This interface will soon cease to be publicly available. Use the new interface instead. Click here to switch over now.

Cookies on our website

We use cookies on this website, mainly to provide a secure browsing experience but also to collect statistics on how the website is used. You can find out more about the cookies we set, the information we store and how we use it on the cookies page.

Data from Samnordisk runtextdatabas

login: password: stay logged in: help

Kormákr Ǫgmundarson (KormǪ)

10th century; volume 5; ed. Edith Marold;

III. 1. Sigurðardrápa (Sigdr) - 7

my abbr - FJ's conflicts with saga

Sigurðardrápa (‘Drápa about Sigurðr’) — KormǪ SigdrIII

Edith Marold with the assistance of Vivian Busch, Jana Krüger, Ann-Dörte Kyas and Katharina Seidel, translated from German by John Foulks 2017, ‘ Kormákr Ǫgmundarson, Sigurðardrápa’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 272. <> (accessed 1 July 2022)

stanzas:  1   2   3   4   5   6   7 

Skj: Kormákr Ǫgmundarson: 1. Sigurðardrápa, o. 960 (AI, 79-80, BI, 69-70)

SkP info: III, 274

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

1 — KormǪ Sigdr 1III

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Edith Marold (ed.) 2017, ‘Kormákr Ǫgmundarson, Sigurðardrápa 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. 274.

Heyri sonr á Sýrar
sannreynis fentanna
aurgreppa — lætk uppi —
jastrín Haralds mína.

{Sonr {sannreynis Haralds}} heyri á {{mína jastrín} {aurgreppa {Sýrar {fentanna}}}}; lætk uppi.

May {the son {of the true friend of Haraldr}} [= Hákon Grjótgarðsson > = Sigurðr jarl] listen to {{my yeast-Rhine} [ALE] {of the mud-men {of the Sýr <= Freyja> {of fen-teeth}}}} [ROCKS > GIANTESS > GIANTS > POEM]; I recite [it].

Mss: R(36v), Tˣ(38r), W(82), U(35v), A(12v) (l. 1) (SnE)

Readings: [2] ‑reynis: reynir Tˣ    [3] ‑greppa: ‑greipa U;    lætk: so W, lætr R, letr Tˣ, ‘[...]t ek’ U    [4] jast‑: ‘ast‑’ U;    Haralds: haraldr U

Editions: Skj: Kormákr Ǫgmundarson, 1. Sigurðardrápa 1: AI, 79, BI, 69, Skald I, 42, NN §§1814B, 2501B, 2503E, 2510, 3396I; SnE 1848-87, I, 460-1, II, 338, III, 94, 466, SnE 1931, 163, SnE 1998, I, 82.

Context: This helmingr is cited in Skm to exemplify a man-kenning in a section that discusses kennings and terms for rulers and their men. The kenning in question is sonr sannreynis Haralds ‘the son of the true friend of Haraldr’ and it is explained in Skm (SnE 1998, I, 82) as follows: Hann kallaði jarlinn sannreyni konungsins, en Hákun jarl son Sigurðar jarls ‘He called the jarl a true friend of the king, and Hákon jarl the son of Sigurðr jarl’.

