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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 18 May 2022)

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

SkP info: I, 606

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

17 — Sigv Austv 17I

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 Let ec við yðr er itran olafr hvgat mølom rett er rican hittan ravgn | valld konungr halldit . deilda ec mals ens millda malma vorz í gorðom harða mavgr ne ec heyr | þac heiðmannz tolor greiðri .   [RDF]  edit 
 325V Let ek v yðr er | itran  olaf hvgat malvm ᷎ rett er | rikan hittak ravgnualld ᷎ konungr hall | dit ᷎ deillda ek mals hins millda ᷎ | malma vordr igorðvm ᷎ harða mogr | ne ek heyrðat ᷎ heið mannz tavl | or greðri᷎   [VEÞ]  edit 
 R686x Let | ek uid yþr en itru, Olaf hugat malum, retter at rikian | hittat, Ravgnualld kongr halldit, deillda ek mals ens | millda, malma uavrdz i gaurdum, harda morg ne ek | heyrdak, heidmanz tavlur greiðar .   [RDF]  edit 
 972x Lef vit ýdr enn itræn | Alafr hugat malum | rett er at rikan hittak: | Raungvalldr kongr halldit: | deilda ek mals ens milda | malmavords i gordum, | harda miok ne ek heýrda | heidmans tolur greidar. |   [VEÞ]  edit 
 972x Att ek vid yder er | itron Olafr hugat. mőlom rett er | ry̋kan hittan Raungvald konung | halldit. deila ek mals ens millda | malmavotz i gordom harda nau | ger ne ek heirda heidmens tolor | greidri.   [VEÞ]  edit 
 325VI Let vid ydr en itra . Olaf h | ugat malvm . rętt er ek rikan hitta . raugn | valldr konung halldit . deillda ek mal vid mill | dan . malma vǫrd | í gaurdvm . harda morg | ne ek heyrda . heidmannz taulv greidri . |   [RDF]  edit 
 75a Let viðr yðr en itran . olafr hugat | málum . rétt er at rikan hittag . | raugualld konungr | halldit . deillda ek | mals ens millda . malma uaurð |  gaurðum . harða maurg ne ek | heyrða . heið mannz taulur gréiðri . |   [RDF]  edit 
 321x Let vidr ydr en itran olafr | hugat malum . rett er at rikan hittag Raugvalld Konungr halldit . deilda | ek malsens millda . malmauaurd i gaurdum . harda maurg ne | ek heyrda heid mannz taulur greidri .   [VEÞ]  edit 
 73ax liet við yðr hínn itrí | Olafr hugat mꜳlum . | ʀiett er at ʀikan hittag | ʀo᷎gnallð konungr halldit : | dæillða ek máls híns míllða | malma vo᷎rð i go᷎rðum . | harða mo᷎rg er ek hæyrða | heiðr mannz to᷎lur græiðrí . |   [RDF]  edit 
 68 Let æk v yþr er itraɴ Olafr hvgar malom ret er æk riikian hittac raungvald konung haldit  deilda æk mals | eɴ milda malma vorðs i gavrðom havrþa magr ne æk heyrðag heið mannz tavlvr greiþar .   [RDF]  edit 
 61 Let ek uið | yðr hinn ítri . Olafr hugat malum . rett ok rikan hittag . ʀo᷎gnualld konungr | halldit . deillda ek mals hins millda . malma uo᷎rdum horða . | mo᷎gr ne ek heyrði heðra . heið mannz tolur greiðri .   [RDF]  edit 
 Holm4 Let | ek við yðr en itran olafr hugat malum rett er | ek rikan hittag . ʀꜹgnvalld konungr halldít . deill | da ek mal ens millda malma vørðz igørðum | harða mørɢ ne ek heyrða . heiðmannz tølur | greiðre .   [RDF]  edit 
 325VII Lét við yðr en ítʀi olafr hugat malum rett er ec rikan hittag . regnvadd konungs haldit | dæillda ec mal en millda malma vorð i gꜹrðum haurða mꜹgr ne ec hæyrða heiðmanz tꜹlur [altered to tꜹlu] greiðre |   [RDF]  edit 
 Flat Læít vid ydr hinn ítra olafr hugat malum ʀett er | ek rikan hittag ro᷎gnnualld konungr halldit deillda ek mal híns mil | lda malma nordr j go᷎rdum horda mo᷎rg en ek heyrda hæidmannz | to᷎lur græidre ᷎   [RDF]  edit 
 Tóm Let vid ydr enn jtrann olafr huggat malum . ʀett ec ʀíkann | híttag ʀaugnualld konungr halldit . deillda ec mals híns millda malma uordr j gaurdvm | haurda maurg enn ec heyrda heid mannz taulur greídrí .   [RDF]  edit 
 Kx Let ec v yðr er itran | Olafr hugat málum | rétt er ríkan hittac | Rognvald konungr haldit | deilda ec mál ens milda | málma vǫrðz i gorðum | harða mǫrg ne ec heyrða | heið mannz tǫlor greiða |   [RDF]  edit 
 Bb Lett ek vid ydr er | itran olafr hugat malvm rett er rikian hit | tak . ʀꜹgnvalld konungr halldit . dellda ek mal | ensmillda malfa vordr j gꜹrdvm . harda | morg ne ek heyrdak heíd | mannz tolvr greidri |   [RDF]  edit 
 761bx Let ek viþ yþr hinn itri | olaf hugat malum | rett oc rikan hittag | Ro᷎gnvalld konungr halldit | deillda ek mals hins millda | malma vo᷎rþum ho᷎rþa || mo᷎rg ne ek heyrþi | heiþmannz to᷎lur greiþri . |   [RDF]  edit 

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