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Sturla Þórðarson (Sturl)

13th century; volume 2; ed. Kari Ellen Gade;

2. Hákonarkviða (Hákkv) - 42

The life of Sturla Þórðarson (Sturl) is chronicled in Sturlunga saga (Stu). He was born on 29 July 1214 as the second son of Þórðr Sturluson and his concubine Þóra, and he was the younger brother of Óláfr hvítaskáld Þórðarson (Ólhv). In his early years he spent much time with his uncle, the poet, historian and lawspeaker Snorri Sturluson (SnSt, d. 1241), and later he took an active part in the events that played out before and after the collapse of the Icel. Commonwealth. Sturla was lawspeaker in Iceland 1251-2 and lawman, appointed by the Norw. king, 1272-82. In 1263 he went to Norway where he met King Magnús lagabœtir ‘Law-mender’ Hákonarson (d. 1280). After an initially very cool reception, the king commissioned him to write the saga of Magnús’s father Hákon Hákonarson (d. 1264) and also that of Magnús himself. Sturla later became the retainer (hirðmaðr, skutilsveinn) of Magnús and brought the law code Járnsíða ‘Ironside’ from Norway to Iceland in 1271. The story of Sturla’s journey to Norway in 1263 and his dealings with Magnús is recounted in Sturlu þáttr (StÞ), preserved in a version of Stu. In addition to the sagas of Hákon Hákonarson (Hák) and the no longer extant saga of his son Magnús lagabœtir (only two leaves are preserved in AM 325 X 4°), Sturla is the author of Íslendinga saga (Ísls) and of a redaction of Landnámabók (Ldn, in AM 107 folˣ = Stˣ). Some scholars believe that he may have been responsible for the extant redaction of Kristni saga (Kristni) (see LH 1894-1901, II, 98-105, 717-43), and he is also mentioned as an informant by the author of Grettis saga Ásmundarsonar (Gr; see ÍF 7, 157, 226, 289). Like his uncle, Snorri, and his brother, Óláfr, Sturla was a prolific poet. According to Skáldatal (SnE 1848-87, III, 256, 260, 272, 279, 384-96), he composed poems in honour of the Norw. kings Hákon Hákonarson and Magnús lagabœtir Hákonarson, and also about the Swed. jarl Birgir Magnússon (d. 1266). Nothing is preserved of Sturla’s panegyrics to the latter, but two sts from his poetry to Magnús are recorded in Hák (see Magnússdrápa (Sturl Magndr) below). The bulk of Sturla’s poetic oeuvre about Hákon Hákonarson is interspersed with the prose in Hák: Hrynhenda (Sturl Hryn), Hákonarkviða (Sturl Hákkv), Hrafnsmál (Sturl Hrafn) and Hákonarflokkr (Sturl Hákfl). In addition to these encomia, Sturla composed poetry about events and dignitaries in Iceland: namely Þverárvísur (Sturl ÞvervIV) and Þorgilsdrápa (Sturl ÞorgdrIV), both of which have been edited in SkP IV. That is also the case with his lvv. (Sturl Lv 1-4IV). One fragment which earlier eds assigned to Hryn (earlier st. 22) has been edited in SkP III as Sturl FragIII. Sturla died on 30 July 1284 and was buried in the Church of S. Peter at Staðarhóll.

Hákonarkviða — Sturl HákkvII

Kari Ellen Gade 2009, ‘(Introduction to) Sturla Þórðarson, Hákonarkviða’ in Kari Ellen Gade (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 2: From c. 1035 to c. 1300. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 2. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 699-727.

stanzas:  1   2   3   4   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   33   34   35   36   37   38 

for reference only:  5x   9x   10x   25x 

Skj: Sturla Þórðarson: 4. Hákonarkviða, 1263-64 (AII, 108-19, BII, 118-26); stanzas (if different): 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10-11 | 11 | 12-13 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28-9 | 29 | 30 | 31 | 32 | 33 | 34 | 35 | 36 | 37 | 38 | 39 | 40 | 41 | 42

SkP info: II, 714

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

20 — Sturl Hákkv 20II

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2009, ‘Sturla Þórðarson, Hákonarkviða 20’ in Kari Ellen Gade (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 2: From c. 1035 to c. 1300. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 2. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 714.

Reið blóðlaukr
á berum knerri
örvar áss
járni slunginn,
en gandreið
grænna skjalda
Svölnis vegg
sleit á lopti.

{Blóðlaukr}, slunginn járni, reið á {berum knerri {áss örvar}}, en {gandreið grænna skjalda} sleit {vegg Svölnis} á lopti.

{The blood-mast} [SWORD], encircled by iron, swung onto {the bare ship {of the god of the arrow}} [= Ullr > SHIELD], and {the riding troll-women of green shields} [AXES] tore {the wall of Svǫlnir <= Óðinn>} [SHIELD] in the air.

Mss: E(177v-178r), F(111rb-va), 81a(109vb), Flat(179ra) (Hák)

Readings: [1] ‑laukr: so F, 81a, ‘laúgr’ E, ‑ugr Flat    [3] örvar: örva F;    áss: ás all    [7] vegg: egg F

Editions: Skj: Sturla Þórðarson, 4. Hákonarkviða 23: AII, 114, BII, 122-3, Skald II, 66, NN §§1354, 1355; E 1916, 606, F 1871, 518, Hák 1910-86, 567, Flat 1860-8, III, 155.

Context: The Birkibeinar sundered byrnies and shields, and most of Skúli’s men fell (see st. 19 above).

Notes: [1] blóðlaukr ‘the blood-mast [SWORD]’: So NN §1354 (= LP: laukr 2), which preserves the nautical imagery. LP: 1. laukr gives the base-word as ‘leek’ (‘blood-leek’, i.e. ‘sword’) here, which is also possible. — [2-3] berum knerri áss örvar ‘the bare ship of the god of the arrow [= Ullr > SHIELD]’: The god Ullr was known for his hunting attributes (see SnE 1998, I, 19). His ship was a shield (see SnE 1998, I, 67 and n.). The rationale for this kenning type is not clear. See Note to ÞjóðA Frag 3/2. See also Sturl Hryn 15/6. — [5] gandreið ‘the riding troll-women’: This base-word is difficult. Gandr was a staff used by troll-women and witches in ceremonies involving witchcraft, and gandreið usually refers to troll-women riding through the air on such staffs. The kenning ‘riding troll-women of green shields’ is a regular kenning for ‘axes’ (see Meissner 148). However, gandr can also mean ‘wolf’, and LP: gandreið glosses the kenning gandreið grænna skjalda as sværdenes bevegelse ‘the motion of the swords’, in which the second element of the cpd gandreið is derived from reiða ‘swing’ and gandr grænna skjalda ‘the wolf of green shields’ is taken to mean ‘sword’ (so also NN §1355). Skj B gives the translation sværdenes regn ‘the swords’ rain’, which is not transparent. — [6] grænna skjalda ‘of green shields’: For shields painted green, see Falk 1914, 147.

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