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Markús Skeggjason (Mark)

12th century; volume 2; ed. Jayne Carroll;

III. 2. Fragments (Frag) - 2

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.

Fragments — Mark FragIII

Kari Ellen Gade 2017, ‘ Markús Skeggjason, Fragments’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 293. <> (accessed 24 January 2022)

stanzas:  1   2 

Skj: Markús Skeggjason: 3. Kristsdrápa(?) (AI, 452, BI, 420)

SkP info: III, 293

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

1 — Mark Frag 1III

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2017, ‘Markús Skeggjason, Fragments 1’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 293.

This helmingr (Mark Frag 1) is transmitted in Skm (SnE; mss R (main ms.), , W, U, A) and it is attributed to Markús in all mss. It was also copied in the Y version of LaufE (see LaufE 1979, 285, 364) and (from LaufE Y) in RE 1665(Hh). Neither redaction has been considered in the present edition. The religious content suggests that the half-stanza could have been part of a poem about God or Christ, and Jón Sigurðsson (SnE 1848-87, III, 350) assigns it to a drápa about Christ (Kristdrápa; a title adopted in Skald and, tentatively, in Skj). Fidjestøl (1982, 153), however, argues that both Mark Frag 1 and 2 could have been belonged to Markús Skeggjason’s poem honouring Knútr inn helgi Sveinsson of Denmark (see Introduction to Mark Knútr) above. That cannot be ascertained, and the half-stanza and the couplet are edited as separate fragments here.

Gramr skóp grund ok himna
glyggranns sem her dyggvan;
einn stillir ǫllu
aldar Kristr of valda.


{The ruler {of the storm-house}} [SKY/HEAVEN > = God] created the earth and the heavens as well as faithful men; {the one controller of people}, [= God (= Christ)] Christ, can govern everything.

context: The half-stanza is cited in Skm to illustrate such Christ-kennings as konungr himna ‘king of the heavens’.

notes: [3]: The line echoes Sigv Berv 7/3II.

texts: LaufE 84 (364), Skm 272, SnE 274

editions: Skj Markús Skeggjason: 3. Kristsdrápa(?) 1 (AI, 452; BI, 420); Skald I, 208; SnE 1848-87, I, 448-9, II, 333, 445, III, 90, SnE 1931, 158, SnE 1998, I, 77.


GKS 2367 4° (R) 35v, 11 - 35v, 12 (SnE)  transcr.  image  image  image  
Traj 1374x (Tx) 37r, 6 - 37r, 6 (SnE)  image  
AM 242 fol (W) 80, 29 - 80, 30 (SnE)  image  image  image  
DG 11 (U) 34v, 2 - 34v, 4 (SnE)  image  
AM 748 I b 4° (A) 12r, 30 - 12r, 31 (SnE)  transcr.  image  image  
Runic data from Samnordisk runtextdatabas, Uppsala universitet, unless otherwise stated