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Bersi Skáld-Torfuson (Bersi)

11th century; volume 1; ed. Diana Whaley;

1. Flokkr about Óláfr helgi (Ólfl) - 3

Bersi Skáld-Torfuson (or simply Torfuson; Bersi) is named from his mother, an otherwise unknown female skald Torfa, from Miðfjörður, Húnavatnsþing, northern Iceland. He is introduced as skáld gótt ‘a fine poet’ in Grettis saga (ÍF 7, 42); his birth would be placed c. 985-90 (LH I, 564). Bersi travelled abroad with Grettir Ásmundarson, gained the favour of Sveinn jarl Hákonarson (ÍF 7, 86) and seemingly fought with Sveinn at the battle of Nesjar (1016; see ‘Ruler biographies’ in Introduction to this volume for rulers and battles of the period). He is listed in Skáldatal (SnE 1848-87, III, 257, 258, 281, 282) as a skald to Sveinn and to Knútr inn ríki (Cnut the Great), but no court poetry for them by him survives (though see Bersi Ólfl 2). Some time after Nesjar he was taken captive by Óláfr Haraldsson, composed his flokkr (below) and found favour with the king. He is then named in the excerpts (articuli) from Styrmir Kárason’s Lífssaga among Óláfr’s Icelandic hirðmenn ‘retainers’ (see his Lv below). He went on a pilgrimage to Rome with Sigvatr Þórðarson (Sigv) and, learning of the king’s death (1030) as he left Rome, returned to S. Peter’s church in extreme anguish, died and was buried there (ÓH 1941, II, 830, in an interpolation).

Flokkr about Óláfr helgi — Bersi ÓlflI

Diana Whaley 2012, ‘(Introduction to) Bersi Skáld-Torfuson, Flokkr about Óláfr helgi’ in Diana Whaley (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 1: From Mythical Times to c. 1035. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 1. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 790.

stanzas:  1   2   3 

Skj: Bersi Skáldtorfuson: 1. En flok om kong Olaf, o. 1020 (AI, 275-6, BI, 255)

SkP info: I, 791

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

1 — Bersi Ólfl 1I

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Note: The following transcriptions have been entered to aid the editing process. These may not have been fully reviewed and checked and may therefore not be reliable. You may wish to consult the manuscript images. Any corrections can be notified to the database editor.

 Kx Hroðrs baðtu heilan liða | hagkeɴanda þeɴa | eɴ snaʀeki slíco | svarað uɴom ver guɴar | orð seldom þꜹ ellda | uthꜹðrs boða trꜹðir | knaʀar haptz sem ec keypta | kynstors at v brynio.   [DW]  edit 
 Holm2 Hroðr batt heilan liða hagkennandi þenna . en | snarøki slicu svarat unnv ver gunnar orð selldvm ver ellda uthauðrs boða travðir knaʀar | hafts sem ec keypta kynstors at við brynio.   [VEÞ]  edit 
 321x hrodrs baðtu heilann liða. hagkennanda þenna. enn | snarlæti sliko. svarat vnnvm ver gunnar audselldum ver ellda. yt hauds | boda trauðir Knaʀar haptz sem ec keypta. kynstoʀs at viðbry | niu.   [VEÞ]  edit 
 61 Hroðrs | bað heilan liða . hagkenanda þenna . en snar rækinn sliku svarar unnv | ver gvɴar . orð selldum þau ellda . vt hauðrs boða trauþir . knaʀar haptz | sem keyptag kynstor ꜳ vít bryniv.   [VEÞ]  edit 

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Runic data from Samnordisk runtextdatabas, Uppsala universitet, unless otherwise stated