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Runic Dictionary

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Haraldr harðráði Sigurðarson (Hharð)

11th century; volume 2; ed. Kari Ellen Gade;

2. Lausavísur (Lv) - 15

See ‘Royal Biographies’ in Introduction to this volume.

Vol. II. Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 2: from c. 1035 to c. 1300 > 8. Introduction > 5. Biographies > 1. Royal Biographies > 1. Kings of Norway > g. Haraldr III harðráði Sigurðarson (Hharð) (r. 1046-66)

Sagas: ÓH, MH, HSig (Ágr, Flat, Fsk, H-Hr, Hkr, Mork, Theodoricus).

Haraldr harðráði ‘Hard-rule’ Sigurðarson was the son of Sigurðr sýr ‘Sow’ and Ásta Guðbrandsdóttir (see Genealogy II.2.f in ÍF 28). He fought alongside his half-brother, Óláfr Haraldsson (S. Óláfr), at the battle of Stiklestad (29 July 1030) and escaped wounded from the battlefield to seek refuge in Russia. After spending some years in the service of Jaroslav of Novgorod, he proceeded from Russia to Byzantium, where he served as a mercenary in the Varangian army before his return to Norway via Russia and Sweden in 1045/46. From 1046 he ruled jointly with his nephew, Magnús inn góði, and after Magnús’s death (25 October 1047) Haraldr was the sole ruler of Norway until he fell at the battle of Stamford Bridge (on 25 September 1066). See Anon Nkt 38-9, Theodoricus (MHN 50-1, 54-7; McDougall and McDougall 1998, 38-9, 43-46), Ágr (ÍF 29, 36-40; Ágr 1995, 52-9), Mork (Mork 1928-32, 55-281; Andersson and Gade 2000, 129-274), Fsk (ÍF 29, 227-90; Finlay 2004, 181-232), ÓHHkr (ÍF 27, 107-8, 347-8, 364; Hollander 1991, 314-15, 488-9, 500-1), HSigHkr (ÍF 28, 68-202; Hollander 1991, 577-663), Flat (Flat 1860-8, III, 287-432), H-Hr (Fms 6, 127-432). See also Hem (Hb 1892-6, 331-49; Fellows-Jensen 1962, 1-64), , Knýtl (ÍF 35, 132-3, 151; Hermann Pálsson and Edwards 1986, 46-7, 60), Orkn (ÍF 34, 53-4, 75-8, 80, 86-7, 339; Hermann Pálsson and Edwards 1987, 56-7, 71-4, 77-8).

Events documented in poetry: The battle of Stiklestad (1030) and Haraldr’s escape to Sweden (Hharð Gamv 1; Hharð Lv 1, 2a-2b; ÞjóðA Sex 1); his journey to Russia and his Russian campaigns 1031-3 (ÞjóðA Run 1, 3; Bǫlv Hardr 1); his journey to Constantinople and his campaigns as a mercenary in the Varangian army 1034-42 (Hharð Gamv 2, 4; Hharð Lv 10-11; Þjóð Sex 2-8; ÞjóðA Lv 4; Ill Har 2-4; Bǫlv Hardr 2-6; ÞSkegg Hardr; Valg Hardr 1-4; Þfisk Lv 2-3; Stúfr Stúfdr 2-3); his return to Russia and marriage to Ellisif (Stúfr Stúfdr 4); his journey to Sweden and his harrying in Denmark with Sveinn Úlfsson (ÞjóðA Sex 9; Valg Hardr 5-9); his meeting and reconciliation with Magnús inn góði (ÞjóðA Sex 10; ÞjóðA Frag 1; Bǫlv Hardr 7); his dealings with Magnús (Mgóð Lv 1; Hharð Lv 3); his return to Norway after Magnús’s death in Denmark in 1047 (Valg Hardr 10-11); his first naval campaign against Sveinn Úlfsson and the Danes in 1048 (Hharð Lv 4; ÞjóðA Lv 2; Bǫlv Hardr 8; Grani Har 1-2; Anon (HSig) 1); subsequent campaigns in Denmark against Sveinn (Hharð Lv 5, 10; ÞjóðA Lv 3-4; Arn Hardr 1; Þfagr Sveinn 2-9; Stúfr Stúfdr 5-6; Anon (HSig) 2, 5); the slaying of Einarr þambarskelfir and other enemies (Hharð Lv 6-8; Arn Hardr 1); the desertion of Norwegian magnates to Sveinn in Denmark (ÞjóðA Sex 12); the battle of the Nissan against Sveinn in 1062 (ÞjóðA Sex 13-18; ÞjóðA Har 1-7; Arn Hardr 2-4; Stúfr Stúfdr 7; Steinn Nizv; Steinn Úlffl); the peace treaty between Haraldr and Sveinn in 1064 (ÞjóðA Sex 23; Halli XI Fl); Haraldr’s campaign against Hákon Ívarsson (ÞjóðA Lv 9); his dealing with Norwegian insurrection (ÞjóðA Sex 19-22; Arn Hardr 5-6); the events leading up to the English campaign in 1066 (Hjǫrtr Lv 1-3; Úlfr Lv; Anon (HSig 6-9); the battles of Fulford and Stamford Bridge (Hharð Lv 13-14; ÞjóðA Lv 10-11; Arn Hardr 7-16; Stúfr Stúfdr 8; Steinn Óldr 1-3; Anon Harst). For þættir and smaller anecdotes involving Haraldr and other poets, see Haraldr Lv 9, 12; ÞjóðA Lv 4-8; SnH Lv; Þfisk Lv; Anon (HSig) 3-4.

