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Runic Dictionary

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Haraldr harðráði Sigurðarson (Hharð)

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

1. Gamanvísur (Gamv) - 6

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.

Gamanvísur — Hharð GamvII

Kari Ellen Gade 2009, ‘(Introduction to) Haraldr harðráði Sigurðarson, Gamanvísur’ 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. 35-41.

stanzas:  1   2   3   4   5   6 

SkP info: II, 36-7

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

2 — Hharð Gamv 2II

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2009, ‘Haraldr harðráði Sigurðarson, Gamanvísur 2’ 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. 36-7.

Sneið fyr Sikiley víða
súð; vôrum þá prúðir;
brýnt skreið vel til vánar
vengis hjǫrtr und drengjum.
Vættik miðr, at motti
myni enn þinig nenna;
þó lætr Gerðr í Gǫrðum
gollhrings við mér skolla.

Súð sneið fyr víða Sikiley; vôrum þá prúðir; {hjǫrtr vengis} skreið brýnt und drengjum, vel til vánar. Vættik miðr, at motti myni enn nenna þinig; þó lætr {Gerðr gollhrings} í Gǫrðum skolla við mér.

The ship sliced [the sea] before broad Sicily; we were proud then; {the stag of the cabin} [SHIP] glided swiftly beneath the men entirely as expected. I hardly think that a sluggard will ever head there; yet {the Gerðr <goddess> of the gold ring} [WOMAN] in Russia ridicules me.

Mss: Mork(3r) (Mork); H(28v), Hr(20vb-21ra) (H-Hr); FskBˣ(64r), FskAˣ(242) (Fsk); Kˣ(531r), 39(21ra), F(43vb), E(12v), J2ˣ(263r) (Hkr); R(35r), Tˣ(36v), W(80), U(34r), A(12r) (SnE, ll. 1-4); 2368ˣ(129) (ll. 1-4), 743ˣ(97r) (ll. 1-4) (LaufE)

Readings: [1] Sneið: Sveið Hr;    ‑ey: om. H    [2] súð: ‘suder’ 2368ˣ    [3] brýnt: so Kˣ, 39, F, E, J2ˣ, R, Tˣ, W, A, 2368ˣ, 743ˣ, brúnn Mork, H, brún Hr, brýn FskBˣ, FskAˣ, brúnt U;    vel: vænn F;    vánar: varnar R    [4] und: undir FskBˣ, um R;    drengjum: strengjum Hr, ‘dreingum’ 743ˣ    [5] Vættik (‘vętti ec’): veitti ek FskAˣ;    miðr: minnr Hr, Kˣ, J2ˣ;    at: á FskBˣ;    motti: ‘mote’ FskAˣ, ‘moti’ J2ˣ    [6] myni: muni H, Hr, FskAˣ, 39, F, E, mani Kˣ, J2ˣ;    þinig: þannig H, þinnig Hr, FskBˣ, Kˣ, þinnug FskAˣ;    nenna: renna H, Hr, FskAˣ

Editions: Skj: Haraldr Sigurðarson harðráði, Lausavísur 4: AI, 357, BI, 329, Skald I, 166, NN §§2023, 2266; Mork 1867, 15, Mork 1928-32, 85, Andersson and Gade 2000, 148, 472 (MH); Fms 6, 169 (HSig ch. 15); ÍF 29, 237 (ch. 51); ÍF 28, 89 (HSig ch. 15), F 1871, 201, E 1916, 43; SnE 1848-87, I, 444-5, II, 332, 443, SnE 1931, 157, SnE 1998, I, 75; LaufE 1979, 394.

Context: In SnE and LaufE the first helmingr illustrates one of a range of kennings for ‘ship’ (vengis hjǫrtr ‘stag of the cabin’).

Notes: [All]: For Haraldr’s campaigns in and around Sicily, see also ÞjóðA Sex 2, Bǫlv Hardr 4 and Valg Har 1. He participated in an expedition sent by the Byzantine emperor 1038-40 to reconquer Sicily from the Saracens (see ÍF 28, 81-2 n. 1; Sigfús Blöndal 1978, 65-71). — [1] Sikiley ‘Sicily’: The p. n. forces resolution on the first syllable of a cpd in the second lift. This is a poetic licence that originated with and became popular with King Haraldr and his poets (see Kuhn 1983, 68). — [1] víða ‘broad’: Taken here as an adj. (f. acc. sg.) qualifying Sikiley (‘broad Sicily’), but it could also be the adv. víða ‘far and wide’. Kock emends to víði ‘ocean’ (m. acc. sg.), which he regards as an object of the verb sneið ‘sliced’ (see NN §2266), which is usually transitive. That emendation is unnecessary if we assume a suppressed object (‘the sea’). — [2] súð ‘ship’: Lit. referring to the overlapping boards in the ship-side (from sýja ‘sew’). Here used pars pro toto for ‘ship’ (see Falk 1912, 49; Jesch 2001a, 139). — [3] vel til vánar ‘entirely as expected’: Skj B connects this phrase with the first cl. (‘we were proud then’), which creates an awkward w. o. (see NN §2023). — [4] vengis (n. gen. sg.) ‘of the cabin’: According to Falk, this was most likely a cabin in the stern of a ship (cf. ModNorw. dialects væng ‘ship-cabin’; see Falk 1912, 10; LP: vengi 3; Fritzner: vængr). Alternatively, Haraldr, who had served in the Byzantine army, could refer to structures aboard Byzantine ships, either castles or the berth for commanders in the stern, surrounded by a round tent (see Pryor and Jeffreys 2006, 227-38, 448). Otherwise, the word is attested poetically in the meaning ‘pillow’ (LP: vengi 1) or ‘plain, field’ (LP: vengi 2). Jesch (2001a, 153-4) suggests that vengis ‘of the plain’ is a half-kenning for ‘sea’ (hjǫrtr vengis ‘the stag of the sea’, i.e. ‘ship’). — [5-8]: Duplicated as st. 3/5-8 below.

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