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Þjóðólfr Arnórsson (ÞjóðA)

11th century; volume 2; ed. Diana Whaley;

2. Stanzas about Magnús Óláfsson in Danaveldi (Magn) - 14

Þjóðólfr Arnórsson (ÞjóðA) is listed in Skáldatal (SnE 1848-87, III, 254, 262) among the poets of Magnús inn góði ‘the Good’ Óláfsson and Haraldr harðráði ‘Hard-rule’ Sigurðarson, and virtually all his extant poetry seems to have been composed in honour of them, or in association with them; hence it dates from the period 1035-1066. The text of Skáldatal in AM 761 a 4°ˣ (SnE 1848-87, III, 259) also credits Þjóðólfr with poetry for Haraldr Þorkelsson, son of Þorkell inn hávi ‘the Tall’ and one of the Dan. magnates present in Norway during the reign of Sveinn Álfífuson (1030-35). No identifiable fragments of this remain, but if true the tradition would suggest that Þjóðólfr was born not much later than 1010. Hemings þáttr Áslákssonar (Hem) has him die at the battle of Stamford Bridge in 1066, and there is no record of him after that date, though Lv 11 has the air of being composed after the battle. Þjóðólfr was, according to Skáldatal and Fsk (ÍF 29, 245), the brother of another skald, Bǫlverkr Arnórsson (Bǫlv), and according to Sneglu-Halla þáttr (Snegl) in Flat (1860-8, III, 415), was from an undistinguished family in Svarfaðardalur, northern Iceland. The same þáttr (p. 421) names his father not as Arnórr but as Þorljótr, in the context of a scurrilous anecdote told against Þjóðólfr by Sneglu-Halli (SnH), who also taunts him with having composed the otherwise unknown Sorptrogsvísur ‘Dustbin Vísur’. The þáttr nevertheless describes him as accomplished (menntr vel) and courteous (kurteis maðr), highly favoured by King Haraldr and chief of his poets (haufutskꜳlld sitt, p. 415). Þjóðólfr’s poetry, rich in allusion and imagery, has continued to be widely admired, and it gains colour and vigour from the fact that he participated in many of the campaigns he depicts. It undoubtedly also reflects the fact that he was one of an exceptional circle of poets patronised by Haraldr (see Turville-Petre 1968), and much of his poetry shares topics and imagery with that of his contemporary Arnórr jarlaskáld (Arn), though there is no account of the dealings between these two. Þjóðólfr figures in several anecdotes centring on poetic composition: see Contexts to Lv 2-6, though we have no way of knowing whether he was so touchy about his reputation as the Context to Lv 4, and Snegl, would suggest; he also features as a go-between figure in Brands þáttr ǫrva, which cites no poetry. For brief biographies of Þjóðólfr see, e.g. SnE 1848-87, III, 578-9; LH 1894-1901, I, 627-32; Hollander 1945, 189-96.

In addition to the works edited here as Þjóðólfr’s, there have been further attributions to him. Þfagr Sveinn 7 is attributed to Þjóðólfr in Mork (1928-32, 165-6) and Flat (1860-8, III, 341), but to Þorleikr fagri in other sources; ÞKolb Eirdr 17I is attributed to Þjóðólfr in the U ms. alone, and Þfisk Lv 3 is attributed to him in F. Further, Flat, by citing Okík Magn 1 after ÞjóðA Magnfl 18 without announcing a change of skald implicitly assigns the latter to Þjóðólfr. We might perhaps also imagine Þjóðólfr having a hand in Anon (HSig) 2, the st. collaboratively composed by Haraldr’s men. A further set of six sts presented are anonymous in the medieval sources but are presented in this edn as Halli XI Fl (for reasons explained in Halli Biography below). These are printed among Þjóðólfr’s works in CPB II, 210-11 and listed under his name in SnE 1848-87, III, 583-4; Poole also finds ‘the ascription to Þjóðólfr Arnórsson … tempting, on stylistic grounds’ (1991, 75).

