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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, ‘ 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. <> (accessed 5 July 2022)

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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, 439

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

7 — Mark Eirdr 7II

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Jayne Carroll (ed.) 2009, ‘Markús Skeggjason, Eiríksdrápa 7’ 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, p. 439.

Hróðigr átti brynþings beiðir
bjartan auð ok frœknligt hjarta
minni gnógt ok manvit annat
mest; fylgðu því hvergi lestir.
Alla hafði ǫðlingr snilli;
ungr nam hann á margar tungur;
Eirekr vas, sás mátti meira,
mestr ofrhugi, jǫfri flestum.

{Hróðigr beiðir {brynþings}} átti bjartan auð ok frœknligt hjarta, gnógt minni ok mest annat manvit; lestir fylgðu hvergi því. Ǫðlingr hafði alla snilli; ungr nam hann á margar tungur; Eirekr, sás mátti meira flestum jǫfri, vas mestr ofrhugi.

{The famed convenor {of the byrnie-meeting}} [BATTLE > WARRIOR] had bright wealth and a brave heart, abundant memory and other common sense to the highest degree; flaws did not accompany that. The ruler had absolute eloquence; when young he learned many languages; Eiríkr, who could do more than most princes, was the most courageous.

Mss: (146), 873ˣ(49r), 20b I(7r), 180b(29v) (Knýtl)

Readings: [1] brynþings: byrðings 180b    [2] frœknligt: ‘frøklikt’ 20b I, ‘freglikt’ 180b    [3] gnógt: ‘nogt’ 20b I    [4] fylgðu: so 20b I, 180b, fylgði JÓ, 873ˣ    [6] á: om. 20b I, 180b

Editions: Skj: Markús Skeggjason, 1. Eiríksdrápa 9: AI, 446, BI, 415, Skald I, 205; 1741, 146-7, ÍF 35, 217 (ch. 73).

Context: Eiríkr’s personal qualities of intelligence, courage and eloquence.

Notes: [All]: According to Saxo (2005, II, 12, 3, 2-3, pp. 66-9), Eiríkr had a superior intellect, he was very eloquent and an excellent speaker at assemblies. Saxo also emphasises his great stature and physical strength. — [1] brynþings ‘of the byrnie-meeting’: 180b offers the alternative reading byrðings (m. gen. sg.) ‘of the ship’, giving the kenning beiðir byrðings ‘bidder/demander of the ship’, i.e. ‘seafarer’ (cf. Anon Pl 38/7VII). — [6] ungr nam hann á margar tungur ‘when young he learned many languages’: Lit. ‘he learned in many languages’. According to Knýtl (ÍF 35, 219), Eiríkr did not need an interpreter when he travelled abroad. For the ‘foreign language requirement’ in ON literature, see Kalinke 1983.

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