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Skúli Þorsteinsson (Skúli)

11th century; volume 3; ed. Kate Heslop;

2. Lausavísa (Lv) - 1

Skúli Þorsteinsson (Skúli; c. 970-1040; LH I, 556) was a grandson of Egill Skallagrímsson (Eg ch. 79, ÍF 2, 276); his wife was Bera Ormsdóttir, niece of Þorvaldr víðfǫrli ‘the Wide-travelled’ (Kristni ch. 2, Hb 1892-6, 127). Skúli is listed as a skald of Eiríkr jarl Hákonarson in the Kringla version of Skáldatal but as a skald of Sveinn jarl Hákonarson in the U version (SnE 1848-87, III, 257, 266, 281). A valued member of Eiríkr’s retinue (hirð; Gunnl ch. 6, ÍF 3, 68), he was a forecastle-man (stafnbúi) on the jarl’s ship Járnbarðinn during the battle of Svolder (Svǫlðr, c. 1000; ÓTOdd 1932, 218; cf. Eg ch. 87, ÍF 2, 300). The authors of ÓT and ÓTOdd consider him a key eyewitness of the battle, about which he is said to have composed a flokkr (ÓTOdd 1932, 210). The battle stanzas by him which are preserved in the kings’ sagas and SnE may reasonably be assigned to this poem, but there is no trace of the additional encomiastic poems hypothesised by earlier scholars (SnE 1848-87, III, 719; LH I, 556). A single helmingr with mythological subject-matter, also preserved in SnE, is presumably from a different, lost poem. Skúli inherited the family farm at Borg (Eg ch. 87, ÍF 2, 300) and appears in later life as a generous and popular patron of young Icelanders (BjH chs 1-3, 7, ÍF 3, 111-19, 129).

Lausavísa — Skúli LvIII

Kate Heslop 2017, ‘ Skúli Þorsteinsson, Lausavísa’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 366. <> (accessed 29 January 2022)

stanzas:  1 

Skj: Skúli Þórsteinsson: 2. Lausavísa (AI, 306, BI, 284); stanzas (if different): [v]

SkP info: III, 367

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

1 — Skúli Lv 1III

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Kate Heslop (ed.) 2017, ‘Skúli Þorsteinsson, Lausavísa 1’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 367.

Glens beðja veðr gyðju
goðblíð í vé síðan
(ljós kemr gótt) með geislum
(gránserks ofan Mána).

Síðan veðr {goðblíð beðja Glens} með geislum í vé gyðju; gótt ljós {gránserks Mána} kemr ofan.

Then {the divinely gentle bedmate of Glenr <mythical being>} [= Sól (sól ‘sun’)] strides with her beams into the goddess’s sanctuary; the good light {of the grey-shirt of Máni (‘Moon’)} [SKY] comes down.

Mss: R(26v), Tˣ(27v), W(57), U(30r), B(5r), 744ˣ(32v) (SnE)

Readings: [1] Glens: corrected from ‘Gleins’ R;    veðr: venr B;    gyðju: ‘g[…]’ U, gyðjur B    [2] goð‑: ‘[…]vþ‑’ U;    í vé: ‘vie’ U    [3] gótt: ‘gort’ U;    með: meðr U    [4] ‑serks: ‑setrs Tˣ, 744ˣ, ‑setr W, ‘[…]trs’ U, ‘set[…]’ B

Editions: Skj: Skúli Þórsteinsson, 2. Lausavísa: AI, 306, BI, 284, Skald I, 145, NN §771; SnE 1848-87, I, 330-1, II, 317, 530, III, 54, SnE 1931, 118, SnE 1998, I, 39.

Context: This helmingr is the first of two verse quotations exemplifying sun-kennings in Skm, here beðja Glens ‘bedmate of Glenr’ (see Note).

Notes: [All]: Earlier eds have arranged the words in this helmingr in various ways with little effect on the overall meaning (the sun sets; the moon rises). Finnur Jónsson (Skj B, followed by Faulkes in SnE 1998) takes the adv. síðan ‘then’ (l. 2) with the second clause; however, that arrangement violates the word order in independent clauses since it results in two preposed sentence elements (síðan, ljós ‘light’, l. 3) before the finite verb kemr ‘comes’ (l. 3). Kock (Skald; NN §771) construes each line-pair as a self-contained unit (‘then the sun goes to the goddess’s sanctuary; the good light of the moon comes down in beams’), which is a viable alternative (but see Note to l. 4 below). — [All]: For medieval Norwegians’ and Icelanders’ interest in cosmology and in the movements of the heavenly bodies, including the sun, moon, planets and stars, see Clunies Ross and Gade (2012). — [1] beðja Glens ‘bedmate of Glenr <mythical being> [= Sól (sól ‘sun’)]’: Glenr is the husband of the sun, Sól, according to Gylf (SnE 2005, 13), the only other extant source to mention him (see Kock 1898, 264-5, for the etymology of the name). For the goddess Sól, see Þul Ásynja 2/3 and Note there. — [1, 2] vé gyðju ‘the goddess’s sanctuary’: ‘sanctuary’ would usually suggest a space sanctified to the goddess, but here it seems to refer to Sól’s bed, where the personified sun rests at night. — [4] gránserks ‘of the grey-shirt’: The only other skaldic attestation of this cpd is in the mailshirt-kenning gránserkr Hamðis ‘grey shirt of Hamðir’ (Anon Krm 17/10VIII). Earlier eds take gránserkr as an adj., gránserkr Máni ‘grey-shirted Máni’, which LP: gránserkr explains as ifört grå særkom månens gråblege udseende ‘dressed in a grey shirt … of the pale grey appearance of the moon’. The noun serkr ‘shirt’ is not otherwise attested as an adj. (neither as a simplex nor as a second element in compounds; the relevant adj. is gráserkjaðr ‘grey-shirted’, cf. Grott 13/8), and in Gamlkan Has 18/2VII élserkr ‘storm-shirt’ is a kenning for ‘sky’. All mss other than R have gránsetr m. ‘grey-seat, ‑home’ (or gránsetrs gen. ‘of the grey-seat’), which can be construed as another kenning for ‘sky’ (gránsetrs Mána ‘of the grey-seat of Máni’). Possibly the unusual solar imagery of the helmingr led to scribal replacement of the unexpected serkr m. ‘shirt’ with a word common in sky-kennings (setr sólar ‘seat of the sun’, etc.) as well as in words like sólsetr, dagsetr ‘sunset’. — [4] Mána ‘of Máni (‘Moon’)’: Máni, the personification of the moon, is Sól’s brother according to Gylf (SnE 2005, 13) and Vafþr 23/1-3.

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