Sigvatr Þórðarson (Sigv)
11th century; volume 1; ed. Judith Jesch;
1. Víkingarvísur (Víkv) - 15
2. Nesjavísur (Nesv) - 15
3. Austrfararvísur (Austv) - 21
4. Óláfsdrápa (Óldr) - 1
5. Vestrfararvísur (Vestv) - 8
6. Poem about Erlingr Skjálgsson (Erl) - 1
7. Flokkr about Erlingr Skjálgsson (Erlfl) - 10
8. Tryggvaflokkr (Tryggfl) - 1
9. Poem about Queen Ástríðr (Ást) - 3
10. Knútsdrápa (Knútdr) - 11
11. Erfidrápa Óláfs helga (ErfÓl) - 28
12. Lausavísur (Lv) - 30
II. Bersǫglisvísur (Berv) - 18
III. Fragments (Frag) - 2
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).
Erfidrápa Óláfs helga (‘Memorial drápa for Óláfr inn helgi (S. Óláfr)’)
Judith Jesch 2012, ‘ Sigvatr Þórðarson, Erfidrápa Óláfs helga’ 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. 663. <https://skaldic.org/m.php?p=text&i=1353> (accessed 25 January 2022)
Skj: Sigvatr Þórðarson: 12. Erfidrápa Óláfs helga, o. 1040 (AI, 257-65, BI, 239-45)
SkP info: I, 678
11 — Sigv ErfÓl 11I
Cite as: Judith Jesch (ed.) 2012, ‘Sigvatr Þórðarson, Erfidrápa Óláfs helga 11’ 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. 678.
|Fór í fylking þeira
framm (iðrask nú) miðri
— snarir fundusk þar — Þrœnda
(þess verks búendr) merki.
Merki Þrœnda fór framm í miðri fylking þeira; snarir fundusk þar; búendr iðrask nú þess verks.
The standard of the Þrœndir advanced in the middle of their ranks; bold ones met there; the farmers now regret this deed.
Mss: Kˣ(469r) (Hkr); Holm2(67v), J2ˣ(225v), 321ˣ(254), 73aˣ(200v), Holm4(63ra), 61(125ra-b), 325V(80rb), 325VII(38r), Flat(124va), Tóm(155v) (ÓH)
Readings:  Fór í: so Holm2, J2ˣ, 61, Flat, Tóm, fœri Kˣ, 325VII, fekk í 73aˣ, 325V, færri í Holm4  miðri: miðu 321ˣ, miðra Tóm  snarir: ‘sn[…]r’ 61, ‘snatt’ Tóm; fundusk: fundut J2ˣ, bǫrðusk 73aˣ, 325V; þar: þat J2ˣ, þá 61; Þrœnda: sverðum 73aˣ, 325V, Þrœndir 61, Flat
Editions: Skj: Sigvatr Þórðarson, 12. Erfidrápa Óláfs helga 11: AI, 260, BI, 241, Skald I, 125, NN §§819B, 826; Hkr 1893-1901, II, 488, IV, 167, ÍF 27, 379, Hkr 1991, II, 529 (ÓHHkr ch. 226); ÓH 1941, I, 569 (ch. 224), Flat 1860-8, II, 354; Jón Skaptason 1983, 166.
Context: The lendir menn ‘landed men’ leading the farmers’ army encourage their troops to
respond to the attack.
Notes: [1, 2] fór framm ‘advanced’: Kock (NN §819B) would prefer to take framm as meaning ‘for the future, henceforth’ and modifying the following verb iðrask ‘regret’. But iðrask is already modified by nú ‘now’ and parallels with the following stanza and with other skaldic depictions of troops surging into battle (LP: framm 1) suggest that framm must modify fór, despite the awkward tripartite line. —  nú ‘now’: This refers to the time of composition, on which see Introduction above. —  búendr ‘the farmers’: See Note to