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Data from Samnordisk runtextdatabas

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Einarr Skúlason (ESk)

12th century; volume 2; ed. Kari Ellen Gade;

7. Runhenda (Run) - 10

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.

Runhenda (‘’) — ESk RunII

Kari Ellen Gade 2009, ‘ Einarr Skúlason, Runhenda’ 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. 551-9. <> (accessed 29 June 2022)

stanzas:  1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10 

Skj: Einarr Skúlason: 7. Runhenda, o. 1155 (AI, 473-5, BI, 445-7)

SkP info: II, 552

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

2 — ESk Run 2II

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2009, ‘Einarr Skúlason, Runhenda 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, p. 552.

Víkverjum galt
— varð þannig hallt —
gǫrræði gramr
gjafmildr ok framr.
Flest folk varð hrætt,
áðr fengi sætt,
en gjǫldin jók,
sás gísla tók.

Gramr, gjafmildr ok framr, galt Víkverjum gǫrræði; þannig varð hallt. Flest folk varð hrætt, áðr fengi sætt, en, sás tók gísla, jók gjǫldin.

The ruler, generous and outstanding, repaid the Víkverjar for their unlawful ways; things accordingly went awry. Most people were afraid before they reached a settlement, but he who took hostages increased the payments.

Mss: Mork(35v) (Mork); Kˣ(658r-v), F(73va), E(56v), J2ˣ(355v), 42ˣ(46v) (Hkr); H(124r), Hr(81ra) (H-Hr)

Readings: [1] galt: ‘g[...]’ Hr    [2] varð: var Kˣ;    þannig: þannug Kˣ, E, J2ˣ, þannveg 42ˣ, Hr;    hallt: allt J2ˣ    [3] gǫrræði: ‘græddi’ 42ˣ    [4] gjaf‑: gjǫf‑ Kˣ, F, H;    ‑mildr: so all others, ‑mild Mork    [5] varð: var Kˣ, H, Hr    [7] en gjǫldin jók: en gísla tók Kˣ, F, Hr, en gíslar tók E, J2ˣ, 42ˣ, H    [8] s gísla tók (‘sa er gisla toc’): sás gjǫldin jók all others

Editions: Skj: Einarr Skúlason, 7. Runhenda 2: AI, 473, BI, 445-6, Skald I, 219, NN §3107; Mork 1867, 225, Mork 1928-32, 442-3, Andersson and Gade 2000, 390, 494 (Hsona); ÍF 28, 326 (Hsona ch. 19), F 1871, 338, E 1916, 198; Fms 7, 234 (Hsona ch. 19).

Context: Stanzas 2-3 document how Eysteinn put down a rebellion by the people of Viken, Norway.

Notes: [All]: It is not clear why the people of Viken rebelled against Eysteinn, and the surrounding prose is derived from the poetry. — [1] Víkverjum ‘the Víkverjar’: The people of Viken, the areas on both sides of Oslofjorden. — [7-8]: The reading of the other mss, en, sás jók gjǫldin, tók gísla ‘but he who increased the payments, took hostages’ is possible and has been adopted by most previous eds. The prose of Mork reflects the order of events described in the Mork version of the st. (i.e. Eysteinn took hostages and then exacted payments), whereas the prose of Hkr and H-Hr states that Eysteinn first exacted heavy payments and then took hostages. — [7] en ‘but’: Kock (NN §3107; Skald) emends to gǫrt ‘completely’ to achieve double alliteration. That emendation is not supported by the ms. witnesses, and it violates the w. o. in an independent cl. (the finite verb then occurs in syntactic position 3).

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