Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Sturla Þórðarson (Sturl)

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

4. Hákonarflokkr (Hákfl) - 11

Skj info: Sturla Þórðarson, Islandsk skjald og historiker, 1214-84 (AII, 101-29, BII, 112-36).

Skj poems:
1. Þverárvísur
2. Þorgilsdrápa
3. Hrynhenda
4. Hákonarkviða
5. Hrafnsmál
6. Hákonarflokkr
7. En drape om Magnús lagaböter
8. Lausavísur

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.

Hákonarflokkr — Sturl HákflII

Kari Ellen Gade 2009, ‘(Introduction to) Sturla Þórðarson, Hákonarflokkr’ 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. 745-55.

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Skj: Sturla Þórðarson: 6. Hákonarflokkr, 1263-64 (AII, 124-7, BII, 132-4)

SkP info: II, 749-50

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

5 — Sturl Hákfl 5II

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance

 

Cite as: Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2009, ‘Sturla Þórðarson, Hákonarflokkr 5’ 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. 749-50.

Ríkr gaf hlenna hneykir
herþrungit Ribbungum
ógnar skýs í Ósló
eitt kveld meginsveitum.
Mildr kom heimskum hauldum
hervígs á glapstígu;
kendu langt í landi
Laufvíkingar ríkis.

{Ríkr hneykir hlenna} gaf Ribbungum eitt herþrungit kveld í Ósló meginsveitum {skýs ógnar}. Mildr hervígs kom heimskum hauldum á glapstígu; Laufvíkingar kendu ríkis langt í landi.

{The powerful repressor of robbers} [JUST RULER = Hákon] gave the Ribbungar one very oppressive evening in Oslo with the main forces {of the cloud of terror} [SHIELD]. The one generous with battle forced the foolish men onto pernicious paths; the Forest-vikings [= the Ribbungar] felt the power far into the land.

Mss: 81a(89ra), Flat(171vb), E(158r) (ll. 1-4), F(98va) (ll. 1-4), 42ˣ(122r) (ll. 1-4, 7-8) (Hák)

Readings: [1] hneykir: hneigir E    [3] ógnar skýs: yss gerðiz Flat    [4] kveld: slag Flat    [5] Mildr kom heimskum hauldum: so Flat, mildum kom hauldu harða 81a    [6] ‑vígs: so Flat, vígt 81a    [7] kendu: kendi Flat, 42ˣ;    langt: langs Flat, ‘lans’ 42ˣ    [8] ‑víkingar: víkinga Flat

Editions: Skj: Sturla Þórðarson, 6. Hákonarflokkr 5: AII, 125-6, BII, 133, Skald II, 71, NN §§1365, 1366, 1936C, E, 1997; Hák 1910-86, 422, Flat 1860-8, III, 78, E 1916, 537, F 1871, 456.

Context: During the summer of 1225, Hákon sailed from Bergen to Oslo to attack the Ribbungar. On 13 September, he and his troops entered Oslo, and the Ribbungar attempted to escape but were forced back by a contingent of Hákon’s army. Battle ensued, and more than twenty Ribbungar fell. The rest sought shelter in the churches.

Notes: [All]: The second helmingr is transmitted in 81a and Flat only (and ll. 7-8 in 42ˣ), which accounts for the change in the order of mss in the critical apparatus. — [1-4]: (a) In the present edn skýs ógnar ‘of the cloud of terror’ (i.e. ‘of the shield’) (l. 3; so E, F, 42ˣ, 81a) is taken as a qualifier for meginsveitum ‘with the main forces’ (l. 4). For comparable constructions, see herdróttum svanteigar ‘war-bands of the swan-field’ (Sturl Hrafn 11/6, 8), herskatnar vegs ‘war-men of honour’ (Hrafn 13/7, 8), sveit sverða ‘company of swords’ (Hrafn 17/2, 3), virðar hrings ‘men of the sword’ (Hrafn 18/2, 4). The Flat variant, yss gerðiz ‘tumult erupted’, is unmetrical because position 4 in an E3 l. cannot be occupied by a prep. (here: í ‘in’; see Gade 1995a, 76, 82-5). Both Skj B and Skald adopt the Flat variants yss gerðiz ‘tumult erupted’ (l. 3) and slag ‘battle’ (l. 4). Both also silently emend Ribbungum (dat. pl.) (l. 2) to Ribbunga (gen. pl.) against all mss and construe it with meginsveitum ‘the main forces of the Ribbungar’. (b) Skj B gives the following reading: Ríkr hlenna hneykir gaf meginsveitum Ribbunga eitt slag þrungit í Óslu; yss gerðiz her translated as Den mægtige røverstraffer gav Ribbungernes hovedskarer et slemt nederlag i Oslo; der opstod tummel i hæren ‘The powerful punisher of robbers gave the main forces of the Ribbungar a serious defeat in Oslo; tumult erupted in the army’. (c) Kock (NN §1365) follows Skj B but objects correctly to Finnur’s separation of her lit.‘army’ and þrungit ‘oppressive’. Instead, he takes her- as an intensifier, an interpretation which has been adopted in the present edn. — [7] langt ‘far’: An adv. denoting spatial extension. If the Flat variant, langs (m. or n. gen. sg.), is adopted (so Skj B), it is an adj. qualifying ríkis (langs ríkis ‘enduring power’). — [8] Laufvíkingar ‘the Forest-vikings [= the Ribbungar]’: Lit. ‘Leaf-vikings’. Taken (with Kock, Skald and NN §§1366, 1997) as a derogatory term for the Ribbungar; i.e. outlaws who live in the forest. This interpretation is strengthened by the fact that ll. 5-8 of the present st. bear strong resemblance to Sturl Hákkv 6/5-8: ok þar stökk lið Grýtlinga á glapstíg ‘and there the force of the Grýtlingar [= the Ribbungar] fled on a pernicious path’. That helmingr describes an earlier battle in Oslo (in 1221) against the Ribbungar, and it contains the phrase á glapstíg ‘on a pernicious path’ (l. 8; cf. á glapstígu ‘onto pernicious paths’ (l. 6 above)) as well as the derogatory label Grýtlingar lit. ‘Gravelings’ (i.e. outlaws who hide among cliffs or rocks or live in caves), which parallels Laufvíkingar ‘Forest-vikings’ in the present st. Skj B treats lauf ‘leaf’ as a separate word but marks it as untranslatable. In LP: lauf, lauf is taken with ríkis ‘power’: magtens løv (eller frugt) ‘the leaf (or fruit) of power’, which makes little sense.

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