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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, 457-8

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

28 — Mark Eirdr 28II

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Jayne Carroll (ed.) 2009, ‘Markús Skeggjason, Eiríksdrápa 28’ 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. 457-8.

Hildingr þá við hæst lof aldar
hǫfgan auð í gulli rauðu
halfa lest af harra sjǫlfum
harða vitr í Miklagarði.
Áðan tók við allvalds klæðum
Eirekr; þó vas gefit fleira;
reynir veitti herskip hônum
hersa máttar sex ok átta.

Harða vitr hildingr þá við hæst lof aldar hǫfgan auð í rauðu gulli, halfa lest, af harra sjǫlfum í Miklagarði. Áðan tók Eirekr við klæðum allvalds; þó vas fleira gefit; {reynir máttar hersa} veitti hônum sex ok átta herskip.

The very wise ruler received along with the highest praise of men weighty wealth in red gold, half a lest, from the lord himself in Constantinople. Previously Eiríkr accepted the clothes of the mighty ruler; yet even more was given; {the trier of the might of hersar} [RULER = Byzantine emperor] granted him six and eight warships.

Mss: (168), 873ˣ(55v-56r), 180b(31v), 20b II(3va) (Knýtl)

Readings: [4] harða: harðla 180b;    vitr: ‘uidr’ 873ˣ, ríkr 180b, 20b II    [5] klæðum: skrúði 180b, 20b II    [6] Eirekr: so all others, Eireki JÓ;    þó vas gefit: at gefit var 180b

Editions: Skj: Markús Skeggjason, 1. Eiríksdrápa 30: AI, 451, BI, 419, Skald I, 207, NN §2790; 1741, 168-9, ÍF 35, 237-8 (ch. 81).

Context: The reception that Eiríkr received from Emperor Alexios when he arrived in Constantinople.

Notes: [All]: For Eiríkr’s splendid reception by the Byzantine emperor, see also Saxo (2005, II, 12, 7, 1-6, pp. 78-83). It is interesting that his stay in Constantinople is not documented at all in contemporary Gk sources (see ÍF 35, 238 n. 1). — [3] halfa lest ‘half a lest’: A lest was a unit of measurement, about 1250 kg in weight. According to Knýtl (ÍF 35, 237), Alexios gave Eiríkr the choice between receiving the gift of the gold and getting the opportunity to watch the games in the hippodrome. Because Eiríkr was getting short of money, he chose the gold. When Alexios later made a similar offer to the Norw. king Sigurðr jórsalafari ‘Jerusalem-farer’ Magnússon, Sigurðr chose the games because he, in the words of Knýtl, fór þá heimleiðis ok hafði þá lokit inum mesta fékostnaði í ferð sinni ‘was then on his way back home and most of the expenses for his journey had then come to an end’. For Alexios’s offer to Sigurðr, see ÍF 28, 253 and Mork 1928-32, 349-50. It could well be that the inclusion of this episode in Knýtl, which shows verbal correspondences with Hkr and Mork, was prompted by the gold mentioned in this st. The gold is also mentioned by Saxo (2005, II, 12, 7, 5, pp. 80-3). — [4] vitr ‘wise’: Ríkr ‘powerful’ (so 180b and 20b II), which is adopted in Skj B and Skald, is an acceptable alternative. — [5] klæðum ‘clothes’: 180b and 20b II offer the alternative skrúði ‘apparel’, preferred by both Skj B and Skald. — [6] Eirekr (m. nom. sg.) ‘Eiríkr’: So 873ˣ, 180b, 20b II. Taken here as the subject of the first cl. of the second helmingr. So also Skald, but Kock retains the 180b variant þó at gefit var fleira ‘although more was given’, which is unmetrical (requiring resolution on the third lift and full stress on the adv. þó as part of the conj. þó at ‘although’). Eireki (m. dat. sg., so JÓ) could function as the dat. object of the second cl.: þó vas fleira gefit Eireki ‘yet even more was given to Eiríkr’ (so earlier eds except Skald). However, the JÓ reading looks like a syntactic simplification, and the neutralisation on the last two syllables of the name (required by the metre) would be highly irregular in C12th hrynhent. — [7, 8] sex ok átta herskip ‘six and eight warships’: The emperor’s gift of warships is also mentioned by Saxo (2005, II, 12, 7, 6, pp. 82-3), but the number is not specified.

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