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Sturla Þórðarson (Sturl)

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

3. Hrafnsmál (Hrafn) - 20

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.

Hrafnsmál — Sturl HrafnII

Kari Ellen Gade 2009, ‘(Introduction to) Sturla Þórðarson, Hrafnsmál’ 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. 727-45.

stanzas:  1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11   12   13   14   15   16   17   18   19   20 

Skj: Sturla Þórðarson: 5. Hrafnsmál (AII, 119-24, BII, 126-31)

SkP info: II, 728

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

1 — Sturl Hrafn 1II

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2009, ‘Sturla Þórðarson, Hrafnsmál 1’ 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. 728.

Sóttu sóknhvattar
sveitir háleitan
geira glymstæri
glyggs ór Finnbygðum.
Alt brá jarðbeltis
austan sigrflaustum
gjálfr af Gautelfi
gætis hásæta.

Sóknhvattar sveitir sóttu {háleitan glymstæri {glyggs geira}} ór Finnbygðum. Gjálfr {jarðbeltis} brá sigrflaustum {gætis hásæta} alt austan af Gautelfi.

Battle-keen companies sought {the sublime din-increaser {of the storm of spears}} [BATTLE > WARRIOR] from the settlements of the Saami. The surge {of the earth-belt} [SEA] drove the victory-vessels {of the guardian of rowing-benches} [CAPTAIN] all the way west from the Götaälv.

Mss: F(121vb), 8(77v), Flat(185rb) (Hák)

Readings: [1] ‑hvattar: hvatar 8, hvattir Flat    [2] ‑leitan: ‑lettan Flat    [3] ‑stæri: ‘‑stori’ 8    [4] glyggs: glygg 8    [5] brá: so 8, frá F, bar Flat

Editions: Skj: Sturla Þórðarson, 5. Hrafnsmál 1: AII, 119, BII, 126-7, Skald II, 68; F 1871, 571, Hák 1977-82, 195, Flat 1860-8, III, 218.

Context: In 1263, Hákon set out on his campaign to the west to reestablish his sovereignty in the Hebrides and to punish the Scots for their rebellious behaviour. He gathered an army from all of Norway, and the naval contingents from the north and the south gathered in Herdlevær (in Øygarden, Hordaland) before they embarked on the journey.

Notes: [1] sóknhvattar ‘battle-keen’: Hap. leg. — [3-4] glymstæri glyggs geira ‘din-increaser of the storm of spears [BATTLE > WARRIOR]’: Glym- ‘din-’ is not part of the kenning for ‘battle’ (glyggs geira ‘of the storm of spears’); rather, it refers to the noise of the battle. See LP: glymstœrir. See also Introduction above. — [4] ór Finnbygðum ‘from the settlements of the Saami’: I.e. from North Norway. — [6] sigrflaustum ‘victory-vessels’: Hap. leg. — [7] af Gautelfi ‘from the Götaälv’: River in present-day south-western Sweden. — [8] gætis hásæta ‘of the guardian of rowing-benches [CAPTAIN]’: See also st. 19/6 below.

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