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Skapti Þóroddsson (Skapti)
Skj info: Skapti Þóroddsson, Islandsk lovsigemand, d. 1030. (AI, 314, BI, 291).
Though credited with the fragment below and further compositions, the distinguished Icelander Skapti Þóroddson (Skapti) is better known for his legal expertise. He held the position of lǫgsǫgumaðr ‘lawspeaker’ from 1004 until his death in 1030, is credited with legal reforms (Íslendingabók ch. 8, ÍF 1, 19) and was sometimes known as Lǫg-Skapti ‘Law-Skapti’ (Landnámabók, ÍF 1, 381). He is thought to have lived about sixty years (SnE 1848-87, III, 549). Skapti features in several of the Sagas of Icelanders, including Njáls saga (where he is named in a stanza, Snorri LvV (Nj)), Flóamanna saga, Grettis saga and Gunnlaugs saga, as well as in Ǫlkofra þáttr, Landnámabók, Heimskringla and other sources. He is named in Skáldatal among the poets of Hákon jarl Sigurðarson (SnE 1848-87, III, 256, 266), King Óláfr Haraldsson (ibid., III, 253) and Magnús góði ‘the Good’ (ibid., III, 262). There is no further evidence for contact with Hákon, and since Skapti died in 1030 he cannot have composed for Magnús. A drápa for Óláfr by Skapti is mentioned in ÓHHkr ch. 138 (ÍF 27, 243), which relates how, during a time of friction between Óláfr and the Icelanders (in the mid 1020s), Skapti’s son Steinn represents his father at the court of Óláfr Haraldsson and, himself a poet with a sharp tongue, offers to recite a drápa which Skapti has taught him. The king, suspicious of Steinn, demands to hear his composition first, but Steinn makes an excuse and leaves, then later makes his way to Knútr inn ríki ‘Cnut the Great’ in England, where he is well received (ÍF 27, 249). He is listed among Knútr’s poets (SnE 1848-87, III, 258, 267), though no poetry by him is preserved. Skapti is also accused, in Ǫlkǫfra þáttr ch. 3 (ÍF 11, 91), of composing a mansǫngsdrápa ‘love poem’ for the wife of his relative Ormr.
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