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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;

2. Nesjavísur (Nesv) - 15

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).

Nesjavísur (‘Vísur about Nesjar’) — Sigv NesvI

Russell Poole 2012, ‘ Sigvatr Þórðarson, Nesjavísur’ 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. 555. <> (accessed 22 September 2021)

 1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11   12   13   14   15 

Skj: Sigvatr Þórðarson: 2. Nesjavísur, 1016 (AI, 228-32, BI, 217-20); stanzas (if different): 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 14

SkP info: I, 559

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

2 — Sigv Nesv 2I

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.

 Kx Veitti sócn þar er sótti | siclingr firum micla | bloð fell rꜹtt a róða | reín i hofn at Sveini | sniallr helt at sa er olli | eírlꜹst konungr þeira | eɴ Sveins liþar sínom | saman bunduz scip fundi |   [KSH]  edit 
 papp18x Veitti sokn þar er sótti, sicklingr fyrom micla. Bloþ fell rꜹtt á rꜹþa rein | j hǫfn at sueyni, sniallr hielt at sá er olli eir lꜹst konungr þeira, eɴ | sueins liþar sinom, saman bundust skip fundi   [KSH]  edit 
 Holm2 Veitti | socn þar er sotti siclingr firom micla bloð fell rautt a roða rein i hofn at sveini | sniallr hellt at þar er olli eirlaust konungr þeira. en sveins liðar synom saman bvnndvz | scip fundi.   [VEÞ]  edit 
 R686x Veitti sokn þa er sotti, | siklingr firum mikla, blod fell rꜹt a roþa, rein i | hofn at Sueine, snallr hellt at þar er olli, eirlaust | kungr þeira, en Sueins lidar sinum, sammbundust | skip funndi.   [KSH]  edit 
 972x Veitti sokn þa er sotti siklingr firum mikla blod fiell rautt a rauda rein i haufn at sveini; sniallr hielt at sa er olli Eirlaust kongr þeirra Enn sveins lidar sinum saman=bundust skip fundi.   [KSH]  edit 
 J1x Væitti | sokn þar ær sotti siklingr firum mikka bloð fel | raut a roða ræin i haufn at suein snallr hellt | at þar ær ollu æir laust konungr þa ænn sue | ins liþar sinum saman bunduz skip fuimði ·   [KSH]  edit 
 J2x Veitti sokn þar er sotti siklingr firum micla bloð fell raut a roða rein i hꜷfn at Sveni sniallr hellt at þar er ollu eirlꜷst konungr þeira enn sveins liþar sinum saman bunduz scip fundi   [KSH]  edit 
 325VI Veítti sokn þar er sótti | siklingr fírum mikla ᷎ blod fell ravtt a rav | da reín i hǫfn at sveíní sniallr hellt ad þar | er olli eirlavst konungr þeira en sveins lidar sinum | saman bunduz skip fvndi ᷎   [VEÞ]  edit 
 73ax Uæítti sokn þar er sottí | siklíngr fírum mikla ∙ | bloð fell ʀautt i rauða | reíní ho᷎fn at Suæní: | sniallr hiellt at þar er ollí | eírlaust konungr þeira ∙ | en Suæíns liðar Sínum | saman bunðu skip funði. |   [VEÞ]  edit 
 78ax Veitti sokn þar er sotti | siklingum firum mikla | bloð fell rautt a rauða | rein i haufn at sniallr | hellt atþar er olli | eirlaust en Sveins liðar | sinum saman bunduz | ....... skip fundi. |   [VEÞ]  edit 
 68 Veitti socn þar er sotti siclingr firom micla . | bloð fell ravtt a ravða reini ihavfn at sveini  sniallr hellt at sa er olli eirlavst konvngr þeira | eɴ sveiɴ liþar sinom saman bvndo liþ fvndi.   [VEÞ]  edit 
 61 Veitti sokn þar er soti sik | lingr firvm mikla . bloð fell raudt irioða reín ihofn at sv | eini . sniallr hélt at sa er olli eir lavst konungr þeirra . en sueíns li | ðar sinum saman bundu lid fundi.   [VEÞ]  edit 
 Holm4 Veittu socn þar er sotte siklíngr | firom mikla. bloð fell rꜹtt aroða. reín i høfn | at sueíne. sniallr hellt at sa er olle eirlꜹst | konungr þeira. enn sueíns liðar sinum saman bund | uzt skip funde.   [VEÞ]  edit 
 325V Ueittu sokn þar | er sotti · siklingr firum mikla ; bloð f | ell ravtt aravða · reín i hofń at sve | ini · sniallr hellt at sa er olli · eír | lavst konungr þeira · enn sveins siðar sinv · | samann bvɴdvz skip fvndi ·   [VEÞ]  edit 
 325VII Veitte socn þar er sætte siklingr fiʀum mikla | bloð fell raútt aroða ʀæín ihofn at svæini  sniallr hællt at saer olle æirlaust konungr þeira ᷎ en sueins liþar | sunnum saman bunnduz scip sunde ᷎   [VEÞ]  edit 
 Bb Veítti sokn þar er | sotti. siklíngr firvm míkla. blod fell rꜹt ꜳ | roda reín j hofnn ath sveiní. sníallr hellt at | sa er olli∙ eírlꜹst konungr þeira. en sveins lidar sínvm | sammann bvndvzk skipp fvnde.   [VEÞ]  edit 
 Flat Væittí | soknn þar er sottí siklíngr firum mykla blod fell ʀautt a ʀodna | ʀæín j hofnn at suæíne · sníallr hellt at sa er olli æirlaust · konungr | þeira en suæíns lid er at so᷎nnu saman bundu skíp sunde ·   [VEÞ]  edit 
 Tóm Veítttv sokn þar er sottí ᷎ siklíngur fírrvm micla ᷎ blod fell ʀavtt ꜳ̋ ʀodna ᷎ ʀeín j havfn | ath sueíní ᷎ sníallr híellt sꜳ̋ er ollí ᷎ eír laust konungur þeira ᷎ enn sveíns lidar savnnv ᷎ saman bvnndv | skíp sunnde   [VEÞ]  edit 

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