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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;

12. Lausavísur (Lv) - 30

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).

Lausavísur — Sigv LvI

R. D. Fulk 2012, ‘ Sigvatr Þórðarson, 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. 698. <> (accessed 26 October 2021)

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Skj: Sigvatr Þórðarson: 13. Lausavísur (AI, 265-75, BI, 246-54); stanzas (if different): 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30 | 31 | 32

SkP info: I, 714

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

12 — Sigv Lv 12I

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 Hafa allframir iofrar ut sin haufut knvti ferð or fifi norðan frið | capp [altered from caup] var þat miðio . selldi olafr alldri opt va sigr enn digri haus i heime þvisa hann aungum sva manni . |   [RDF]  edit 
 325V hafa allf | ramir iofrar . ut sín havfvt knvti | færð or fiui norðan . friðkaup var þar | miðiv . selldi olafr alldri opt van sigr | hín digri . haús i heimi þvisa hán avngvm sua manni   [RDF]  edit 
 972x Hafa allframir Iafrar | ut sin hofut knuti | færd ur Fifi nordan | Fridkaup var þat midio: | Seldi Olafr alldri | opt vann Sigr enn Digri | haus i heimi þuisa | hann eingum sua manni. |   [VEÞ]  edit 
 972x Hafa all framar iefrar | uth sin haufum Knuti ferd or Fi | fi nordan fa̋rd kapp var thet | midio Seldi Olafr alldri opt | va seger en digri hans i heime | tvi sa han aungum sva manni. |   [VEÞ]  edit 
 J2x Hafa allframir jofrar | ut sin hꜹfut Knuti | færð or fivi norþan | frið kꜹp var þat miðio | selldi Olafr alldri | opt va sigr enn digri | hꜹs i heimi þvisa | hann engum sva manne |   [RDF]  edit 
 325VI Hafua allfr | amír iofrar . vt sin haufud knutí færd or | fifi nordan . fridkaup uar þat mídia . selldí | olafr alldri . opt vꜳ sigr hinn digrí . haus j heí | mí þuísa . hann engum sua manní .   [RDF]  edit 
 75a Hafa all framir iofrar . ut sín haufoð | knúti . fø᷎rð or fifi norðan . frið k | aup er þat miðiv . felldi olafr alldri . | opt va sigr inn digri . | haús i heími | þuísa . hann eingum sua manni .   [RDF]  edit 
 321x hafa allframir jofrar | ut sinn haufod Knuti fo᷎rd or fifi nordan . fridkaup er þad midiu . | felldi olafr alldri opt va sigr jnn digri . haus i heimi þuisa . hann eingum | sua manni .   [VEÞ]  edit 
 73ax Hafa allframar io᷎frar || (vt) sin hofuð knutí | fꜹrð or fifí norðan | fridkaup war þat miðíu : | selldí olafr alldri . | opt wá sígr hínn digrí . | hausí hæími þuísa . | hann engum sva manní |   [RDF]  edit 
 68 Hafa all framir iofrar vt sin hofvt knvti ferþ or fifi | norðan friþkavp var þat miðio  selds Olafur aldri opt va sigur hiɴ digri havs i heimi þvisa hann avngom sva manni . |   [RDF]  edit 
 61 Hafa all framir io᷎frar . vt | sín ho᷎fut knuti . ferð or fífi norþan . frið kaup var þat miðíu . selldir olafr || alldri opt va sigr hinn digri . hausi hilmir þuisa . hann engum sva manni .   [RDF]  edit 
 Holm4 Hafa allframír iøfrar ut sin hofut knute | fe᷎rð or five norðan frið kꜹp var þat miðío | sellde olafr alldri . opt va sigr eɴ digri . hꜹs i hei | me þuisa hann ongum sua manne .   [RDF]  edit 
 325VII Hafa allframir iofrar ut sín hꜹfuþ knu | ti førð or fíui norþan friðkaup var þat miþium . sælldi Olafr alldri . opt va sigr hinn digri . hꜹs i heimi | þuisa hann øngum sva manni .   [RDF]  edit 
 Bb Hafa allframir iofrar | v́t sín hofdvt knvti fęrd or fíví nordan | frid kꜹp er þat midivm . selldi olafr alldri ópt vá sígr en digri hans i heímí þvisa hann o᷎ngvm sva | manni .   [RDF]  edit 
 Flat Hafa all framir io᷎ | frar ut sinn hofut knuti færd or fiui nordan frid kaup uar þat m | idíum selldi olafr alldri oft uo sigr hín dígri hans j hæimi þuisa hann ongum | suo manni   [RDF]  edit 
 Tóm Ha | fa allframer jofrar . uth sín haufud hnutí . fꜽrd ur finní nordann . frid kaup uar þat mídív . selldi . olafr al | ldri opt vꜳ̋ sigr hínn digri . haus úr heímí þuisa . hann aungum manni .   [RDF]  edit 
 325XI 2 g Hafa all | […] hꜹfvþ knvti færþ or | f[…]vi norþaɴ friþ cꜹp var þat miþiv . selldi Olafr | alldri opt vá sigr en digri hꜹ́s i heimi þvisa | hann engvm sva manni .   [RDF]  edit 
 Kx Hafa allframir jofrar | ut sin hꜹfut knuti | forð or fifi norþan | frið cꜹ́p var þat miðio | seldi Olafr aldri | opt vá sigr hiɴ digri | hꜹs i heime þsa | hann engum sva manne |   [RDF]  edit 
 761bx Hafa allframir io᷎frar | ut sin ho᷎fut Knuti | færð or fifi nordan | fridkaup var þat midiu : | selldir olafr alldri | opt va sigr hinn digri . | hausi hilmir þuisa | hann engum sva manni . ||   [RDF]  edit 

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