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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, 590

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

5 — Sigv Austv 5I

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 Gagkattv inn qvað eckia armi drengr in lengra hredvmc | ec v oðins erom heiðnir ver reiði . rygr kvaz inni eiga vþecc sv er mer hnecði alfa blot sem ulfi otvín || i bø sinom .   [RDF]  edit 
 R686x Gakkattu inn quað (ekkia) armr drengr en lengra, hær hrædumst ek uid oðins [altered to oþins] erum, | heiþan uer ræiði; rygr quest inni eigia, uþækk su er m[…] | hnækti, Alfa blot sæm ylfi, ottum i bǫ sinum .   [RDF]  edit 
 972x Gak attu inn quad eckia | armr dreingr enn lengra | hrædumz ek vid Odins | erum heidnir vier reidi: | rigr quads inni eiga | aþeck su er mier hnekti | Alfa=blot sem Ulfi | Ott-vin i bæ sinum. ||   [VEÞ]  edit 
 972x Tag kaltu in kuad | eckia arma drenger in lengra | redumc ek vid Odins erom heid | ner ver reidni Ry̋ger kuas | inni eiga utek su ek er mer | hneikti Alfa blot sem ulfi et || vin i bosinom.   [VEÞ]  edit 
 J2x Gackattu inn qvað eckia | armi drengr enn lengra | hrǫþumz ec v Oþins | erum heiðnir vel reiði | rygr qvaz inne eiga | uþeck su er mer hnecti | alfa blot sem ylfi | otvin i bo᷎ sinom |   [RDF]  edit 
 325VI Gakattu inn kuad eckia . armí | dreíngr enn leíngra . hrædumk ec uid odins | erum heidin vær reidí . rygr quedz inní | eiga . oþeck su er mer hnekti . alfa blot sem ulfi ᷎ otuin a bæ sínum .   [RDF]  edit 
 75a Gaattv inn kvað eia . armi drei | ngr enn leíngra . ræðumz uer u oði | ns . erum heiðinn uer reiði . rygr k | uez inni eíga . ó þe sú er mer h | neði . alfa blót sem ulfi . otu || in í bø sínum .   [RDF]  edit 
 321x Gakkattu jnn kuad ekkia . armi dreingr enn leingra . rædunst ver vid od[...] | erum heidinn ver reidi . rygr kuedz inni eiga . oþekk su er mer hnekkdi . alfa | blot sem ulfi . otum i bø᷎ sinum .   [VEÞ]  edit 
 73ax Gack at þu ínn kuað eckia | armí ðrengrínn lengra | hræðumz ek vid oðíns | erom hæiðín wer ʀæiðí : ʀyghr kuedz ínní æiga | oþeck sv́ er mer hnecktí . || álfa blót sem vlfi | otuíns i bø᷎ sínum . |   [RDF]  edit 
 68 Gackattv iɴ qvaþ eckia arm drengriɴ | lengra hræþvmz æk v oþiɴs erom heiþnir v reiþi  rygr qvaz iɴi eiga oþecc sver mer hnecþi alfa | blot sem vlfi ót vín i bǽ sinom .   [RDF]  edit 
 61 Gackattu inn kuað eckia . armi drengr hinn | lengra . hðumz ek v oðins ervm heiðin u reiði . rygr kveðz inni eiga oþekk su | er mer hnekði . alfa blot sem ulfi . ot víns ꜳ bæ sínum .   [RDF]  edit 
 Holm4 Gackattu iɴ kuað eckian arme | drengreɴ lengra . hre᷎dumz ek við oðins erom | heiðin ve᷎r reiðe . Rygr kvaz inne eiga v | þekk su er mer hnekte alba blot sem ulfe eir || lꜹst fra be᷎ þeirra .   [RDF]  edit 
 75c Gangattu inn kvat ekkian . armi drengriɴ lengra | hręðumz ek v oðins . erum heiðnir ver reiði  rýgr kvaz inni eiga . vþekk su | er mer hnekkti . alfa blót sem ulfi . vt vín ibę sínum .   [RDF]  edit 
 325VII Gangattu iɴ qvað æian armi drængrinn lengra . hræðumc | við oþins . aʀum (with e written above) hæiðin ver ræiðe . rygr quaðz inni æiga uþæ su er mer hnæcðe . alfa blot sem ulfe [altered to ylfe] ótt vin | i bø sinom .   [RDF]  edit 
 Flat gangattu ínn kuat eckian armi dræingrin læingra hrædumz | st ek uid odínns erum heidín uer ræide . ʀygr kuetzst inne æíga o | þegt su er mer hneckti alfa blot sem ulfui vt vín j bǽ sínum . |   [RDF]  edit 
 Tóm Ganngattv jnn kvad eckían . armí | dreíngr jnn leíngra . hrꜽdunzt ec vid odíns erum heidín  ʀeide . hryggr kuazt jnní eíga . o | þeck su er mier hnektí . alfa blot sem vlfí . vt vín j bꜽ sínvm .   [RDF]  edit 
 Kx Gakkatþu iɴ qvað ekkia | armi drengr en lengra | hræðumz ec v oþins | erom heiðnir ver reiði | rygr qvaz iɴi eiga | oþeck su er mer hnecþi | alfa blót sem ulfi | otvín or bǫ sinum |   [RDF]  edit 
 Bb Gackat þv ínn qvad eckia armí dreingr | en lengra hredvmzt ek vid odíns ervm | heidín ver reidi . rygr kvadz ínní eiga oþecck | sver mer hnecktí . alfa blot sem vlfi v́t | vín i bę sínvm .   [RDF]  edit 
 761bx Gackattu inn kvaþ eckia | armi drengr hinn lengra | hræþumz ek viþ Oþins erum heiþin viþ reiþi | rygr kveþz inni eiga | vþeck su er mer hneckþi | alfa blot sem ulfi | otvins a bæ sinum |   [RDF]  edit 

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