Preserved mainly in the kings’ sagas, above all in Hkr, Þjóðólfr’s oeuvre presents exceptional problems of reconstruction, which are discussed at some length in the Introductions to the individual poems or sets of sts. The chief problem is that Þjóðólfr certainly composed a major dróttkvætt poem for each of his patrons Magnús (Magnússflokkr, Magnfl) and Haraldr (Sexstefja, Sex), but that in each case there is also a set of sts that may or may not belong in the main encomium. The decision has been taken here to print them separately: fourteen sts depicting the aftermaths of Magnús’s major battles at Århus (Áróss) and Helgenæs (Helganes) are presented as ‘Stanzas about Magnús Óláfsson in Danaveldi’ (Magn), and seven describing the launch of Haraldr’s great levied fleet from Nidelven (the river Nið) as ‘Stanzas about Haraldr Sigurðarson’s leiðangr’ (Har). As a reference aid, the arrangement of Þjóðólfr’s oeuvre in SkP and Skj is shown here.

Magnússflokkr (ÞjóðA Magnfl)
SkP Skj
15Náði jarl at eyða 19
16Rǫnn lézt, ræsir Þrœnda,20
17Hizig laut, es heitir 21
18Flýði jarl af auðu, 22
19Háðisk heilli góðu25
Stanzas about Magnús Óláfsson in Danaveldi (ÞjóðA Magn)
1Hrauð leifs mǫgr áðan Magnfl 15
2Misst hafa Sveins at sýnu, Magnfl 16
3Gær sák grjóti stóru Lv 1
4Spurði einu orði Magnfl 17
5Saurstokkinn bar svíra Magnfl 18
6Hrindr af hrókalandi Lv 2
7Menn eigu þess minnask, Lv 3
8Skjǫld bark heim frá hjaldri Magnfl 23
9Bauð leifs sonr áðan Magnfl 24
10Nú taka Norðmenn knýja,Lv 4
11Brum jǫrn at œrnuLv 5
12Svíðr of seggja búðirLv 6
13Fjǫrð lét fylkir verðaLv 7
14Ek hef ekki at drekkaLv 8
Runhent poem about Haraldr (ÞjóðA Run)
Sexstefja (ÞjóðA Sex)
6Þjóð veit, at hefr háðar7
7Stólþengils lét stinga6
8Ok hertoga hneykir25
9Reist eikikjǫlr austan8
10Vatn lézt, vísi, slitna,9
11Gegn skyli herr, sem hugnar10
12Frn hefr sveit við Sveini11
13Lét vingjafa veitir12
14Fast bað fylking hrausta13
15Alm dró upplenzkr hilmir14
16Flest vas hirð, sús hraustum15
17Sogns kvðu gram gegnan16
18Sveinn át sigr at launa17
19Nús of verk, þaus vísi,18
20Létu lystir sleitu19
21Tók Holmbúa hneykir20
22Gagn brann greypra þegna; 21
23Fœrði fylkir Hǫrða,22
24Áræðis naut eyðir23
25Refsir reyndan ofsa24
26Mǫrk lét veitt fyr verka26
27Ǫrð sær Yrsu burðar27
28Lét hræteina hveiti32
29Blóðorra lætr barri30a
30Geirs oddum lætr greddir30b
31Gera vas gisting byrjuð29
32Hár skyli hirðar stjóri35
Stanzas about Haraldr Sigurðarson’s leiðangr (ÞjóðA Har)
1Skeið sák framm at flœði, Lv 18
2Slyngr laugardag lǫngu Lv 19
3Rétt kann rœði slíta Lv 20
4Sorgar veit, áðr slíti Lv 21
5Eigu skjól und skógi Lv 22
6Hléseyjar lemr hvan Lv 23
7Haraldr þeysti nú hraustla Lv 24
Fragments (ÞjóðA Frag )
1 Nús valmeiðum víðisLv 9
2Jarl/Ǫrr lætr, odda skúrar Sex 28
3Ganga él of Yngva Sex 31
4Snart við sæþráð kyrtat Sex 33
5Útan bindr við enda Sex 34
Þjóðólfr Arnórsson, Lausavísur (ÞjóðA Lv)
1Leiða langar dauða Lv 10
2Sumar annat skal sunnar Lv 11
3[Logit hefr Baldr at Baldri]
brynþings fetilstingar
Lv 12
4Mildingr rauð í móðu Lv 13
5Varp ór þrætu þorpi Lv 14
6Sigurðr eggjaði sleggju Lv 15
7Haddan skall, en Halli Lv 16
8Út stendr undan báti Lv 17
9Ǫld es, sús jarli skyldi Lv 25
10Skalka frá, þótt fylkir Lv 26
11Ǫld hefr afráð goldit Lv 27

