Gísl Illugason (Gísl)
12th century; volume 2; ed. Kari Ellen Gade;
1. Erfikvæði about Magnús berfœttr (Magnkv) - 20
2. Lausavísa (Lv) - 1
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 —
Kari Ellen Gade 2009, ‘(Introduction to) 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.
Skj: Gísl Illugason: 1. Erfikvæði um Magnús berfœtt, o. 1104 (AI, 440-4, BI, 409-13)
SkP info: II, 421-2
8 — Gísl Magnkv 8II
Cite as: Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2009, ‘Gísl Illugason, Erfikvæði about Magnús berfœttr 8’ 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. 421-2.
|Gramr vann gǫrvan, en glatat þjófum,
kaupmǫnnum frið, þanns konungr bœtti,
|svát í elfi øxum hlýddi|
flaust fagrbúin í fjǫru skorða.
Gramr vann kaupmǫnnum gǫrvan frið, þanns konungr bœtti, en glatat þjófum, svát í elfi hlýddi skorða fagrbúin flaust øxum í fjǫru.
The ruler achieved complete peace for merchants, which the king had improved, and he destroyed thieves, so that in the river one could buttress the splendidly equipped ships with axes on the shore.
Mss: Mork(22r) (Mork); H(83r), Hr(58rb) (H-Hr)
Readings:  þanns: þann Hr  elfi: eyjum Hr  øxum hlýddi: elfi hlýddu Hr  í fjǫru: firum at H, Hr
Editions: Skj: Gísl Illugason, 1. Erfikvæði um Magnús berfœtt 8: AI, 441, BI, 411, Skald I, 202, NN §2269; Mork 1867, 136, Mork 1928-32, 306, Andersson and Gade 2000, 291, 484 (Mberf); Fms 7, 16 (Mberf ch. 8).
Context: As st. 7 above.
Notes: [All]: The st. is omitted in F. —  en glatat þjófum ‘and he destroyed thieves’: Lit. ‘and thieves destroyed’. Glatat is the n. acc. sg. of the p. p. of the weak verb glata ‘destroy’, construed with vann ‘achieved’ (l. 1: vann gǫrvan … (vann) glatat). —  þanns konungr bœtti ‘which the king had improved’: Skj B translates this cl. as som han gav dem ‘which he gave them’. However, the verb bœta (bœtti, 3rd pers. sg. pret. indic.) means ‘improve’ and not ‘give’ (see NN §2269). The sense of this half-st. is that Magnús had previously established a law for the merchants, which he now finalised. Alternatively, ‘the king’ could refer to Magnús’s cousin, Hákon Magnússon, who promulgated new and improved laws for the people of Trøndelag and Opplandene before he died in 1094 (see ÍF 29, 42 and n. 1, 302; ÍF 28, 211; Mork 1928-32, 297). —  í elfi ‘in the river’: Both Skj B and Skald treat this as a p. n. (Skj B: í Elfi translated as i Elven ‘in the River’). Usually Elfr designates the Götaälv in present-day Sweden (as in st. 17), and it is unclear how Magnús could enforce his legislation there at this point. Later he expanded his territory to include districts in Sweden (see st. 17). In the present edn elfr is taken as a common noun, perhaps referring to Nidelven (Nið), the river that flows through the city of Trondheim. —  í fjǫru ‘on the shore’: Strictly ‘on the part of the shore not covered by water at ebb tide’. —  skorða ‘buttress’: Refers to the practice of supporting beached ships with props or posts (see Falk 1912, 30-1; Jesch 2001a, 171). The sense is that it was so peaceful that axes could be used for things other than fighting.