Lausavísur — Hharð LvII

Kari Ellen Gade 2009, ‘ Haraldr harðráði Sigurðarson, Lausavísur’ 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. 42-6. <> (accessed 25 June 2022)

stanzas:  1   2a   2b   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11   12   13   14 

Skj: Haraldr Sigurðarson harðráði: Lausavísur (AI, 356-61, BI, 328-32); stanzas (if different): 2/1-4 | 2/5-8 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19

SkP info: II, 51-2

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

10 — Hharð Lv 10II

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2009, ‘Haraldr harðráði Sigurðarson, Lausavísur 10’ 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. 51-2.

Lv 10-11 (Hharð Lv 10-11) are recorded in Mork (Mork), H, Hr (H-Hr) and Flat (Flat) as part of an episode in which Haraldr and his court poet, the Icelander Þjóðólfr Arnórsson (ÞjóðA), engage in a poetic exchange with a Norw. fisherman called Þorgils (see ÞjóðA Lv 4; Þfisk Lv 1-3). The episode is also recorded at the very end of HSig in F with two additional sts allegedly composed by two of Þorgils’ sons, a young man and a saltburner. See Anon (HSig) 3-4. In F, Lv 11/5-8 are given as the second helmingr of a st. spoken by the saltburner. The first helmingr of that st. is recorded in F only. The differences in prose and poetry between the Mork and F redactions suggest that we are dealing with two oral variants of the same story (see Louis-Jensen 1977, 85-7; Fidjestøl 1971).

Hjoggu harða dyggvir
hirðmenn Dani stirða;
sótti ferð á flótta
framm; en þat vas skǫmmu.
Hitt vas fyrr, es fjarri
fóstrlandi rauðk branda;
sverð í Serkja garði
sǫng; en þat vas lǫngu.

Harða dyggvir hirðmenn hjoggu stirða Dani; ferð sótti framm á flótta; en þat vas skǫmmu. Hitt vas fyrr, es rauðk branda fjarri fóstrlandi; sverð sǫng í garði Serkja; en þat vas lǫngu.

The most loyal retainers cut down relentless Danes; the troop rushed forth in flight; and that was recently. It was earlier when I reddened the blades far from my native land; the sword sang in the stronghold of the Saracens; but that was long ago.

Mss: Mork(17r) (Mork); Flat(202ra) (Flat); H(69v-70r), Hr(50va) (H-Hr); F(54va)

Readings: [1] Hjoggu: Hjǫggu Mork, Hjuggu Flat, H, Hr, Hjogga F;    harða: harðla Flat, F;    dyggvir: so Flat, F, dyggir Mork, H, Hr    [5] Hitt vas fyrr (‘hitt var fyrr’): hitt er fyrr Flat, fyrr var hitt F;    es (‘er’): at Hr, F    [6] ‑landi: ‑land Hr;    branda: brandi Hr

Editions: Skj: Haraldr Sigurðarson harðráði, Lausavísur 15: AI, 359, BI, 331, Skald I, 167, NN §§806, 847A, 1902, 2026; Mork 1867, 101, Mork 1928-32, 248, Andersson and Gade 2000, 253, 479 (MH); Flat 1860-8, III, 377 (MH); Fms 6, 385 (HSig ch. 108); F 1871, 255 (HSig).

Context: See Introduction to Lv 10-11 above.

Notes: [All]: Haraldr alludes to his ongoing state of war with Sveinn Úlfsson of Denmark and to his earlier service in the Varangian army fighting the Saracens. — [7] í garði Serkja ‘in the stronghold of the Saracens’: Skj B connects this prepositional phrase with the previous cl. (‘when I reddened the blades far from my native land in the stronghold of the Saracens’), which creates a very convoluted w. o. (see NN §847A). For Serkland ‘land of the Saracens’, i.e. North Africa, the Arab sector of Asia Minor, Syria, see Jesch 2001a, 104-7 and Sigfús Blöndal 1978, 60-3. See also Þfisk Lv 3/5-8, Þstf Lv 3/6, ÞjóðA Sex 2 and ÞjóðA Lv 4/5-8.

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