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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Sigvatr Þórðarson (Sigv)

11th century; volume 1; ed. Judith Jesch;

3. Austrfararvísur (Austv) - 21

Skj info: Sigvatr Þórðarson, Islandsk skjald, o. 995-o. 1045 (AI, 223-75, BI, 213-54).

Skj poems:
1. Víkingarvísur
2. Nesjavísur
3. Austrfararvísur
4. En drape om kong Olaf
5. Vestrfararvísur
6. Et kvad om Erlingr Skjalgsson
7. Flokkr om Erlingr Skjalgsson
8. Tryggvaflokkr
9. Et digt om dronning Astrid
10. Knútsdrápa
11. Bersǫglisvísur
12. Erfidrápa Óláfs helga
13. Lausavísur
14. Et par halvvers af ubestemmelige digte

Sigvatr or Sighvatr Þórðarson (Sigv) is said (ÍF 27, 54) to have been the son of Þórðr Sigvaldaskáld ‘Poet of Sigvaldi’, an Icelander who served, in succession, Sigvaldi jarl Strút-Haraldsson, leader of the Jómsvíkingar, his brother Þorkell inn hávi ‘the Tall’, who campaigned in England, and Óláfr Haraldsson, later king of Norway (r. c. 1015-30) and saint. Þórðr is listed as one of Sigvaldi’s skalds in Skáldatal (SnE 1848-87, III, 259, 268), but none of his poetry survives. The family tradition of poetry can also be traced in Óttarr svarti ‘the Black’, said to have been Sigvatr’s sister’s son (ÍF 27, 144; ÓH 1941, I, 203). Sigvatr was brought up by a certain Þorkell, at Apavatn in south-west Iceland. When nearly fully grown he sailed to what is now Trondheim, where he met up with his father and joined King Óláfr’s retinue. According to Snorri (ÍF 27, 54-6; ÓH 1941, I, 81-3), Sigvatr recited Lv 2-3 at this time, and he interceded with the king on behalf of Icelandic merchants forced to pay a heavy tax in Norway (cf. Sigv Lv 4). It is also likely that this is when Þórðr provided Sigvatr with the material for Víkv (see Introduction to Sigv Víkv), which may be the poem referred to in the prose introduction to Sigv Lv 2 (Fidjestøl 1982, 118). There is no evidence that Sigvatr ever returned to Iceland, and according to the anecdote in which Sigv Lv 11 is preserved, he died on the island of Selja in north-western Norway and was buried at Kristskirkja (Kristkirken) in Trondheim. His poetry records his various journeys to Sweden, England and the Continent, as well as incidents in Norway. We know nothing of Sigvatr’s private life, except that he had a daughter called Tófa, who had King Óláfr himself as her godfather (Sigv Lv 19).

Sigvatr’s surviving poetic oeuvre is both large and remarkably diverse, encompassing different kinds of encomia not only on King Óláfr (Sigv Víkv, Sigv Nesv, Sigv Óldr, Sigv ErfÓl), but also on King Knútr of Denmark (Sigv Knútdr) and the Norwegian nobleman Erlingr Skjálgsson (Sigv Erl, Sigv Erlfl). Sigvatr was godfather to King Magnús inn góði ‘the Good’ Óláfsson and composed some avuncular words of advice to the boy-king (Sigv BervII). All of these patrons are recognised in Skáldatal (SnE 1848-87, III, 252-4, 258, 260-2, 269), where Sigvatr is also credited with having composed for the Swedish king Ǫnundr Óláfsson (although no such poetry survives, cf. Sigv Knútdr 4/6) and the Norwegian chieftain Ívarr inn hvíti ‘the White’ (cf. Context to Sigv Lv 8). Sigvatr also composed a poem on the Norwegian pretender Tryggvi Óláfsson (Sigv Tryggfl) and is unique in having composed in dróttkvætt in praise of a woman, Óláfr Haraldsson’s widow Ástríðr Óláfsdóttir (Sigv Ást). Several of Sigvatr’s poems are more or less loosely connected sequences of stanzas rather than more formal compositions, and encompass both travelogue (Sigv Austv) and political commentary (Sigv Vestv, Sigv BervII). The latter genre is also well represented in his lausavísur, which also include some remarkably personal stanzas expressing his grief at the death of King Óláfr (Sigv Lv 22-4). Sigvatr’s status as a hǫfuðskáld ‘chief skald’ was recognised in the twelfth century (cf. Esk Geisl 12/8VII). His versatility as a poet has clearly inspired a number of anecdotes focusing on the composition of poetry, mostly of doubtful authenticity (cf. Contexts to Sigv Lv 1, 8, 11, 27; also Introduction to Ótt Hfl). Apart from two fragments preserved in SnE (Sigv Frag 1-2III), Sigvatr’s poetry is transmitted in a wide range of texts within the tradition of the kings’ sagas and is therefore edited in this volume or (in the case of the late Sigv Berv) in SkP II. For general studies of Sigvatr’s life and works, see Paasche (1917), Hollander (1940) and Petersen (1946).

Austrfararvísur (‘Verses on a Journey to the East’) — Sigv AustvI

R. D. Fulk 2012, ‘ Sigvatr Þórðarson, Austrfararvísur’ in Diana Whaley (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 1: From Mythical Times to c. 1035. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 1. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 578. <> (accessed 30 June 2022)

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Skj: Sigvatr Þórðarson: 3. Austrfararvísur, 1019 (AI, 233-40, BI, 220-5)

SkP info: I, 604

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

15 — Sigv Austv 15I

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Note: The following transcriptions have been entered to aid the editing process. These may not have been fully reviewed and checked and may therefore not be reliable. You may wish to consult the manuscript images. Any corrections can be notified to the database editor.

