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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, 450-1

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

22 — Mark Eirdr 22II

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Jayne Carroll (ed.) 2009, ‘Markús Skeggjason, Eiríksdrápa 22’ 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. 450-1.

Flaustum lukði folka treystir
foldar síðu brimi kníða;
ǫrr vísi bað oddum læsa
úrga strǫnd ok svalri rǫndu.
Hlífum keyrði hersa reifir
harða nýtr of land it ýtra;
hilmir lauk við hergang olman
hauðr Eydana skjaldborg rauðri.

{Treystir folka} lukði brimi kníða síðu foldar flaustum; ǫrr vísi bað læsa úrga strǫnd oddum ok svalri rǫndu. {Harða nýtr reifir hersa} keyrði hlífum of it ýtra land; hilmir lauk hauðr Eydana rauðri skjaldborg við olman hergang.

{The trier of men} [RULER] barricaded the wave-lashed edge of the land with ships; the generous leader commanded the wet shore to be sealed with spear-points and a chilly shield. {The very bountiful gladdener of hersar} [RULER] drove shields around the outer land; the prince shut off the earth of the Island-Danes with a red shield-wall during the furious onslaught.

Mss: (158), 873ˣ(52r-v), 180b(30v) (Knýtl)

Readings: [1] Flaustum: flaustrum 180b;    folka: folk á 180b    [2] kníða: ‘kuida’ 180b    [4] úrga: víga 873ˣ;    ok: á 873ˣ;    svalri: snjallri 180b    [6] harða: harðla 180b    [7] hergang: hernað 180b

Editions: Skj: Markús Skeggjason, 1. Eiríksdrápa 24: AI, 449, BI, 418, Skald I, 206; 1741, 158-9, ÍF 35, 227 (ch. 76).

Context: After the campaign, Eiríkr left men behind in Wendland to secure that country, and he then set sail for Denmark via the island of Öland.

Notes: [All]: For the custom of blockading the coasts with ships and spears, see Notes to Steinn Óldr 8/4 and Halli XI Fl 1/1, 5. — [All]: It looks as though the compiler of Knýtl misunderstood the geographical information provided by the st. (ÍF 35, 227): Hann kom fyrst við Eyland skipum sínum, er hann kom sunnan af Vinðlandi, sem Markús segir ‘He first came to Öland with his ships when he returned north from Wendland, as Markús says’. The island of Öland (Eyland) is located in the Baltic off the south-eastern coast of Sweden (Småland), and it was never a part of Denmark. While it is by no means unlikely that Eiríkr could have put to shore in Öland on his way back, he certainly had no reason to fortify or protect that island. The misunderstanding most likely arose from the phrase hauðr Eydana ‘the earth of the Island-Danes’ (l. 8), which refers to the Dan. islands off the south-eastern coast of Denmark and not to Öland. Hence the st. seems to describe Eiríkr securing the coasts of Denmark (and the Dan. islands) before (or after?) he was campaigning in Wendland. — [1] flaustum ‘with ships’: For the later form flaustrum ‘with ships’ (so 180b), see Note to st. 4/2 above. — [7] við olman hergang ‘during the furious onslaught’: Skj B and Skald adopt the 180b variant hernað ‘campaign’ (not so ÍF 35), which looks like a lectio facilior. — [8] Eydana ‘of the Island-Danes’: Skj B construes this with hilmir (hilmir Eydana ‘the prince of the Island-Danes’), which is possible but unlikely since hilmir is otherwise not accompanied by an ethnic qualifier (see LP: hilmir). For Eydanir, see also Arn Hardr 6/2.

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