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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Markús Skeggjason (Mark)

12th century; volume 2; ed. Jayne Carroll;

Eiríksdrápa (Eirdr) - 32

Skj info: Markús Skeggjason, Isl. lovsigemand og skjald, d. 1107. (AI, 444-53, BI, 414-21).

Skj poems:
1. Eiríksdrápa
2. Knútsdrápa(?)
3. Kristsdrápa(?)
4. Lausavísur

Markús Skeggjason (Mark) was the son of Skeggi Bjarnason and possibly a brother of the poet Þórarinn Skeggjason (ÞSkegg). He was lawspeaker in Iceland from 1084 until his death on 15 October 1107. In Íslendingabók (Íslb, ÍF 1, 22) he is named as an important informant for Ari Þorgilsson about the lives of the earlier lawspeakers in Iceland. He had gained this information from his brother, father and grandfather. Markús appears to have had close ties to the Church: during his time as lawspeaker, and with his guidance, Gizurr Ísleifsson, bishop of Skálholt (1081-1118), established the Icel. tithe laws (ÍF 1, 22). Markús was among the most respected poets in the canon of the C13th and he is cited often in SnE and TGT (see below).

In Skáldatal, Markús is associated with S. Knútr Sveinsson of Denmark (d. 1086), Eiríkr inn góði ‘the Good’ Sveinsson of Denmark (d. 1103), and Ingi Steinkelsson of Sweden (d. 1110) (SnE 1848-87, III, 252, 258, 260, 267, 271, 283, see also 348-53). An extended hrynhent poem about Eiríkr (Mark Eirdr), composed after his death in 1103, and one helmingr about ‘Sveinn’s brother’, probably S. Knútr (Mark KnútdrIII), survive, alongside one helmingr and a couplet from a possible drápa about Christ (Mark KristdrIII) and two lvv. (Mark Lv 1-2III). Aside from Eirdr, all of Markús’s extant poetry is transmitted in SnE or TGT, and it has been edited in SkP III.

Eiríksdrápa (‘Drápa about Eiríkr’) — Mark EirdrII

Jayne Carroll 2009, ‘(Introduction to) Markús Skeggjason, Eiríksdrápa’ 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. 432-60.

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Skj: Markús Skeggjason: 1. Eiríksdrápa, o. 1104 (AI, 444-52, BI, 414-20); stanzas (if different): 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30 | 31 | 32

SkP info: II, 439-41

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

8 — Mark Eirdr 8II

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Jayne Carroll (ed.) 2009, ‘Markús Skeggjason, Eiríksdrápa 8’ 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. 439-41.

Lýst skal hitt, es lofðungr fýstisk
langan veg til Róms at ganga
— fylkir þar friðland balkat
Fenneyjar hlið — dýrð at nenna.


It shall be brought to light, that the leader desired to walk the long way to Rome to engage in glory; the ruler saw there the protected secured land, the gates of Venice.

context: Eiríkr embarked on a pilgrimage and walked all the way to Rome.

notes: Knýtl offers no motivation for Eiríkr’s decision to travel to Rome; the text merely states that Eiríkr konungr bjó ferð sína af landi í brott…. Hann gerði mǫnnum kunnigt, at hann ætlaði suðr til Róms ‘King Eiríkr prepared his journey away from the country and abroad…. He announced to people that he intended to travel south to Rome’ (ÍF 35, 217). According to Saxo (2005, II, 12, 5, 1-2, pp. 72-3), Eiríkr had been excommunicated by the archbishop of Hamburg-Bremen on false accusations, and he went to Rome to clear his case. He was so enraged that he also decided to plead to the Pope for the establishment of an archbishopric on Dan. soil, so as to sever the ties to Hamburg-Bremen. — [1-4]: (a) The reading offered here follows 180b with one emendation: nema ‘gain, take’ (l. 4; so 180b) is unmetrical (the metre requires a long syllable in position 7, and nem- is short, and moreover, it does not provide the necessary internal rhyme with Fenn-). If we assume that nema is a scribal corruption (lectio facilior), it is likely that the original version supplied the verb nenna ‘engage in, be occupied with’ construed with a dat. object (see LP: nenna; Fritzner: nenna 1.a). (b) Skj B (so also ÍF 35) adopts the reading of the A-class mss, which can be rendered as follows:

Lýst skal hitt, es lofðungr fýstisk
langan veg til Róms at ganga
— fylkir sá þar friðland balkat
Fenneyjar — lið dýrð at venja.

Prose order: Hitt skal lýst, es lofðungr fýstisk at ganga langan veg til Róms at venja lið dýrð; fylkir sá þar balkat friðland Fenneyjar. Translation: It shall be brought to light, that the leader desired to walk the long way to Rome to prepare his troop for glory; the ruler saw there the protected secured land of Venice. This version is, however, metrically highly problematic. The first four syllables of l. 4 belong to a D4- or E-type l., and the word in position 4, in this case lið ‘troop’, otherwise always forms a syntactic unit with the words in positions 1-3. (c) Kock (Skald; NN §2789) emends lið to sik ‘himself’, suggesting that venja sik e-u ‘prepare oneself for sth.’, a common construction, gives better sense as Eiríkr is unlikely to make a pilgrimage for the good of his troop, and st. 12 states that he undertakes it ‘to redeem his soul’ (at bœta sl). However, his proposal that a scribe mistook <ſik> for <lid> seems unlikely, and in any case the resulting l. does not resolve the syntactic disjunction.

texts: Knýtl 37

editions: Skj Markús Skeggjason: 1. Eiríksdrápa 10 (AI, 446; BI, 415-16);  Skald I, 205, NN §2789; 1741, 148-9, ÍF 35, 217-18 (ch. 74).


Jón Ólafsson 1741 (JÓ) 148 - 148 (Knýtl)  transcr.  image  
NKS 873 4°x (873x) 49v, 5 - 49v, 8 (Knýtl)  transcr.  image  
AM 20 b I fol (20b I) 7r, 16 - 7r, 17 (Knýtl)  transcr.  image  
AM 180 b fol (180b) 29v, 16 - 29v, 17 (Knýtl)  transcr.  image  
AM 1005 4°x (1005x) 40v, 17 - 40v, 19 (Knýtl)  transcr.  
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