Reconstructions of the Þjóðólfr corpus are offered by Finnur Jónsson in SnE 1848-87, III, 579-90, which is the basis (almost unchanged) for Skj (AI, 361-83, BI, 332-53), and the Skj ordering is retained in Skald (I, 168-77); other major contributions are by Guðbrandur Vigfússon in CPB (II, 198-212) and by Fidjestøl (1982, 133-43, 172).

The principal eds consulted in the course of re-editing Þjóðólfr’s poetry for SkP are listed for each st., and are of two main types: eds of the skaldic corpus (Finnur Jónsson’s in Skj AI, 361-83; BI, 332-53 and Ernst Albin Kock’s in Skald I, 168-77, supported by numerous NN) and eds of the various prose works in which the poetry is preserved. Extracts are also included in anthologies, articles and other works including (with ten or more sts): CPB II, 198-212; Kock and Meissner 1931, I, 57-60; Hollander 1945,190-6 (annotated translations only), Poole 1991, 59-63; and (with seven sts) Turville-Petre 1976, 97-102. Such works as these, together with others containing comment on the poetry, are cited as appropriate in the Notes.


Stanzas about Magnús Óláfsson in Danaveldi — ÞjóðA MagnII

Diana Whaley 2009, ‘ Þjóðólfr Arnórsson, Stanzas about Magnús Óláfsson in Danaveldi’ 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. 88-103. <> (accessed 27 June 2022)

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

Skj: Þjóðolfr Arnórsson: (AI, 361-8, BI, 332-8)

in texts: H-Hr, Hkr, MGóð

SkP info: II, 88-103

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance references search files


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.