Notes: [1, 2, 4] sonr sannreynis Haralds ‘the son of the true friend of Haraldr [= Hákon Grjótgarðsson > = Sigurðr jarl]’: For sannreynir see Note to l. 2. All earlier eds have identified Haraldr as Haraldr hárfagri ‘Fair-hair’, but it is not certain to whom the ‘true friend of Haraldr’ refers, whether to Hákon Grjótgarðsson or to his son, Sigurðr jarl. Hákon Grjótgarðsson belonged to the family of the Hlaðajarlar of Trondheim. They became allies of Haraldr hárfagri and established marriage relations. Haraldr married Ása, the daughter of Hákon Grjótgarðsson (HHárf ch. 37, ÍF 26, 142) and sent his own sons, Hálfdan svarti ‘the Black’ and Sigrøðr, to be raised by Hákon Grjótgarðsson and later by Hákon’s son Sigurðr. Hákon’s son Sigurðr jarl married Haraldr’s granddaughter Bergljót. Haraldr hárfagri and Sigurðr jarl must also have been on friendly terms because Sigurðr gave the name of his own father, Hákon, to Haraldr’s youngest son (HHárf ch. 37, ÍF 26, 142-3), whose protector he was when Hákon góði ‘the Good’ later became king of Norway (see his Biography in SkP I, cxci-cxciii). Hákon Grjótgarðsson died at a battle in Sogn short before the battle of Hafrsfjorden (872 or 885-90), and Sigurðr jarl was murdered two years after the death of Hákon góði (963). (a) Skm’s (SnE 1998, I, 82) interpretation (see Context above) favours Sigurðr jarl as ‘the true friend of Haraldr’. According to this interpretation, the introductory stanza is addressed to Hákon jarl, the famous son of Sigurðr (for his Biography, see SkP I, cxiii-cxcv). (b) In order to preserve the unity of Sigdr, Finnur Jónsson (1931, 108) and others (e.g. Fidjestøl 1982, 92-3) disregard Skm’s prose explanation and take sannreynir Haralds as a kenning that refers to Hákon jarl Grjótgarðsson, father of Sigurðr jarl. In this case the kenning sonr sannreynis Haralds points to Sigurðr jarl, son of Hákon Grjótgarðsson. Choosing between these two options is difficult. Snorri’s commentary, which considers Hákon jarl to be the addressee of the poem, is contradicted by the fact that Sigurðr jarl is named explicitly in st. 2, provided that sts 1 and 2 are part of the same poem. An argument that they do so is a formal feature that distinguishes them from the rest of the poem: they are the only stanzas that are composed without hjástælt (see Introduction above). Thus they may have belonged to a poem about Sigurðr jarl that lacked this characteristic (for the different provenances of the stanzas of this poem see Introduction above). In this case sannreynir Haralds would then refer to Hákon Grjótgarðsson and we must assume that Snorri interpreted the stanza incorrectly in Skm. This edn prioritises the formal ground that hjástælt is missing in these stanzas and takes the kenning to refer to Sigurðr jarl. — [1, 2, 3, 4] á mína jastrín aurgreppa Sýrar fentanna ‘to my yeast-Rhine [ALE] of the mud-men of the Sýr <= Freyja> of fen-teeth [ROCKS > GIANTESS > GIANTS > POEM]’: This extended poem-kenning is based on the pattern ‘liquid of the giants/dwarfs’ derived from the narrative of how the mead of poetry came into being and was stolen. ‘Liquid’ is represented by ‘yeast-Rhine [ALE]’ (for this kenning type see Meissner 432-3). The Rhine, a river in Germany, was presumably known in the North from the Nibelung legend. The first element jast- (cf. jǫstr ‘yeast’) refers to the origin of the mead of poetry (see SnE 1998, I, 3); cf. the poem-kenning in Eskál Vell 1/3, 4I dreggjar fyrða fjarðleggjar ‘the dregs of the men of the fjord-bone [ROCK > DWARFS > POEM]’, which clearly corresponds to this one (dreggjar and jastrín, fyrða and aurgreppa, fentanna and fjarðleggjar). ‘Giants’ in Kormákr’s kenning is replaced by ‘the men of the giantess’, and ‘giantess’ by the typical giantess-kenning ‘goddess of rocks’. Giants are often referred to periphrastically