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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

1. 1. Þjóðólfr ór Hvini, 1. Ynglingatal, 27 [Vol. 1, 58]

[All]: In its praise of a ruler, the stanza differs decidedly from the other stanzas, and it clearly indicates that the poem was composed for Rǫgnvaldr. According to Yng (ÍF 26, 83, and Context above) Rǫgnvaldr was a son of Óláfr Geirstaðaálfr and hence, like Haraldr hárfagri, a grandson of Guðrøðr. This would find some support in the fact that Haraldr named one of his sons Rǫgnvaldr, possibly following the custom of naming a child after a recently deceased kinsman (Nerman 1914; Marold 1987, 83 n. 3). No trace of Rǫgnvaldr remains in other historical traditions, however, and this has led to diverse speculations. (a) Bugge (1894, 134-5) argues that Rǫgnvaldr was unrelated to Haraldr hárfagri. Believing that Yt was composed in Northumbria or in Ireland, he attempts to identify several kings who fell in those places as Rǫgnvaldr. (b) Wadstein (1895a, 80-2) attempts to show that the last stanza was composed for Haraldr hárfagri (already suggested by Guðbrandur Vigfússon in CPB I, 243). He takes rǫgnvaldr to be a noun meaning ‘the powerful ruler’ and views heiðumhárr as equivalent to hárfagri (‘Fair-hair’), which Bugge (1894, 163) convincingly refutes. (c) According to Bergsveinn Birgisson (2008, 410), Rǫgnvaldr may have been Reginfridus, son of the Danish king Godefridus.


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