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Einarr Skúlason (ESk)

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

1. Sigurðardrápa I (Sigdr I) - 5

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.

Sigurðardrápa I (‘Drápa about Sigurðr’) — ESk Sigdr III

Kari Ellen Gade 2009, ‘ Einarr Skúlason, Sigurðardrápa I’ 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. 538-42. <> (accessed 3 July 2022)

stanzas:  1   2   3   4   5 

Skj: Einarr Skúlason: 1. Sigurðardrápa (AI, 455-6, BI, 423-4)

SkP info: II, 541-2

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

5 — ESk Sigdr I 5II

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2009, ‘Einarr Skúlason, Sigurðardrápa I 5’ 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. 541-2.

Sætt frák Dœla dróttin
— drengr minnisk þess — vinna;
tóku hvasst í Hristar
hríð valslǫngur ríða.
Sterkr braut váligt virki
vals munnlituðr gunnar;
fǫgr ruðusk sverð, en sigri
snarr bragningr hlaut fagna.

Frák {dróttin Dœla} vinna Sætt; drengr minnisk þess; valslǫngur tóku ríða hvasst í {hríð Hristar}. {Sterkr munnlituðr {vals gunnar}} braut váligt virki; fǫgr sverð ruðusk, en snarr bragningr hlaut fagna sigri.

I heard that {the lord of the Dœlir} [NORWEGIAN KING = Sigurðr] captured Sidon; the man [I] commemorates that; catapults began to swing violently in {the storm of Hrist <valkyrie>} [BATTLE]. {The mighty mouth-colourer {of the falcon of battle}} [RAVEN/EAGLE > WARRIOR] destroyed the fearsome stronghold; fair swords were reddened, and the swift ruler could rejoice in victory.

Mss: (612v), 39(37vb), E(38v), J2ˣ(320v), 42ˣ(19v) (Hkr); H(97r), Hr(65vb) (H-Hr)

Readings: [1] Dœla: deili H, Hr;    dróttin: dróttni corrected from ‘dróttin’ E, dróttni J2ˣ, dróttar H, Hr    [3] tóku: jóku E, J2ˣ, 42ˣ;    hvasst: fast J2ˣ, 42ˣ    [4] hríð: ‘hriþa’ 42ˣ;    ‑slǫngur: ‑slǫngr E, J2ˣ    [5] Sterkr: styrkr H, starkr Hr    [6] ‑lituðr: so all others, ‑litaðr Kˣ;    gunnar: ‘merki gunnaz’ E    [7] en: í Hr    [8] snarr: so all others, snjallr Kˣ;    bragningr: bragning 39;    hlaut: lét 42ˣ

Editions: Skj: Einarr Skúlason, 1. Sigurðardrápa 5: AI, 456, BI, 424, Skald I, 209; ÍF 28, 251 (Msona ch. 11), E 1916, 135; Fms 7, 93 (Msona ch. 11).

Context: Sigurðr and Baldwin besieged Sidon (19 October-5 December 1110).

Notes: [All]: For this siege, see Riant 1865, 192-3; Koht 1924, 162-4; Setton 1969, I, 386-7. See also Hskv Útdr 11 and McDougall and McDougall 1998, 113 n. 319 (and the literature cited there). — [1] Sætt ‘Sidon’: Given as Sæt in the Hkr prose (ÍF 28, 250), and attested only here in poetry. Sidon is located in present-day Lebanon. — [4] valslǫngur ‘catapults’: Used by defenders and attackers during sieges of strongholds; probably not built in Scandinavia until the C12th (see Falk 1914, 193-4). — [8] snarr (m. nom. sg.) ‘swift’: The variant snjallr (m. nom. sg.) ‘brave’ also gives a plausible reading but must be an independent innovation.

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