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Óttarr svarti (Ótt)

11th century; volume 1; ed. Matthew Townend;

3. Lausavísur (Lv) - 3

The Icelandic poet Óttarr svarti ‘the Black’ (Ótt) was remembered in the twelfth century (ESk Geisl 12) as one of the hǫfuðskǫld ‘chief skalds’ of the late Viking Age. His nickname would seem to locate him within the tradition of poets being ‘dark’ in either appearance or temperament (see Clunies Ross 1978b; Finlay 2000). According to Styrmir Kárason (ÓH 1941, II, 688), the poet Sigvatr Þórðarson (Sigv) was a mikill vinr ‘great friend’ of Óttarr, and indeed Óttarr’s Hǫfuðlausn (Ótt Hfl) is greatly indebted to Sigvatr’s Víkingarvísur (Sigv Víkv, see Introduction to Hfl). Snorri Sturluson (ÍF 27, 144; ÓH 1941, I, 203) further describes Óttarr as Sigvatr’s maternal nephew, and if this is correct he would have been the grandson of Þórðr Sigvaldaskáld ‘Poet of Sigvaldi’ (see Biography of Sigvatr Þórðarson). Óttarr features in the various sagas of Óláfr Haraldsson, but the only major anecdote about him is the story surrounding his Hfl (see Introduction).

Skáldatal, in one or both of its recensions (SnE 1848-87, III, 252, 253, 258, 260, 261, 267, 269), lists Óttarr as having composed for six patrons: the Danes Sveinn tjúguskegg ‘Fork-beard’ Haraldsson and his son Knútr inn ríki Sveinsson (Cnut the Great); Óláfr sœnski ‘the Swede’ Eiríksson and his son Ǫnundr Óláfsson; and the Norwegian King Óláfr inn helgi Haraldsson (S. Óláfr), and the Norwegian magnate Dala-Guðbrandr (‘Guðbrandr of the Dales’, on whom, see ÍF 27, 183-90; ÓH 1941, I, 271-82). For Sveinn and Dala-Guðbrandr, Óttarr is the only poet listed in Skáldatal. Panegyric poetry by Óttarr is certainly extant for three of these patrons: Óláfsdrápa (ÓldrIII) for Óláfr Eiríksson (preserved only in SnE and therefore edited in SkP III), Hfl for Óláfr Haraldsson, and Knútsdrápa (Knútdr) and Lv 2 for Knútr. It has, moreover, been suggested that one stanza in Knútdr may have been misplaced from an earlier poem for Sveinn (see Note to st. 9 [All]). No poetry survives for Ǫnundr or Dala-Guðbrandr. From all the evidence, it is likely that Óttarr visited, and composed, for, his patrons in this order: Sveinn until his death in 1014; Óláfr Eiríksson until his death c. 1021 (though ÓHLeg 1982, 130-1, has Óttarr, a young man fresh from Iceland, approaching him as his first patron), then his son Ǫnundr; Óláfr Haraldsson in the early 1020s, and Dala-Guðbrandr in the same period; Knútr by c. 1027 for an unknown period (Knútr died in 1035). For previous discussions of Óttarr’s career, see SnE 1848-87, III, 326-33, LH I, 574-7 and Poole (1993b).

Lausavísur — Ótt LvI

Matthew Townend and R. D. Fulk 2012, ‘ Óttarr svarti, Lausavísur’ 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. 783. <> (accessed 26 January 2022)

stanzas:  1   2   3 

Skj: Óttarr svarti: Lausavísur (AI, 299, B)

SkP info: I, 788

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

3 — Ótt Lv 3I

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.

 761bx Heþan se ek reyk er riuka | raunn yfir fiski monnum | stor eru skialldr um skorar | skellibraugþ i helli | nu fryr at mer nyrar | nynningar dag þenna | hliti ek fyrir hvitan | harmstraums da⸌u⸍gurþ namu . ||   [RDF]  edit 
 DG8 Heðan se ec ræyk þann ær riu | ka , rannum fiski mannum , stor ero skallz um skæror , skælli brogð or hælli , | nu fryr armir nyiar , menningar dag þenna , liti ec þer fyr huitan , horn | straums , dagurð nauma .   [RDF]  edit 
 Flat Hedan se ek | reyk þann ríuka raunn af fiski monnum stor eru skꜳllds vm skærvr skelli brogd | or helli nu fryrat mer nyʀrar nenningar dag þenna hlítí ek fyrir huítann horn | straums daugurd naumu .   [RDF]  edit 
 Tóm (Tóm) Híeðan se ec ʀeyk er ʀívka . hravnn yfir físki maunnum : Stor ero skíalldr vm skorar . skelle braugð j helle . nu fryr ath mier nyrar [but it looks more like tiyrar] nyiungar dag þenna | hlite ec fyr huitan harmstraums . daugurd namv .   [RDF]  edit 
 73ax heðan séé ek ʀæyk þann er ʀíuka | ʀo᷎nn af fiskí mo᷎nnum . | stor ero skalldz skíęrur . | skiellí bro᷎gð or hellí : | nu fryʀar mer nyraʀ . | nenníngar ðag þenna . | hlití ek fyr huitan . | horn straum dø᷎gurð naumu . |   [RDF]  edit 
 71x hedann see ek ʀeyk þann riuka , ʀo᷎nn af | fiske mo᷎nnumm , stör eru skallds of skięrur , skelli bro᷎gd or helli , nu | frýʀar mer nýrar , nenningar dag þenna , hliti ek fyrir huitann , hornstraum do᷎gurd naumu .   [RDF]  edit 
 76ax Hedann se ek reyk þann er riuka | ro᷎nn af fiski mo᷎nnum | stor eru skꜳllds ofskiærur | skelli bro᷎gd or helli | nu fryr at mer nyʀar | nenningar dag þenna | hliti ek fyrir hvitann | horn strꜹm do᷎gurd nꜹma |   [VEÞ]  edit 

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Runic data from Samnordisk runtextdatabas, Uppsala universitet, unless otherwise stated