Einarr Skúlason (ESk)
12th century; volume 2; ed. Kari Ellen Gade;
1. Sigurðardrápa I (Sigdr I) - 5
2. Haraldsdrápa I (Hardr I) - 2
3. Haraldsdrápa II (Hardr II) - 5
4. Haraldssonakvæði (?) (Harsonkv) - 2
5. Sigurðardrápa II (Sigdr II) - 1
7. Runhenda (Run) - 10
8. Eysteinsdrápa (Eystdr) - 2
9. Ingadrápa (Ingdr) - 4
10. Elfarvísur (Elfv) - 2
11. Lausavísur (Lv) - 6
III. 1. Øxarflokkr (Øxfl) - 10
III. 2. Fragments (Frag) - 18
III. 3. Lausavísur (Lv) - 9
VII. Geisli (Geisl) - 71
We know very little about the life of Einarr Skúlason (ESk). He is called prestr ‘priest’ and is mentioned in a catalogue (c. 1220) of priests of noble birth who were alive in western Iceland in 1143 (Stu 1878, II, 502). It is likely that he came from Borg, belonged to the Mýrar family and was a direct descendant of Þorsteinn Egilsson and a brother of Snorri Sturluson’s maternal grandfather (LH 1894-1901, II, 62-3; ÍF 3, 51 n. 3). He was probably born c. 1090. In 1153, he recited the poem Geisli ‘Light-beam’ (ESk GeislVII) in Kristkirken in Trondheim. He was marshal (stallari) at King Eysteinn Magnússon’s court, and he composed poetry in praise of the Norw. kings Sigurðr jórsalafari ‘Jerusalem-farer’ and Eysteinn Magnússon, Haraldr gilli(-kristr) ‘Servant (of Christ)’, Magnús inn blindi ‘the Blind’ Sigurðarson, Haraldr gilli’s sons, Ingi, Sigurðr munnr ‘Mouth’, and Eysteinn, and about the Norw. chieftain Grégóríus Dagsson (see SnE 1848-87, III, 254-5, 263-4, 269, 276-7, 286). According to Skáldatal, he also honoured the Norw. magnate Eindriði ungi ‘the Young’ Jónsson as well as Sørkvir Kolsson and Jón jarl Sørkvisson of Sweden and King Sveinn Eiríksson of Denmark (SnE 1848-87, III, 252, 258, 260, 268-9, 272, 283, 286). About the latter he recited a poem for which he received no reward (see ESk Lv 3; ÍF 35, 275). The extant portion of his poetic oeuvre consists of the following poems (excluding lvv.): Sigurðardrápa I (Sigdr I, five extant sts about Sigurðr jórsalafari); Haraldsdrápa I (Hardr I, two extant sts about Haraldr gilli); Haraldsdrápa II (Hardr II, five extant sts about Haraldr gilli); Haraldssonakvæði (Harsonkv, two extant sts about the sons of Haraldr gilli); Sigurðardrápa II (Sigdr II, one extant st. about Sigurðr munnr Haraldsson); Runhenda (Run, ten extant sts about Eysteinn Haraldsson); Eysteinsdrápa (Eystdr, two extant sts about Eysteinn Haraldsson); Ingadrápa (Ingdr, four extant sts about Ingi Haraldsson); Elfarvísur (Elfv, two extant sts about Grégóríus Dagsson); Geisli (GeislVII, seventy-one sts about S. Óláfr); Øxarflokkr (ØxflIII, ten extant sts about the gift of an axe).
It must be emphasised that, although the poetry included in the royal panegyrics below clearly belongs to poems of that genre, with two exceptions (Hardr II and Elfv), all the names of the poems are modern constructs (notably by Jón Sigurðsson and Finnur Jónsson). That also holds true for the assignment of sts to the individual poems. In some cases, sts were assigned to a particular poem for metrical reasons (so Run), in other cases because of the content or the named recipients of the praise. For the sake of convenience, the names of the poems and the sts assigned to them as found in Skj have been retained in the present edn. In addition to the royal encomia, a number of fragments and lvv. attributed to Einarr are preserved in SnE, TGT and LaufE (see ESk Frag 1-18III; ESk Lv 7-15III). These have been edited separately in SkP III. Six lvv. are transmitted in the kings’ sagas and edited below.
Geisli (‘Light beam’)
Martin Chase 2007, ‘ Einarr Skúlason, Geisli’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 5-65. <https://skaldic.org/m.php?p=text&i=1144> (accessed 7 December 2021)
Skj: Einarr Skúlason: 6. Geisli, 1153 (AI, 459-73, BI, 427-45)
SkP info: VII, 49-50
52 — ESk Geisl 52VII
Cite as: Martin Chase (ed.) 2007, ‘Einarr Skúlason, Geisli 52’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 49-50.
notes: Sts 52-6 cover another miracle attributed to Óláfr affecting the Varangians in the service of the Byzantine emperor. It is mentioned in numerous ON versions of the Óláfr legend (see Chase 2005, 42 and nn. 127-30 for references). The Varangians were losing a fight against a group of Petchenegs (a Turkic people who occupied a large area of the lower Danube, Ukraine, Moldavia and Wallachia) at a place called Pézínavellir in ON sources. (This is the only use of the name in skaldic verse; it was probably coined by the Varangians who fought in the battle. Vellir [m. pl.] means ‘plains’, and Pézína is an adaptation of Πετζινάκοι, the Greek name for the Petchenegs.) The army prayed to Óláfr for victory and vowed to build a church in his honour if they were victorious, which they were. The battle may be the same as the one described by the Byzantine chronicler John Kinnamos (c. 1180) as taking place between the Byzantine emperor John II Komnenos and the Petchenegs in the winter of 1121-2 near Beroe (Stara Zagora) in Bulgaria. — Sts 52 and 53 are written in a different hand from the main hand of Flat. — [5-8]:
Bb’s readings þar (l. 5) and laut (l. 6) have been adopted here in order to avoid the difficulty caused by Flat’s þars svát ... (l. 5), which requires understanding svát ... Grikir flœðu ... undan ‘so that the Greeks fled away’ (ll. 5, 6, 8), a very strained w.o., with þars introducing a further cl. þars þjóð fell þúsundum fyr hjǫrvi ‘where people fell by thousands before the sword’.
texts: ‹Flat 49›
editions: Skj Einarr Skúlason: 6. Geisli 52 (AI, 468-9; BI, 440); Skald I, 217, NN §1161B; Flat 1860-8, I, 5, Cederschiöld 1873, 8, Chase 2005, 102, 158.