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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.

 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, 435-6

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

3 — Mark Eirdr 3II

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Jayne Carroll (ed.) 2009, ‘Markús Skeggjason, Eiríksdrápa 3’ 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. 435-6.

Fœðir sótti fremðarráða
foldar vǫrðu austr í Garða;
auði gœddu allvald prúðan
ítrir menn, þeirs hnøggvi slíta.
Stillir varð of austrveg allan
einkar tíðr inn mærðarblíði;
hinn vas engr, es hans nafn kunnit
heiðarmanns í lofi reiða.

{Fœðir fremðarráða} sótti {vǫrðu foldar} austr í Garða; ítrir menn, þeirs slíta hnøggvi, gœddu prúðan allvald auði. Inn mærðarblíði stillir varð einkar tíðr of allan austrveg; hinn vas engr, es kunnit reiða nafn hans, heiðarmanns, í lofi.

{The nourisher of outstanding actions} [RULER] visited {the guardians of the earth} [RULERS] east in Russia; glorious men, who destroy stinginess, endowed the magnificent mighty ruler with wealth. The praise-pleased prince came to be very popular throughout all the eastern regions; there was no person who was not able to proclaim his name, the man of honour’s, in praise.

Mss: (142), 873ˣ(48r), 20b I(6v), 180b(29r) (Knýtl)

Readings: [2] Garða: Gǫrðum 180b    [4] þeirs (‘þeir er’): er 180b;    hnøggvi: ‘hroggui’ 873ˣ, hneyki 180b    [5] Stillir: ‘stillr’ 20b I;    varð: ‘rad’ 873ˣ    [6] tíðr: tíðum 180b    [7] hinn: hnum 180b;    vas (‘var’): varð 20b I, 180b;    engr: engi 180b;    hans: so 180b, hann JÓ, 873ˣ, 20b I;    kunnit: so 20b I, kynnit JÓ, 873ˣ, ‘kunnegt’ 180b    [8] heiðar: ‘herdar‑’ 180b

Editions: Skj: Markús Skeggjason, 1. Eiríksdrápa 4: AI, 445, BI, 414, Skald I, 204, NN §2788; 1741, 142-3, ÍF 35, 212 (ch. 70).

Context: Eiríkr’s journey to and reception in Russia (Garðaríki).

Notes: [All]: No other sources mention Eiríkr’s journey to Russia, which, according to the chronology of Knýtl, must have taken place prior to the death of his brother, Óláfr (r. 1086-95). The prose of Knýtl is clearly derived from the content of the poetry here. According to Saxo (2005, II, 12, 1, 1, pp. 62-3), Eiríkr and his wife, Bóthildr (Botilda), went into voluntary exile in Sweden in 1086 when Óláfr returned to Denmark from captivity in Flanders. — [1] fœðir fremðarráða ‘the nourisher of outstanding actions [RULER]’: This kenning is a good example of Markús’s adaptation of traditional skaldic vocabulary. Fœðir, lit. ‘feeder’, is a common base-word in early poetry, usually coupled with a beast-of-battle determinant (see LP: fœðir). Here, the base-word, qualified by the unexpected fremðarráða ‘of outstanding actions’ has a transferred sense of ‘promoter, fosterer’. In general, Markús is fond of using longer, unique compounds in his poetry. — [2] Garða ‘Russia’: The area known as Garðar or Garðaríki encompassed a different area from that of the modern Russian state. It extended south from the Arctic to the Black Sea, and east from Poland to the Ural mountains. Noonan (1997) uses the phrase ‘European Russia’ to denote the areas where Viking Age Scandinavians were active. See also Note to Hharð Gamv 1/7. — [4] þeirs slíta hnøggvi ‘who destroy stinginess’: I.e. they give lavishly. See also Steinn Óldr 13/3, 4. — [4] hnøggvi ‘stinginess’: Hneyki (m. acc. sg.) ‘oppressor’, the reading of 180b, offers a metrically acceptable but contextually unlikely alternative. — [5] austrveg ‘eastern regions’: Lit. ‘eastern way’. In ON literature, this encompassed two areas, namely, the coastal section (from Denmark along the southern and south-eastern coast of the Baltic) and the river section, i.e. the Eastern European river routes to Byzantium (see Melnikova 1996, 13, 27, 29 and Map 2; Sverrir Jakobsson 2006). In this particular case, it is likely that the term was applied in the first and narrow sense (but including north-western Russia). — [6] mærðarblíði ‘praise-pleased’:  Skj B translates this as veltalende ‘eloquent’ and LP: mærð gives blid, venlig i (folks) omtale, berömmet for sin venlighed ‘mild, kind in (people’s) opinion, praised for his friendliness’. NN §2788, pointing out that blíði is the ‘base’ adj. qualifying stillir, offers som kan glädja sig åt berömmelse ‘who can be made happy by praise’, therefore berömd ‘renowned’. ‘Praise-pleased’ conveys this sense, and also the structure of the ON cpd. See also Note to l. 1 above. — [7] vas ‘was’: Varð ‘was’ (lit. ‘became’, so 20b I, 180b) is also possible (adopted by Skj B, Skald and ÍF 35).

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