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Runic Dictionary

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Gísl Illugason (Gísl)

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

1. Erfikvæði about Magnús berfœttr (Magnkv) - 20

Gísl belonged to the Icel. family of the Gilsbekkingar, who were said to be descendants of the C9th poet Bragi inn gamli ‘the Old’ Boddason (BragiIII). Gísl was the great-grandson of the skald Tindr Hallkelsson (TindrI), the uncle of poet Gunnlaugr ormstunga ‘Serpent-tongue’ Illugason (GunnlIV). See ÍF 3, 331, Genealogies II a-b in ÍF 3 and SnE 1848-97, III, 625-6. Details about Gísl’s life are given in Gísls þáttr Illugasonar (GíslIll) in H-Hr (Fms 7, 29-40; ÍF 3, 329-42) and in Jóns saga helga (JBp; JBp 2003, 10, 63-72). Gísl was born in 1079, and when he was six years old, his father was killed by a certain Gjafvaldr, a slaying Gísl later avenged. King Magnús berfœttr ‘Barelegs’ Óláfsson sentenced Gísl to death for the killing of Gjafvaldr, who was one of his retainers, but Gísl escaped execution (see Gísl Lv below). He then travelled with Magnús to Ireland in charge of hostages and became Magnús’s court poet (Skáldatal, SnE 1848-87, III, 254, 262, 276). He also seems to have participated in Magnús’s expedition to the west in 1098 and in his campaign in Sweden (c. 1100-2; see Magnkv 11 and 19). Gísl later lived in Iceland until old age and had one son, Einarr (JBp 2003, 72). In addition to the memorial poem below composed about Magnús berfœttr, Gísl is said to have composed another encomium to Magnús on the occasion described in the lv. below, but no sts from that poem survive (see SnE 1848-87, III, 626-7; ÍF 3, 340-1).

Erfikvæði about Magnús berfœttr — Gísl MagnkvII

Kari Ellen Gade 2009, ‘ Gísl Illugason, Erfikvæði about Magnús berfœttr’ 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. 416-30. <> (accessed 19 January 2022)

stanzas:  1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11   12   13   14   15   16   17   18   19   20 

Skj: Gísl Illugason: 1. Erfikvæði um Magnús berfœtt, o. 1104 (AI, 440-4, BI, 409-13)

SkP info: II, 417

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

1 — Gísl Magnkv 1II

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2009, ‘Gísl Illugason, Erfikvæði about Magnús berfœttr 1’ 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. 417.

Ungr framði sik,        þars alendr vildu
lofsælan gram        landi ræna
Imðar faxa,        en jǫfurr sótti
Báleygs viðu        með blôum hjǫrvi.

Ungr framði sik, þars {alendr {faxa Imðar}} vildu ræna lofsælan gram landi, en jǫfurr sótti {viðu Báleygs} með blôum hjǫrvi.

The young one excelled where {the nourishers {of Imð’s <troll-woman’s> steed}} [WOLF > WARRIORS] wished to rob the praise-blessed lord of his land, and the prince attacked {Báleygr’s <= Óðinn’s> trees} [WARRIORS] with the dark sword.

Mss: Mork(21v) (Mork); H(81v-82r), Hr(57va) (H-Hr); F(56vb)

Readings: [1] framði: reyndi F;    sik: hann sik all    [2] þars (‘þar er’): þá er H, Hr    [4] landi: lífi F    [5] faxa: fáka F    [6] jǫfurr: ofra Hr    [8] hjǫrvi: so all others, ‘iofri’ corrected in the same hand in the left margin to ‘hiorvi’ Mork

Editions: Skj: Gísl Illugason, 1. Erfikvæði um Magnús berfœtt 1: AI, 440, BI, 409, Skald I, 202; Mork 1867, 132, Mork 1928-32, 299, Andersson and Gade 2000, 287, 484 (Mberf); Fms 7, 6 (Mberf ch. 5); F 1871, 262 (Mberf).

Context: Stanzas 1-3 are cited as a block, documenting how Magnús set out from Oslo in 1094 and travelled north to capture the leaders of the rebellion against him, Steigar-Þórir Þórðarson and Egill Áskelsson (or Ásláksson).

Notes: [1] framði ‘excelled’: Reyndi (sik) ‘tested himself’ (so F) is an equally good reading. Ungr framði sik ‘the young one excelled’ echoes Mark Eirdr 18/3, 4, which was composed approximately at the same time as Magnkv. — [4] ræna landi ‘to rob of his land’: Ræna lífi ‘rob of his life’ (so F) is also a possible reading. — [5] faxa Imðar ‘of Imð’s <troll-woman’s> steed [WOLF]’: Fáka Imðar ‘of Imð’s steeds’ (so F) is metrically and contextually possible. The name of the troll-woman is rendered variously as Imð or Imðr (see LP: Imð, Imðr). — [8] með blôum hjǫrvi ‘with the dark sword’: For the meaning of the adj. blár lit. ‘blue’, see Wolf 2006.

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