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Hávarðr halti Ísfirðingr (Hávh)

11th century; volume 5; ed. Rolf Stavnem;

III. Lausavísa 1 (Lv) - 1

This edition is currently in preparation. The biography below may represent a superseded edition, notes and/or an interim or draft version. Do not cite this material without consulting the volume and skald editors.

Hávarðr halti Ísfirðingr ‘Hávarðr halti ‘the Lame’ from Ísafjörður’ in north-western Iceland is the main character in the saga that bears his name, Hávarðar saga Ísfirðings (Háv), and is credited with fourteen of the fifteen stanzas in the saga. All fourteen are in dróttkvætt metre. One of them, Háv 4, is probably confused with the poetry of another lame man, Hrómundr halti, or his son Þorbjǫrn þyna (this stanza is edited in SkP as Þþyn Lv 1IV). In all likelihood Hávarðr had an historical existence though many of the incidents in the extant, probably late, saga are likely to be fictitious. Snorri Sturluson evidently considered Hávarðr to have lived and to have composed poetry, as a helmingr (Hávh Lv 1III) is attributed to him in both Skm and LaufE.

 Neither the saga nor Landnámabók (Ldn) provides the names of Hávarðr’s father and mother or his wider family. Ldn (ÍF 1, 159, 186, 187, 189, 190, 191) refers to him as Hávarðr halti and mentions him in connection with the death of his son Óláfr (see Óláfr’s biography in this volume) at the hands of Þorbjǫrn Þjóðreksson. His wife Bjargey Valbrandsdóttir is also mentioned in the same context, but in Ldn (ÍF 1, 187, 190, 191) she is said to be the daughter of Valbrandr, son of Eyvindr kné ‘Knee’, whereas in Háv Valbrandr is her brother.

 Ldn (ÍF 1, 159, 191) attests to knowledge of a story about Hávarðr’s feud with Þorbjǫrn Þjóðreksson arising from the latter’s unjust killing of Hávarðr’s and Bjargey’s son Óláfr, and this event is also the mainspring of the present saga’s action, which documents a transformation of the elderly Hávarðr, overcome with grief at his son’s death and feeling unable to take vengeance for his killing, into an efficient and determined killer who eventually manages to emerge unscathed from his dealings with powerful local chieftains. All the stanzas attributed to him are on the subject of his loss or his revenge.

my siglum: conflicts with Hávarðar saga

Lausavísa 1 — Hávh LvIII

Kari Ellen Gade 2017, ‘ Hávarðr halti Ísfirðingr, Lausavísa 1’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 241. <> (accessed 30 November 2021)

stanzas:  1 

Skj: Hávarðr halti ísfirðingr: Lausavísur, 1002-3 (AI, 188, BI, 178)

SkP info: III, 241

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

1 — Hávh Lv 1III

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2017, ‘Hávarðr halti Ísfirðingr, Lausavísa 1 1’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 241.

Nús jódraugum ægis
arnar flaug (ok bauga
hygg, at heimboð þiggi
hangagoðs) of vangi.

Nús flaug arnar of vangi {{ægis jó}draugum}; hygg, at þiggi heimboð {hangagoðs} ok bauga.

Now there is an eagle’s flight above the field {for the logs {of the steed of the ocean}} [(lit. ‘ocean’s steed-logs’) SHIP > SEAFARERS]; I believe that they may receive an invitation from {the god of the hanged} [= Óðinn] and rings.

texts: LaufE 2 (330), Skm 2, SnE 4

editions: Skj Hávarðr halti ísfirðingr: Lausavísur 14 (AI, 191; BI, 182); Skald I, 96, NN §2256; SnE 1848-87, I, 232-3, II, 302, 518, SnE 1931, 88, SnE 1998, I, 7; LaufE 1979, 330.


GKS 2367 4° (R) 20v, 18 - 20v, 20 (SnE)  transcr.  image  image  image  
Traj 1374x (Tx) 21r - 21r (SnE)  image  
AM 242 fol (W) 45, 3 - 45, 4 (SnE)  transcr.  image  image  image  
DG 11 (U) 26r, 11 - 26r, 12 (SnE)  image  
AM 757 a 4° (B) 3v, 52 - 4r, 1 (SnE)  image  image  image  image  
GKS 2368 4°x (2368x) 81 - 81 (LaufE)  image  
AM 743 4°x (743x) 64r - 64r (LaufE)  image  image  
AM 761 b 4°x (761bx) 198r - 198r  transcr.  image  
Runic data from Samnordisk runtextdatabas, Uppsala universitet, unless otherwise stated