1. Kx - 514v/23-514v/26 (VEÞ)
Rꜹð Olafs mꜹgr aðan | jofvrr va sigr hins digra | fregnat slict or sogni | ví scip konor hnipnar |
F - 40vb/16-40vb/17 (VEÞ)
Rꜹð Olafs mꜹgr aðan iofvrr vá sígr | híns digra fregnat slikt or sogni síꜹ skíp konvr hnípnar· |
2. Kx - 514v/28-515r/5 (VEÞ)
Mist hafa sveins at syno | sverðgꜹtr fꜹro nꜹtar | horð er heldr um orðinn || heimkvamo fǫr beima | hrǫrir hꜹsa þeira | hreɢi o᷎st ok leɢi | siár þytr ꜹðs um árom | uɴr a sanda gruɴi |
F - 40vb/18-40vb/20 (VEÞ)
Mist hafa sveins at sꜹɴo sverþgꜹtr fꜹ́ronꜹtar hꜹrð er | helldr vm orðín · heim kvama fꜹr beíma hṙærir hꜹsa þeira | hreɢí æst ok leɢí siar þytr ꜹðz vm árom vɴr a sanda ⸝grvɴí·⸜ |
3. Kx - 515r/13-515r/20 (VEÞ)
Gær sa ec grioti storo | gein hꜹs fyrir steini | fóra fylking þeira | fast harðliga castat | ofan kørðum ver orðum | jorð mana sveinn um varða | staðar hefir stafn i miðio | strand hꜹɢ numit landi |
F - 40vb/26-40vb/28 (VEÞ)
Gǽr sa ek gríotí stórv geín hꜹs fyrir steíní for a fylkíng | þeira fast harðlíga kastað · ofan keyrðo ver orðom iorð mvna | sveíɴ of varþa staðar hefir stafn i miðío strand hꜹɢ nvmít ⸝landí·⸜ |
4. Kx - 515r/27-515v/4 (VEÞ)
Spurði eino orði | ꜹld bloðroðna scioldo | satt er at svo morg átti | selundz mær hverr ve bæri || ꜹðtroðo varð ꜹþit | ifir um scog at sproga | títt bar ty margr flotti | til hringstaða iliar |
F - 40vb/33-40vb/36 (VEÞ)
Spvrði eíno orði ꜹlld bloðrꜹða skíoll | do satt er at sva morg atti selundz mǽr hverr vé bǽri · | ꜹðtroðo varþ ꜹþít yfir of skog at spróga títt bár ty margr | flottí til hringstaða ilíar·
5. Kx - 515v/5-515v/12 (VEÞ)
Sꜹr stokinn bar svíra | snaʀ scánunga haʀi | undr er nema allvaldr lundar | aldr pruðr fyrir haldi | gær flugo mold ok myrar | merki Iarls hins sterka | slóð drap fram at floþi | flꜹgar dꜹʀ um hꜹga |
F - 40vb/36-40vb/40 (VEÞ)
Sꜹ́rstockíɴ bár svíra snaʀ | skanvnnga haʀí verþr nema all valldr yrði alldr prvþr | fyrr hallda · gǽr flugo molld ok myrar merki Jarls | híns sterkía sloð drap fram at floþi flꜹgar dꜹʀ of | hꜹga· ||
6. Kx - 516r/11-516r/18 (VEÞ)
Hrindr af hroka landi | hreɢ af eiki veɢiom | suðr leikr elldr um uɴinn | oðr i lopt upp gloðum | bǫʀ logar hálfo hæra | hionum ner a fíoni | ræfr þola nꜹð ok næfrar | norð menn sali breɴa |
F - 41ra/15-41ra/18 (VEÞ)
Riɴðr a roka landi reɢ af eiki veɢiom · svðr leíkr | elldr of vɴíɴ oðr i lopt vpp gloðom · bǽr logar halfo hǽra | hionom nǽr a fíoní ræfr þola nꜹð ok næfrar norðmeɴ | sali breɴa·
7. Kx - 516r/19-516r/26 (VEÞ)
ᴍeɴ eigo þess miɴaz | maɴa sveins at kaɴa | viga freyr sizt voro | vefgefn þriar stefnur | van er fagrs a fíoni | flioð dugir vapn at rioða | verum með fylcto fólci | framm i vapna glammi |
F - 41ra/18-41ra/21 (VEÞ)
Meɴ eígo þess miɴaz maɴa seínt at kaɴa | viga freyr sízt voro vef gefn þríar stefnor · ván a fagrs | a fíoní flioð dvgir at rioða verom m fylkto folki framm | i vapna glammi·
8. Kx - 517r/26-517v/2 (VEÞ)
Sciold bar ec heim fra hialdri | hlꜹtz mer til þess gꜹtzcan | ramr var suðr a sumri | sverð dynr ok þo brynio | vapn gat ec frið eɴ flioði | fyʀ sagða ec kyʀo || þar fecc ec hialm er hilmir | harðfengr dani barði |
