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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, 437-8

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

5 — Mark Eirdr 5II

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Jayne Carroll (ed.) 2009, ‘Markús Skeggjason, Eiríksdrápa 5’ 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. 437-8.

Drengir þôgu auð af yngva;
ǫrr fylkir gaf sverð ok knǫrru;
Eirekr veitti opt ok stórum
armleggjar rǫf dýrðarseggjum.
Hringum eyddi harra sløngvir
hildarramr, en stillir framði
fyrða kyn, svát flestir urðu,
Fróða stóls, af hônum góðir.

Drengir þôgu auð af yngva; ǫrr fylkir gaf sverð ok knǫrru; Eirekr veitti dýrðarseggjum opt ok stórum {rǫf armleggjar}. {Hildarramr sløngvir harra} eyddi hringum, en {stillir {stóls Fróða}} framði kyn fyrða, svát flestir urðu góðir af hônum.

The warriors received wealth from the king; the generous leader gave swords and merchantships; Eiríkr granted glorious men often and freely {the amber of the arm} [GOLD]. {The battle-mighty disperser of lords} [RULER] destroyed rings, and {the controller {of Fróði’s seat}} [= Denmark > = Eiríkr] advanced the kin of men, so that most became wealthy through him.

Mss: (144), 873ˣ(48v), 20b I(6v), 180b(29r) (Knýtl)

Readings: [1] af: at 20b I, 180b    [4] dýrðar: dýrum 180b    [5] sløngvir: so 20b I, 180b, sløngvit JÓ, 873ˣ    [7] kyn: so 20b I, 180b, kyns JÓ, 873ˣ;    svát (‘svá at’): at 180b

Editions: Skj: Markús Skeggjason, 1. Eiríksdrápa 7: AI, 445-6, BI, 415, Skald I, 205-6; 1741, 144-5, ÍF 35, 214-15 (ch. 71).

Context: The st. illustrates Eiríkr’s munificence.

Notes: [All]: For a similar display of royal generosity, see Steinn Óldr 13-16. — [1] drengir ‘warriors’: For this meaning of the word, see Goetting 2006. — [1] af ‘from’: Skj B, Skald and ÍF 35 all prefer at ‘from’ (so 20b I, 180b), which is also possible. — [2] knǫrru ‘merchantships’: See Note to Steinn Óldr 13/2. — [4] dýrðarseggjum ‘glorious men’: Dýrum seggjum ‘precious men’ (so 180b) is also possible but clearly a later simplification. The cpd dýrðarseggjum is a hap. leg. See also Note to st. 3/1 above. — [5] eyddi hringum ‘destroyed rings’: I.e. he distributed treasures. — [5] harra (m. gen. pl.) ‘of lords’: Earlier eds follow Skj B in emending harra to hodda ‘treasures’ (sløngvir hodda ‘the distributor of treasures’, i.e. ‘generous king’), presumably because sløngvir ‘disperser’ is normally qualified by inanimate determinants, especially ones referring to ‘treasure’. Given the ring-distributing context, this is appropriate if tautologous. However, all mss agree on harra, and LP: sløngvir offers a feasible extended meaning for the base-word sløngvir, coupled with harra: som fælder konger (jager dem bort) ‘who fells kings (drives them away)’. — [8] stóls Fróða ‘of Fróði’s seat [= Denmark]’: There are several legendary kings named Fróði (see SnE 1998, II, 460). Here two are most likely alluded to: the Fróði I (inn friðgóði ‘the peaceful’) of the Dan. Skjǫldungr dynasty (ÍF 35, liv-lv, 14) and the legendary figure associated with Fróði’s mill, who sets the two giantesses Fenja and Menja to grind gold for him, as told in Grottasǫngr (Grott, see SnE 1998, I, 51-7). Thus stóls Fróða not only refers to Eiríkr’s Dan. realm, but also to the wealth which is his to disperse. It is possible, although less satisfactory, to take this phrase as qualifying fyrða kyn: kyn fyrða stóls Fróða ‘the kin of men of Fróði’s seat’ i.e. ‘Danes’.

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