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, 436-7

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

4 — Mark Eirdr 4II

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance

 

Cite as: Jayne Carroll (ed.) 2009, ‘Markús Skeggjason, Eiríksdrápa 4’ 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. 436-7.

Vár ǫndurt bjó Vinða rýrir
veglig flaust ór Gǫrðum austan;
hlýrum skaut á hola bôru
helmings oddr í sumars broddi.
Hlýðu studdi borðvið breiðan
bróðir Knúts í veðri óðu;
síðan knátti svikfolks eyðir
snilli kenndr við Danmǫrk lenda.

Ǫndurt vár bjó {rýrir Vinða} veglig flaust austan ór Gǫrðum; í broddi sumars skaut {oddr helmings} hlýrum á hola bôru. {Bróðir Knúts} studdi breiðan borðvið hlýðu í óðu veðri; {eyðir svikfolks}, kenndr snilli, knátti síðan lenda við Danmǫrk.

At the onset of spring {the vanquisher of the Wends} [= Eiríkr] prepared noble ships [to travel] from the east out of Russia; at the beginning of summer {the leader of the unit} [WARRIOR] launched the bows onto the curving billow. {The brother of Knútr} [= Eiríkr] protected the broad plank-wood with a washboard in the turbulent weather; {the destroyer of treacherous people} [JUST RULER], skilled in eloquence, then put to shore in Denmark.

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

Readings: [1] rýrir: ‘tyrir’ 180b    [2] ‑lig: ‑ligt 180b;    flaust: flaustr 180b    [7] knátti: so 20b I, ‘knadi’ JÓ, 873ˣ, ‘knade’ 180b;    ‑folks: ‘‑fiolks’ 180b

Editions: Skj: Markús Skeggjason, 1. Eiríksdrápa 5: AI, 445, BI, 414-15, Skald I, 204-5; 1741, 142-3, ÍF 35, 213 (ch. 70).

Context: Eiríkr’s return from Russia to Denmark (see st. 3 above).

Notes: [All]: As was the case with the previous st., the prose clearly paraphrases the poetry, and no other source mentions Eiríkr’s return to Denmark from this journey to Russia. The saga is also vague on the date of his return, but it seems to have taken place prior to 1095 (see Note to st. 3 [All] above). Saxo (2005, II, 12, 3, 1, pp. 66-7) tells us that Eiríkr was summoned from Sweden to assume the sovereignty of Denmark upon the death of his brother Óláfr (d. 1095). — [2] veglig flaust (n. acc. pl.) ‘noble ships’: Vegligt flaustr, the reading of 180b, is acc. sg. ‘noble ship’, with the later form, flaustr. — [4] helmings ‘of the unit’: For this military term, see Note to Valg Har 4/1. — [5] hlýðu ‘a washboard’: Suggested meanings for hlýða include ‘cabin’ and ‘bow’; see Jesch (2001a, 143) for the range of previous interpretations and argument for ‘washboard’. See also st. 14/3 below and Note to Halli XI, Fl 1/6 above. — [6] Knúts ‘of Knútr’: S. Knútr Sveinsson, Eiríkr’s older brother and king of Denmark (r. 1080-6). — [7] eyðir svikfolks ‘the destroyer of treacherous people [JUST RULER]’: Svikfolk, hap. leg., seems to refer specifically to the Wends, whose treacherous activities are referred to in sts 13-21, in particular, svikdómsmanna ‘of the treacherous men’ st. 13/3. See also the kenning rýrir Vinða ‘the vanquisher of the Wends’ (l. 1) and Note to st. 17/1. Because the Wends were pagan, they were appropriate candidates for opprobrium in Christian eyes, and someone like Eiríkr could be portrayed as especially righteous in opposing them. For the Wends and skaldic poetry, see also Morawiec 2006.

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