 Holm2 Oss hafa augo þessi islenzc konan visat brattan | stig at bavgi biortom langt en svorto . sia hefir mioðnannan manni min okvnnar þinom fø | tr a fornar bravtir fulldrengila gengit .   [RDF]  edit 
 325V Oss hafa augvn þessi | isleɴzk konan visat  brattan stig at | bavgi ᷎ biortvm langt hin svortv : | sia hefir mioðnannan maɴi : mínv | kvɴar þínvm : fætr a fornar bravtir ᷎ fvll | drengila gengit᷎   [VEÞ]  edit 
 R686x Oss hafa aúgu þæssi, Jslendsk konan uisat, brast | tan stig at bavgi, biortum langt en suorto; Sia hefr miodnannan, | menn min o kunnar þínum, fętr a fornar brutir, fuldr engila gen | git .   [RDF]  edit 
 972x Oss hafa augo þessi | Islensko kona výsad | brattan stig at baugi | biortum langt en-svorto: | sia hefr miodnannan manni | min okunnar þinnum | fotur um fornar brautir | fulldreingliga geingit. |   [VEÞ]  edit 
 972x Oss hafa augo thessi Islensk ko | nan visat brattan stigat baugi | biortom langt en sverto. Sia | hefer miodnannan manni min | okunnar tino főter a̋ fornar | brauter fulldrengila gengit. |   [VEÞ]  edit 
 J2x Os hafa ꜹgu þessi | Jslenzk konan visað | brattann stig af bauge | biortum langt in svꜹrto | sa hefir mioðnannann manne | min okunnar þinom | fætr a fornar brautir | fulldrengila gengit |   [RDF]  edit 
 325VI Oss hafa | augvn þessi . islenzk konan visat . brattan | stig at baugi . biortum langt hin suavrtu | sia hefir míodnannan minni . minn okunnar þínvm | fot a fornar bravtir . fulldreingiliga geingit |   [RDF]  edit 
 75a Oss hafa aúgu þessi . íslenzk kon | an uisat . brattan stíg at báugi . | biꜹrtum langt en suꜹrtu . siá | hefir mioð nannan manni . min ó | kunnar þínum . føtr á fornar br | autir . full dreíngiliga geingit . |   [RDF]  edit 
 321x oss hafa augu þessi . | islenzk konan visat . brattann stig at baugi biaurtum langt en suꜹrtu . | sía hefer miod jannann manni . min okunnar þinum . fø᷎tr a fornar brauter | full dreingiliga geingit .   [VEÞ]  edit 
 73ax Oss hafa augun þessí | islenðzk kona wisat . | brattan stígh at baugí | | bío᷎rtum langt hín svo᷎rtu : | sea hefir mioðnannan manní | mín okunnar þínum . fótr ꜳ fornar brautír | fullðrengila gengit |   [RDF]  edit 
 68 Oμ hafa avgon þeμi islenzc konan visat brattan stig at bavgi biortom langt hiɴ | svortv  sa hefir mioþnaɴan maɴi min okvɴar þinom fǽtr a fornar bravtir fulldrengila gengit . |   [RDF]  edit 
 61 Oss hafa augun þessi islendzk konan uisat | brattan stígh at baughi . biortum langt hín svo᷎rtu . sa hefir mio᷎ð | nannan manni . mínn okuɴan þinum . fotr ꜳ fornar brautir fulldrengila | gengit .   [RDF]  edit 
 Holm4 Oss hafa ꜹgun þesse islenzk kona uisat brat | tan stig at bꜹge biortum langt en suꜹrtu . sea | hefir miøð nannan manne minn okunnar þinum | fotr afornar brꜹtir fulldrengila gengit . |   [RDF]  edit 
 325VII Oss hafa augo þæssi islænzk konan visat brattan stig at bauge . biortum langt en suꜵrtu  sia hefir mioðnannan | manne mín o kunnar þínom [altered later to kunnan sínom] . fetr a fornar brautir . fulldrengilega gengit .   [RDF]  edit 
 Flat Oss h | afa o᷎gun þessí islenzsk kona visat brattan stig at baugi bíortum | ʀett hín suortu sia hefir míod nanna manní mín okunnar þinum | fætr afornar brautir full dreíngiliga geingít ᷎   [RDF]  edit 
 Tóm Oss hafa | augun þessí jslendz konan uísat . brattan stíg ꜳ́ baugí . bíortum langt env suorttv . sia hefir | miod nannan manní . mín okunnar þínum . fꜽtr ꜳ̋ fornar bravtir . full dreíngilíga geíngit |   [RDF]  edit 
 Kx Os hafa ꜹgun þessi | isleɴzc konan vísat | brattan stíg at bꜹgi | biortum langt hin svorto | sia hefir mioðnaɴan maɴe | miɴ okuɴan þinom | fotr a fornar brꜹ́tir | fulldrengila gengit |   [RDF]  edit 
 Bb Oss hafa ꜹgvn | þessi islenzk konan visatt . brattan stig | at bꜹgi . biortvm langt en svortv . sia | hefir miod nannann mínn okvnnir þínvm | fętr a fornar brꜹter fulldrengiliga gengit |   [RDF]  edit 
 761bx Oss hafa augun þessi | Jslendzk konan visat | brattan stig at baugi | biortum langt hin suo᷎rtu | sia hefir mio᷎þnannan manni | min okunnar þinum | fotr a fornar brautir | fulldrengila gengit . |   [RDF]  edit 

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