: so E, J2ˣ, 73aˣ, R, helltum Kˣ, 39, F, Holm2, 325VI, Holm4, 325VII, 61, Bb, Tóm, Flat, Tˣ, A, C, ‘heilltvm’ 325V, ‘huelltum’ Hr    [6] austan: flaustum 325VI    [7] brim‑: bein‑ or beim‑ Flat;    ‑logs: ‑log 39, ‑laugs 325V, logns Bb;    rýri: hlýri Bb    [8] brún: so 39, F, E, J2ˣ, Holm2, 972ˣ, 325VI, 73aˣ, Holm4, 325VII, 325V, 61, Bb, Flat, R, Tˣ, A, brim Kˣ, Tóm;    at: af Flat

Editions: Skj: Arnórr Þórðarson jarlaskáld, 3. Magnúsdrápa 2: AI, 338-9, BI, 312, Skald I, 158, NN §3082; Hkr 1893-1901, III, 4, ÍF 28, 4, Hkr 1991, 557-8 (Mgóð ch. 1), F 1871, 168, E 1916, 7; ÓH 1941, I, 614 (ch. 252); Fms 6, 22 (Mgóð ch. 10), Fms 12, 126; Flat 1860-8, III, 263, Andersson and Gade 2000, 99, 466 (MH); SnE 1848-87, I, 498-9, II, 450, 599, SnE 1931, 175, SnE 1998, I, 94; Whaley 1998, 184-7.

Context: In the kings’ sagas (Hkr, ÓH, H-Hr and Flat), Magnús continues his journey in the spring to Sweden. In SnE, Snorri includes the second helmingr in a long sequence of skaldic quotations illustrating heiti for ‘sea’, in this case salt.

Notes: [1, 2] bauð þjóðum út þing ‘summoned men to the assembly’: Þjóðum, the reading of most mss though not of , gives an unusual but comprehensible construction, which seems to be blended from two common patterns: (i) bauð út ... þjóðum, corresponding to bjóða út liði/leiðangri/sveitum ‘call up troops’, and (ii) bauð þing ‘ordered an assembly’ corresponding to bjóða e-t ‘order, command sth.’, as in Arn Hardr 10/1 uppgǫngu bauð yngvi ‘the prince ordered the advance ashore’. Þing ‘assembly’ usually refers to a legal assembly, but the slightly transferred sense of a military muster is suggested by the poetic context here (cf. Notes to Arn Hryn 5/7 and st. 9/2). — [3] til hǫmlu ‘to the rowing positions’: The gen. sg. hǫmlu stands for pl. here. For the sense of hamla, see Note to Arn Hryn 9/5. — [4] bræðis ara ‘of the feeder of the eagle [WARRIOR]’: Ara is taken here as gen. sg., but gen. pl. is also possible, hence ‘feeder of eagles’. — [5] héltum ‘rime-spread’: The majority of ms. readings would point to helltum (m. dat. sg. p. p. from hella) ‘poured out’; but there is sufficient support for the p. p. of héla ‘cover with rime or hoar-frost’, and cf. hélug bǫrð ‘rime-spread prows’ in Arn Hryn 11/4; cf. also EGils Selv 18/3IV. — [8] brún veðr ‘sharp gales’: The vowel of the majority variant brún is established by the full rhyme with ‑tún-. (a) Brúnn has been taken by some scholars as an adj. meaning ‘sharp, prominent, direct’, derived from brún f. ‘sharp edge’ and interchangeable with the i-mutated adj. brýnn (see Fms 12, 126; Konráð Gíslason 1866, 282-3; Finnur Jónsson in Skj B and LP); cf. other pairs with and without i-mutation such as the f. nouns bón/bœn ‘prayer’, sjón/sýn ‘sight’ or cpd adjectives in ‑lægr beside the simplex lágr ‘low’. Brúnn in Sigv ErfÓl 14/8I, which also rhymes with ‑tún-, qualifies hjǫrr ‘sword’, so that it could well mean ‘sharp’ (so ÍF 27, 381 n.), and in two C13th sts, SnSt Ht 50/4III and Sturl Hrafn 20/2, it describes a weapon and again may mean ‘sharp’ (cited by Dal, 1938, 221). The postulated phrase brún veðr ‘sharp gales’ in the present st. is also semantically plausible. Brýnn is applied to a wind (byrr) in HSt Rst 15/3, 4I, and in FGT 1972a, 222. A final point in favour of the present interpretation is that Þjóðólfr Arnórsson, describing the same voyage, speaks of a ‘raging gale’ (ótt veðr, ÞjóðA Magnfl 2/6). (b) Brúnn ‘dark-brown, black’ is used in skaldic poetry to describe blood or, in SnSt Ht 3/4III, a ship. There is no other case in recorded ON where the epithet qualifies ‘wind’ or ‘weather’, although it might be a possible description if foam or clouds were darkening the air. (c) Brimveðr ‘surf-gales’ (so ) would give good sense, but it fails to provide a rhyme with -tún-, and is very much a minority reading. It is presumably a dittography of brim(logs) in l. 7.

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