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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

7. Anonymous Poems, Leiðarvísan, 43 [Vol. 7, 176-7]

[8] Rúnolfr: Rúnolfr is usually taken to be the name of the gǫfugr prestr ‘noble priest’ of l. 4, possibly the poet’s teacher or mentor. There are two priests of that name mentioned in a Prestatal of 1143, attributed to Ari Þorgilsson (DI I, 180-94). The first is Rúnolfr Dálksson, nephew of Bishop Ketill Þorsteinsson of Hólar (bishop 1122-45). He is probably identical with the Rúnolfr Dagsson named in ch. 19 of BjH (ÍF 3, 163 n. 2) as the source of information concerning Bjǫrn Hítdœlakappi’s composition of religious poetry and said in Sturlu saga ch. 29 (Stu 1988, 88-9) to have been a monk at Helgafell c. 1170 (see Astås 1970, 266-7 n. 15; Attwood 1996b, 226). The other possibility is Bishop Ketill’s son, Rúnolfr Ketilsson (d. 1186), who was the author of a poem celebrating the new church built at Skálholt by Klœngr Þórsteinsson (bishop 1152-76), one st. of which (RKet LvIV) survives in Hungrvaka. As a known poet, Rúnolfr Ketilsson is often considered to have the better claim, but BjH’s evidence for Rúnolfr Dálksson/Dagsson’s interest in skaldic poetry bolsters his claim also.


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