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.

Runic Dictionary

login: password: stay logged in: help

Markús Skeggjason (Mark)

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

Eiríksdrápa (Eirdr) - 32

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.

stanzas:  1   2   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 

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, 448-9

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

19 — Mark Eirdr 19II

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Jayne Carroll (ed.) 2009, ‘Markús Skeggjason, Eiríksdrápa 19’ 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. 448-9.

Heiðinn vildi herr of síðir
hǫmlu vígs ór porti gǫmlu;
urðu þeir, es virki vǫrðu
vangi næst, á hǫnd at ganga.

Heiðinn herr {hǫmlu vígs} vildi of síðir ór gǫmlu porti; þeir, es vǫrðu virki næst vangi, urðu at ganga á hǫnd.

The heathen host {of the staff of battle} [SPEAR] wished [to escape] at last from the old stronghold; those who defended the fort nearest the plain had to submit.

Mss: (156), 873ˣ(51v), 20b I(8r), 180b(30r) (Knýtl)

Readings: [1] Heiðinn: heiðnum 180b;    of síðir: ‘[…]’ 20b I    [2] hǫmlu vígs ór porti gǫmlu: ‘[…]’ 20b I    [3] urðu þeir es virki vǫrðu: ‘[…]’ 20b I    [4] vangi: vængi 180b;    hǫnd at ganga: ‘he[…]’ 20b I;    hǫnd at: hendr 180b

Editions: Skj: Markús Skeggjason, 1. Eiríksdrápa 21: AI, 448, BI, 417, Skald I, 206, NN §917; 1741, 156-7, ÍF 35, 225 (ch. 76).

Context: As sts 14-18 above. After fierce attacks by the Danes, the Wends who had sought refuge in the strongholds submitted to Eiríkr’s army.

Notes: [1, 2] heiðinn herr hǫmlu vígs ‘the heathen host of the staff of battle [SPEAR]’: I.e., a troop armed with spears. So Skald, ÍF 35. For an alternative interpretation, see Note to l. 4 below. — [1] vildi ‘wished [to escape]’: Here, as is common in both prose and poetry, vilja is used elliptically, with the inf. verb of motion understood (and conveyed, in part, in ór ‘out of’). — [2] porti ‘stronghold’: Port (n.) seems here to be used in the sense ‘stronghold’, or more specifically, ‘a citadel, fortified castle by a harbour’ (see LP: port), derived from OE port (< Lat. portus ‘harbour’; see AEW: port 2). If so, it could denote the viking stronghold in Wollin (cf. Saxo 2005, II, 12, 4, 2, pp. 72-3 and Note to st. 13 [All]). In poetry, the word occurs in this meaning only here. More commonly port means ‘gate’ (see Fritzner: port), derived from OE port (< Lat. porta ‘gate, door’; see AEW: port 1). — [4] vangi ‘the plain’: In Skj B this is taken as the base-word in a kenning for ‘shield’, vangi hǫmlu vígs ‘plain of the stake of battle [SPEAR > SHIELD]’ (ll. 2, 4) which functions instrumentally with the verb phrase vǫrðu virki ‘defended the fort (with the shield)’ (l. 3). Given Markús’s apparent preference for syntactic units corresponding to single ll. or couplets, and his sparing use of tvíkennt kennings, the reading offered above (as in ÍF 35 and Skald; see NN §917) is preferable.

© 2008-