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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. <https://skaldic.org/m.php?p=text&i=1303> (accessed 27 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 má ǫllu
aldar Kristr of valda.

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

{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.

Mss: R(35v), Tˣ(37r), W(80), U(34v), A(12r) (SnE)

Readings: [2] dyggvan: so all others, dyggjan R

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.

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

Notes: [1, 2] gramr glyggranns ‘the ruler of the storm-house [SKY/HEAVEN > = God]’: In the prose of LaufE X, which does not cite the helmingr, this is given as a kenning for ‘Christ’ (see LaufE 1979, 285 and Note to l. 4 below). — [2] dyggvan ‘faithful’: So , W, U, A. The R reading, dyggjan, is also possible but requires that the adj. is inflected as a ja-stem rather than as a wa-stem (cf. ANG §430 Anm. 4). — [3]: The line echoes Sigv Berv 7/3II. — [4] aldar ... Kristr ‘of people ... Christ’: In LaufE X (and in RE 1665), Kristr aldar ‘Christ of people’ is construed as a kenning for ‘Christ’ (see Note to ll. 1, 2 above).

Runic data from Samnordisk runtextdatabas, Uppsala universitet, unless otherwise stated