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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Hallar-Steinn (HSt)

12th century; volume 1; ed. Rolf Stavnem;

1. Rekstefja (Rst) - 35

Skj info: Hallar-Steinn, Islandsk skjald, 12. årh. (AI, 543-53, BI, 525-35).

Skj poems:
1. Rekstefja
2. a. Af et digt om en kvinde
2. b. Af et digt om Skáldhelgi(?)

Nothing is known about this skald (HSt) except what can be deduced from his nickname, which has been identified with the farm-name Höll, in Þverárhlíð, Mýrasýsla, western Iceland (Finnur Jónsson 1907, 185), and from the poetry attributed to him. His main extant work is the drápa Rekstefja (HSt Rst), whose ambitious praise of Óláfr Tryggvason might well point to Iceland at the end of the twelfth century or somewhat later (see Skj, and Introduction to the poem below). Hallar-Steinn has been identified (e.g. by Wisén 1886-9, I, 143) with the eleventh-century poet Steinn Herdísarson (SteinnII), but this is implausible. HSt Frag 1, of uncertain origin but probably attributable to this poet, may also commemorate Óláfr Tryggvason, while HSt Frag 2-5III represent a love-lorn poet. These fragments are preserved only in treatises on poetics and grammar, and are therefore edited in SkP III, as are two further fragments, HSt Frag 6-7III.

Rekstefja (‘Split-refrain’) — HSt RstI

Rolf Stavnem 2012, ‘ Hallar-Steinn, Rekstefja’ in Diana Whaley (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 1: From Mythical Times to c. 1035. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 1. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 893. <> (accessed 29 November 2021)

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Skj: Hallar-Steinn: 1. Rekstefja (AI, 543-52, BI, 525-34); stanzas (if different): 3 | 4 | 5

SkP info: I, 908

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

10 — HSt Rst 10I

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Rolf Stavnem (ed.) 2012, ‘Hallar-Steinn, Rekstefja 10’ in Diana Whaley (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 1: From Mythical Times to c. 1035. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 1. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 908.

Þjóðlǫnd þremja skyndir
þrenn kristnaði ok tvenni;
hildings hǫppum valda
hans ríki frák slíkum.
Mærings mǫnnum skýrisk
merki fremðarverka
eggmóts eigi lítil.
Óláfr und veg sólar.


{The hastener of swords} [WARRIOR] Christianized three and two countries; I have heard that it was his power that caused such ruler’s luck. Let the not small signs of the remarkable achievements {of the edge-meeting} [BATTLE] be declared to the men of the glorious one. Óláfr under {the path of the sun} … [SKY]

notes: Óláfr’s Christianization of the Nordic lands is also the subject of Anon Óldr 11-14, and see Note to Anon Óldr 12 [All]. — [1-2]: The present edn follows Konráð Gíslason (1895-7, also followed in Skj B and Skald), in emending tvenna to tvenni ‘two’, n. acc. pl. qualifying þjóðlǫnd ‘countries, nation’s lands’. On tvenni as a variant on tvenn, the n. acc. pl. form of tvennir ‘two’, see ANG §445 Anm. 4. The five lands Christianized by Óláfr are specified in the following stanza. — [5-7]: This appears to be a self-reflexive comment on the poet’s activity of recounting Óláfr’s achievements, akin to those in st. 23/5-7 or in st. 24/1-3 where the audience are referred to by a kenning for ‘warriors’. More than one construal is possible, however, and the identity of mǫnnum ‘men, people’ is uncertain. (a) This edn follows Kock (NN §1173) in taking mǫnnum ‘men, people’ with mærings ‘of the glorious one, hero’, and eggmóts ‘of the edge-meeting [BATTLE]’ with fremðarverka ‘remarkable achievements’. Eggmóts could have a quasi-adverbial function, ‘in battle’. This gives good sense and straightforward word order. The reference of mǫnnum mærings ‘men/people of the glorious one’ is unclear, though it could be the devotees of Óláfr Tryggvason or conceivably of God, cf. Gamlkan Has 37/6VII firar dróttins ‘men of the Lord [CHRISTIAN PEOPLE]’. (b) This problem is avoided if mǫnnum ‘to men, people’ stands alone and mærings ‘of the glorious one, hero’ is added to the phrase merki fremðarverka mærings eggmóts, hence ‘signs of the hero’s remarkable achievements in battle’; but the phrase is unwieldy and mǫnnum mærings would seem to form a more natural unit. (c) Konráð Gíslason (1895-7) reads mǫnnum eggmóts ‘men of the edge-meeting [BATTLE > WARRIORS]’, but since this does not accord with normal kenning conventions, he suggests that mǫnnum is a corruption of meiðum ‘trees’, which would yield a standard man- or warrior-kenning; this is followed in Skj B and consequentially mærings is combined with fremðar verka, but the emendation is unnecessary. — [8]: For this line of the refrain, see Note to st. 9/8.

editions: Skj Hallar-Steinn: 1. Rekstefja 10 (AI, 545-6; BI, 527); Skald I, 256, NN §§1172-4, 2316C, 2543B; SHI 3, 250-1, CPB II, 297, Wisén 1886-9, I, 47, Finnur Jónsson 1893b, 164, Konráð Gíslason 1895-7, I, 218-21.


Holm perg 1 fol (Bb) 111vb, 20 - 111vb, 23  transcr.  image  image  
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