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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 23 January 2022)

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

SkP info: I, 609

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

19 — Sigv Austv 19I

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 Folc reð um sic fylkir flest er ec com vestan ett sem aðr um [altered to of] | hvatti eirics svica þeirra . en þvi at iarla frenda eins þat er toct af sveini yðr kveð ec iorð | er naðvt ulfs broðvr lið stoðvz .   [RDF]  edit 
 R686x Folk reid um sik fylkr, flest er ek kom uestan, ott | sem aþr um hatti, Eiriks suia þeira . En þui at jarlla frænda, eins | þad er tokt af sueini, yþr queþ ek iord er naþut, ulfs broþr | lid stodux .   [RDF]  edit 
 972x Folk redum sig filkir | flest er ek kom vestan | Ott sem adr um huatti | Eiriks Svia þeirra | Enn þvi at Iarla frænda | Eins þat er tokt af Sveini | ýdr queþ ek Iorder naþut | Ulfs brodur lid stoduz. |   [VEÞ]  edit 
 972x folk | red um sik fylker flest, er ek kom ve | stan ett sem ader nafn huatti Ei | riks svita thera. En tvi at Iar | la frenda eins ther er tokt af | Sveini y̋der kvad ek jord er na | dut Ulfs brodur lid stodus   [VEÞ]  edit 
 325V Folk reð vnð sik | fylkir  flest er ek kom vestan ᷎ eitt | sem aðr vm hvatti ; eiriks svia þeirra ᷎ | Enn þviat jarla frænda ᷎ eins þat er tokt | af sveini ᷎ yðr qveþ ek iorð er naðvt | vlfs ᷎ broðvr lið stoðvz   [VEÞ]  edit 
 325VI Folc ręd vid sik fylkir . fle | st er ek kom vestan . ætt sem adr vm huattí | eiriks svía þína . en þviat iarla frænda . eíns | þat er tockt af sueíní . ydr qued ek iord er na | dut vlfs brodvr lid .   [RDF]  edit 
 75a Folk reð um sik fylkir . flest er ek kom | uestan . ǽtt sem aðr of huatti . eiriks | suika þeíʀa . en þui at iarla frænd | a . eins þat er tokt af sueini . yðr ku | eð ek orð er naðo vlfs broður lið sto | ðuz . |   [RDF]  edit 
 321x Folk red um sik fylkir . flest er ek kom ve | stan . ætt sem adr ofhuatti . eiriks suika þeirra . en þviat jalla frænda | eins þat er tokkt af sueini . ydr kued ek ord er nado . ylfs biodur lid | stoduz . ||   [VEÞ]  edit 
 73ax folk ʀieð v́m sik fylkir | flest er ek kom vestan . | ætt sem aðr of huattí | æiriks suíka þæíʀ̇a : | enðr þuí at iarla fręnða . || æíns þat er tokt af suæíní . | yðr kueð ek orð er náðut vlfs broður lið stóðu .   [RDF]  edit 
 61 Folk reð vm sik fylkir . flest | er ek kom uestan . ætt sem yðr of hittag eiriks suía fleiri . enn þvi | at iarla fnda . eins þat er rett af sueini . yðr kueð ek iorð þa er | attut . ulfs broður lið stoðuz .   [RDF]  edit 
 68 Folk reþ vm sik fylkir flest | ær æk kom vestan æt sem aðr vm hvatti erics suia þeirra  eɴ þviat er jarla fnda eiɴs þat er tok af sveini yðr | qveþ æk iorð er naðut vlfs broþor liþ stoþvz .   [RDF]  edit 
 Holm4 Folk reð við sik fylkir | flest er ek kom uestan . e᷎tt sem aðr vm hvat | te . eiriks suía þeirra . eɴ þvi at jarla frę᷎nda eins | þvi er tokt af sueíne . yðr kueð ek iorð er nað | ut . ulfs broður lið stoðuz .   [RDF]  edit 
 325VII Folc reð við sec fylker | flæst er ec kom | væstan ætt sem aðr of huatte æiriks svia þeirra  en þuiat iarlla frænda eins þat er tóct | af svæine . yðr queð ec iorð er naðuz ulfs broður liþ stoþuz .   [RDF]  edit 
 Flat Folk ʀed uid sig fylkír flest er ek kom uestan ætt sem adr um huatti æíreks suía þeirra en þuíat ialla fnda æíns | þat er tokt af suæíne ydr kuad ek iord er nadut ulfs brodur lid st | oduzst ᷎   [RDF]  edit 
 Tóm Folk ʀed vid síg fylker | flest er ec kom vestan ꜽtt sem adr vm huattí eíríx suía þeirra . enn þviat jarla frꜽnda eíns | þat er tokt af sueíní ydr kuad ec jord er nadud ulfs brodur lid stoduzt   [RDF]  edit 
 Kx Folc reð um sic fylkér | flest eɴ ec com vestan | ǽtt sem aðr vm hvatti | eirics svica þeirra | en þvi at iarla frænda | eins þvi er toct af sveini | yðr qveþ ec jorð er náþut | ulfs broður lið stoðuz |   [RDF]  edit 
 761bx Folk reþ um sik fylkir | flest er ek kom vestan | ætt sem yþr of hittag | Eiriks svia fleiri | enN þar at iarla frænda | eins þat er rett af sveini | yþr kveþ ek iorþ þa er attut | ulfs broþur liþ stoþuz .   [RDF]  edit 
 Bb Folk er vm sik fvlker flest er ek kom vest | an . ęítt sem adr ef hvatti . eiriks svika | þeirra . enn þvi at iarlla fręnda e⸌i⸍ns þat er tockt | af sveiní . ydr kved ek iord er nadvt | vlfs brodr lid stoduzt .   [RDF]  edit 

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