as inhabitants (people, animals, mythical beings) of rocks and mountains. Sýr, the base-word here, is a name for Freyja. The use of a goddess’s name in a giantess-kenning is rare but not unprecedented (cf. Freyja bjarga ‘Freyja of cliffs [GIANTESS]’, ǪrvOdd Ævdr 21/8VIII (Ǫrv 91)). Sýrar in the present kenning is actually redundant, but must be incorporated nonetheless (see Note to l. 1 below). Kock (NN §2510) opts for a simpler solution: he emends sannreynis (gen.) to sannreyni (dat.) (against all mss) and takes it with Sýrar to form an ofljóst kenning for ‘poem’. According to him, sannreynir Sýrar ‘the true friend of Sýr <= Freyja>’ is Freyja’s husband Óðr (see LP: 3. Óðr), a name homonymous with the noun óðr ‘poem’. Based on this emendation, Kock construes the helmingr as follows (adopting ǫr- ‘bold’ rather than aur- ‘mud-’; see Note to l. 3): Sonr Haralds heyri á sannreyni Sýrar, lætk uppi mina jastrín ǫrgreppa fentanna ‘May the son of Haraldr listen to the true friend of Sýr <= Freyja> [= Óðr (óðr ‘poem’)], I recite the yeast-Rhine [ALE] of the bold men of fen-teeth [ROCKS > GIANTS > POETRY]’. This interpretation has the advantage of producing two poem-kennings – one (sannreyni Sýrar) in the main clause and another (mína jastrín ǫrgreppa fentanna) in the parenthetic clause – and a simpler word order. The drawback is that it requires emendation against all the mss and runs contrary to the interpretation given in Skm. It also remains unclear who the son of Haraldr might be. Hálfdan svarti, a petty king in Trondheim, comes to mind, as does Sigrøðr, his successor. Hálfdan svarti died after ruling for just two years, however, and Sigrøðr fell in battle against his brother Eiríkr blóðøx ‘Blood-axe’ at Tønsberg (932?) (see HHárfHkr ch. 43, ÍF 26, lxxiii, 149). Because both died before Kormákr was born, the only possible addressee of the helmingr is Hákon góði ‘the Good’ Haraldsson, the youngest son of Haraldr hárfagri, who, with the support of Sigurðr jarl, succeeded his brothers as king in Trondheim. — [1] á ‘to’: It is not possible to interpret á ‘to’ as an adv. (so Skj B; Finnur Jónsson 1931, 108-9), because this is a Type A-line, and á must be an unstressed, proclitic prep. modifying Sýrar in the cadence (no sentence boundary can fall between metrical positions 4 and 5 in this type of line). The latter word must therefore be part of the poetry-kenning (see Note to ll. 1, 2, 3, 4 above), though quite a bulky one. — [2] sannreynis ‘of the true friend’: The word means lit. ‘true tester’, which can denote somebody who tests the strength of someone, but likewise also someone who knows someone’s mind, hence a friend. The cpd has always been interpreted as ‘friend’, see LP (1860): sannreynir (verus explorator i.e. amicus ‘true explorer i.e. friend’); LP: sannreynir. In SnE 1998, II, 382 the word is explained as ‘one who has proved sby true or has proved true to sby’, however with a question mark. Sannreynir is only attested here and in one ms. (105) of ÚlfrU Lv 1/2V (Kristni 5). — [3] aurgreppa ‘of the mud-men’: The cpd ǫrgreppa adopted by Kock (see Note above) is unacceptable because ǫr- ‘bold, intense’ in compounds is, in most cases, affixed to agent nouns, to participles or to deverbal adjectives to qualify the action (cf. also Kuhn 1936b, 149-50). Greppr ‘man’ belongs to none of these categories. The metre (Type E3) tends to favour a cpd in metrical positions 1-3 and aurgreppa ‘of the mud-men’ has been adopted here (the mss have ‘avr’ (R, W, U) and ‘aur’ ()) because aur- is a common element in giants’ names (LP: Aurboða, Aurgelmir, Aurgrímnir, Aurnir). Aur- does not, however, function as a determinant in this giant-kenning; that role falls to fentanna ‘of fen-teeth [ROCKS]’ (l. 2).

Runic data from Samnordisk runtextdatabas, Uppsala universitet, unless otherwise stated