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Runic Dictionary

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Skáldhelgi Þórðarson (ShÞ)

11th century; volume 3; ed. Kari Ellen Gade;

Fragment (Frag) - 1

Skáldhelgi ‘Poet-Helgi’ Þórðarson (ShÞ) was an Icelander who must have lived at the beginning of the eleventh century. According to Landnámabók (ÍF 1, 86, 212-13), he was the great-grandson of the settler Ásgeirr, who came to western Iceland with Hrómundr of Gilsbakki and settled at Hamarr near Helgavatn. Skáldhelgi was married to Þordís, great-granddaughter of the famous chieftain Miðfjarðar-Skeggi. His life is commemorated in seven rímur (see LH 1894-1901, I, 504; Jón Þorkelsson 1888, 134-6), which were most likely based on a now lost saga about him. The rímur focus on his love affairs, travels and final days in Greenland, where he is said to have been the last lawspeaker (LH 1894-1901, I, 504). All that remains of Skáldhelgi’s poetry is the couplet edited here, as well as three stanzas addressed to a sorceress (ShÞ Sorceress 1-3V) preserved in ms. BLAdd 11242ˣ. These may have been contained in the no longer extant saga (see Jón Helgason 1976), and they are therefore published in SkP V.

Fragment — ShÞ FragIII

Kari Ellen Gade 2017, ‘ Skáldhelgi Þórðarson, Fragment’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 351. <> (accessed 16 September 2021)

stanzas:  1 

Skj: Skáld-Helgi Þórðarson: Et ubestemmeligt brudstykke (AI, 308, BI, 286); stanzas (if different): [v]

SkP info: III, 351

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

1 — ShÞ Frag 1III

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2017, ‘Skáldhelgi Þórðarson, Fragment 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. 351.

Megut jarna fet fyrnask;
friðarskepjandi miðjum.

{Fet jarna} megut fyrnask; friðarskepjandi miðjum.

{The steps of iron-weapons} [WOUNDS] cannot be forgotten; peacemaker … the middle.

Mss: 742ˣ(24v), 1496ˣ(53r)

Editions: Skj: Skáld-Helgi Þórðarson, Et ubestemmeligt brudstykke: AI, 308, BI, 286, Skald I, 146, NN §§1124A, 2338B.

Context: The couplet is cited as an illustration of heiti (kennings) for ‘wounds’.

Notes: [All]: The couplet is too fragmentary to allow for an interpretation. The first line, which contains the kenning for ‘wounds’ (fet jarna lit. ‘steps of irons’), is fairly certain, but l. 2 cannot be construed to make sense as it stands. Finnur Jónsson (Skj B) gives friðar skepjandi … miðjum, which is translated as fredstifteren … ‘the peacemaker …’. Kock (NN §1124A) takes miðjum as dat. pl. of mið ‘fishing ground’ (rather than as dat. pl. of the adj. miðr ‘middle’) and translates friðar skepjandi miðjum as a form of address: o, du fiskevattnens skydd! ‘oh, protector of fishing grounds!’. In view of the incompleteness of the fragment, that interpretation is not persuasive. Further, mið ‘fishing ground’ does not appear to be a n. ja-stem (cf. Fritzner: mið 3, which lists the dat. pl. forms miðum and miðunum). Based on the syntax of the two lines, they seem to form ll. 3-4 of a couplet (with l. 3 as an intercalary independent clause), and the missing two lines must have provided the syntactically necessary elements to make sense of the words in l. 4.

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