F - 41rb/10-41rb/13 (VEÞ)
Skiolld bar ek heim fra hialldri hlꜹtz mer til þess gꜹtzkan gramr | var svðr a sumrí sverþ dynr ok þo brynío · vapn gat ek friþ | eɴ flioði fyʀ sagða ek þat kyʀo þar feck ek hialm þar er | hilmir harðfengr dani barði·
9. Kx - 517v/8-517v/15 (VEÞ)
Bꜹð Olafs sonr aðan | upp a land at standa | gecc með maɴdyrð micla | ᴍagnvs reiðr af sceiðom | snaʀ bað hilmir heria | her er scark i danmorco | fleygir hvast um hꜹga | hestr um Scaney vestan |
F - 41rb/16-41rb/19 (VEÞ)
Bꜹð Olafs svn aðan vppa | land at standa · geck v maɴdyrð mikla magnvs reiðr af | skeiðom · snaʀ bað hilmir heria her er skark i danmorko fleygir | hvast vm hꜹga hestr m skaney vestan·
10. Kx - 517v/18-517v/25 (VEÞ)
Nu taca norðmenn knyía | ner gongum ver stongum | berca ec ᴍagnvs merki | miɴ sciold hliþ sialdan | scytra sceifum fǫti | scaney ifir sláni | farvegr er mer fegri | fundinn suþr til lundar |
F - 41rb/21-41rb/24 (VEÞ)
Nv taka norð menn knyia nǽr gongom ver ston | gom berca ek ᴍagnvs merki míɴ skiolld a hlið sialldan · | skytra skeífom fǽti skan ey yfir slání fár vegr er mer | fegri fvndíɴ svðr til lundar.
11. Kx - 517v/29-518r/5 (VEÞ)
Barom jarn at ǫrnom | iskꜹld a liþ visa | sciott reiða nu screyttar || scánunga lókvanir | rꜹðr leicr um bǫ breiðan | braðr at varo raði | eldr eɴ ernir valda | at blasendr þvi vasi |
F - 41rb/26-41rb/28 (VEÞ)
Bárom iarn at ǽrno iskꜹlld i lið visa skiott riða nv skrey | ttrar skánvnga lok vánir · rꜹðr leikr of bǽ breiðom bráðr | at voro raði elldr eɴ ernir vallda at blásir þvi vási·
12. Kx - 518r/6-518r/13 (VEÞ)
Sviðr um seɢia buðir | siclingr i her miclom | eyðir bygð sem braðaz | biartr elldr danavelldi | móþir beʀ halr um heiðe | haldr danmarcar scioldo | ver lutum sigr enn sarir | Sveins menn fyrir reɴa |
F - 41rb/28-41rb/32 (VEÞ)
Sviðr vm | seɢía buðir siklíngr i her miklom eyðir bygð sem braðaz | bíartr elldr dana velldi · moðr berr halr vm heiði halldz | danmarkar skíolldo ver hlutom sígr eɴ sarer sveíns menn fyrir | reɴa·
13. Kx - 518r/14-518r/21 (VEÞ)
Fiorð let fylkir verða | forntraddan mó spornat | leynumz litt a fioni | liðs scioldunga a miðli | muna fyriragnvs synia | menn Sveins þeir er nu reɴa | upp fyrir morg i morgin | merki stoʀa verca |
F - 41rb/32-41rb/35 (VEÞ)
Fiorð let fylkir verþa forn traddan mó spornat ley | nomz lítt a fíoní liþz skiolldvnga a miðli · mvna fyr | ᴍagnvs synía meɴ sveíns þeir er nv reɴa vpp fara morg i mor | gín merkí stórra verka·
14. Kx - 518r/26-518v/4 (VEÞ)
Ec hefi ecki at drecka | aɴers nema sia þeɴa | syg ec or sꜹltom ægi | sylg er ec jofri fylgi || liɢr fyrir os eɴ uɢom | all litt svia cǫllum | drigt hafom vas fyrir visa | við scaneyrar siþa |
F - 41rb/38-41va/1 (VEÞ)
Ek hofr ecki at | drecka aɴars nema sía þeɴa sýg ek or sꜹlltom ǽgí sylg | er ek iofri fylgí · líɢr fyrir ós eɴ vɢom all lítt svía kollom drívgt || hofom vás fyrir vísa víþ skanunga siða·
Runic data from Samnordisk runtextdatabas, Uppsala universitet, unless otherwise stated