Bragi inn gamli Boddason (Bragi)
9th century; volume 3; ed. Margaret Clunies Ross;
1. Ragnarsdrápa (Rdr) - 12
2. Þórr’s fishing (Þórr) - 6
3. Fragments (Frag) - 6
4. An exchange of verses between Bragi and a troll-woman (Troll) - 1
IV. Lausavísur (Lv) - 2
It is not possible to be precise about either the dates of Bragi Boddason’s (Bragi) floruit or about the details of his life. Some of the latter are almost certainly legendary (e.g. the narratives associated with Bragi Lv 1abIV, VIII and Bragi Troll), while his sobriquet inn gamli ‘the Old’ places him almost in prehistory, seen from an Icelandic viewpoint. Landnámabók (Ldn, ÍF 1, 82) mentions him as being associated by marriage with the family of Arinbjǫrn hersir from Firðir (Fjordane) in Western Norway, and Egils saga (Eg, ÍF 2, 182) places him in the same context. Ldn tells that Bragi’s wife was Lopthœna, daughter of another poet, Erpr lútandi ‘the Stooping’. Bragi seems to have been active as a poet in Norway one or two generations before the settlement of Iceland, hence c. 850-70. In Skáldatal’s list of poets (SnE 1848-87, III, 251, 259, 270), Bragi is the first named skald whose works have survived, at least in part. There he is associated with three patrons: Bjǫrn at Haugi, probably a Norwegian ruler, though some sources consider him Swedish (see Jón Jóhannesson 1940), Eysteinn beli and Ragnarr loðbrók ‘Shaggy-breeches’, there said to be a Danish king who himself composed poetry. Snorri Sturluson (SnE 1998, I, 72-3) associates Bragi’s poem Ragnarsdrápa (Rdr) with Ragnarr loðbrók, and he may be one and the same as the Ragnarr mentioned in Rdr’s refrain and ‘the son of Sigurðr’ referred to in Rdr 2/4. If Bragi’s patron Ragnarr is to be identified with the Viking leader who led an attack on Paris in 845, supposedly died in a snake-pit at the hands of King Ælla of Northumbria, and was the father of the Ingware and Ubba that the F version of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle claims led raids on England in the 860s and 70s (de Vries 1928a; McTurk 1991a), then their association is just possible chronologically and geographically, as Ragnarr’s connections within Scandinavia were with Norway as well as with Denmark (Smyth 1977, 17-20).
Alongside information about Bragi the poet, Icelandic traditions also mention a god or supernatural being of this name (Grí 44/7, Lok, Sigrdr 16/2, SnE 2005, 25). In the frame narrative of Skm, Snorri Sturluson represents Bragi as the god who informs a curious sea-giant Ægir about the nature of skaldic diction. The connection between Bragi the poet and Bragi the god is uncertain, but it seems likely that Bragi Boddason’s iconic status as the first skald whose poetry survived into historical times contributed to the formation of the concept of a deity closely associated with the practice of skaldic verse in a courtly context (cf. Anon EirmI, Eyv HákI). Some scholars have linked Bragi and the origin of dróttkvætt with the influence of Irish poetry and culture, but their arguments are inconclusive (cf. Turville-Petre 1971; Kuhn 1983, 272-5; Sayers 1992).
Þórr’s fishing —
Margaret Clunies Ross 2017, ‘(Introduction to) Bragi inn gamli Boddason, Þórr’s fishing’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 46.
in texts: Skm, SnE
SkP info: III, 46
Note: The following transcriptions have been entered to aid the editing process. These may not have been fully reviewed and checked and may therefore not be reliable. You may wish to consult the manuscript images. Any corrections can be notified to the database editor.
R - 21r/25-21r/27|
Þat ervmc| sent at snemma sonr alda fꜹðs vildi afls við vri þafþan iarþar reist of freis|ta.
Tx - 21v/22-21v/23
Þat er omc sent| at snemma sonr alda faudrs vildi afls vid vri hefdann jardar reist of freista.
W - 46/4-46/5
Þat erumk sent at snemma son allda fǫðrs villdi afls við uri þæfðan iarðar reist of| freista.
U - 26v/19-26v/20
Þat er um snemt at snemma| son allda fo᷎durs uillde| alfs uid inne þe᷎fdan| jardar reist of freista.
B - 4r/26-4r/27
Þat er| […] sent at snemma son alldafo᷎durs uilldi alfs við inne þęfðan […] \…/ reist of freista.
R - 21v/31-21v/32|
Vaðr la viðris arfa vilgi slakr er raktiz a ey| nefis ꜹndri iormungandr at sandi.
Tx - 22r/20-22r/21
Vadr la vidris arfa vilgi slacr er racdiz a eynefis andri⸝ jormun| gandr at sandi.
W - 47/7-47/8
Vaðr la viðris arfa vilgi slakr er raktiz a æynefis on| dri iormungandr at sandi.
U - 27v/6-27v/8
Vaþr la viþris| arfa vilgi slacr ne raktiz a eynæfis an[…]iormungandr at san| di.
R - 22r/3-22r/4|
Hamri forsc ihægri hond þa er allra landa eygir| ꜹflvg barþa endiskeiðs af keɴdi.
Tx - 22r/26-22r/27
Hamri forsc i ho᷎gri hond þa er allra landa o᷎gir au| flog barda endi scids of kendi·
W - 47/14-47/15
Hamri forst ih[…]gri hond þa er allra landa æygir oflug barða| endi seiðs of kendi.
U - 27v/14-27v/15
hamri fork i hægri haund þa er allra landa eigi auflug bara| endi seiþs vm kendi.
R - 22r/7-22r/8|
Ok borðtoins barþa brautar hringr en lioti harðgeðr neþan| starþi.
Tx - 22r/30-22r/31
Ok bordroins barda brautar hringr in lioti a haus spreingi hru| ngnis harðgeðr nedan stardi.
W - 47/17-47/18
Ok borð roins| barða brautar hringr hinn lioti a havsprengi hrungis harðgeðr neðan starði.
U - 27v/18-27v/19
ok borþroins barþa bravtar| þvengr eṅ lioti a havsprengiv hrvngnis harþgeþr neþan starþe.
R - 30v/25-30v/26|
Þa er forns litar flotna afangboþa ꜹngli hrꜹckvi all of hrockin| heck volsvnga dreckv·
Tx - 32r/12-32r/13
Þa er fons litar flotna afangboda aungli hrockui all of hrockinn| heck vaulsunga dreco.
R - 38v/18-38v/19|
Vildid rꜹngvm ofra vags byrsendir ægi| hiɴ er mio tygill mava mórar skar firir þori·
Tx - 40r/27-40r/28
Vildid raungom| ofra vags byr sendir egi hinn er miotygil mava morar sca fir þori.
A - 13v/15-13v/16 (VEÞ)
Villdit vrꜷngvm ofra vags hyrsændir ægi ænn mio tygil| máva mærar skar fir þori·
B - 6r/16-6r/17
[…] o ro᷎ngum ofra vógs hyrsenndir e᷎gi hinn er mio tygil| máfa […] ra […]
744x - 37r/4-37r/7
Villdit o ro᷎ngum ofra| vogs hyrsenndir e᷎gi| hinn er mio tygil mafa| me᷎rar skarfir þore.
C - 8r/1-8r/2
Villdit vaungum ofra vags byrsendir ægi hiɴ er miotygil| maua mǫrar skar fir þori·