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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, 733-4

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

7 — Sturl Hrafn 7II

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2009, ‘Sturla Þórðarson, Hrafnsmál 7’ 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. 733-4.

Helt inn hraðmælti
hringa viðþingaðr
leiðir lögskíðum
leygs í Suðreyjar.
Upp gaf alkeppnum
Engus herfengna
Íl fyr ítrbóla
eyði dalreyðar.

{Inn hraðmælti viðþingaðr hringa} helt {lögskíðum} leiðir leygs í Suðreyjar. Engus gaf upp herfengna Íl fyr {alkeppnum eyði {ítrbóla {dalreyðar}}}.

{The quick-spoken assembly-convener of swords} [WARRIOR] brought {the sea-skis} [SHIPS] on the paths of the ocean to the Hebrides. Angus surrendered Islay, captured in battle, on account of {the very vigorous spoiler {of the splendid lair {of the valley-char}}} [SNAKE > GOLD > GENEROUS MAN].

Mss: F(122va), 8(78r), 325X(11ra) (ll. 7-8), Flat(185va) (Hák)

Readings: [2] viðþingaðr: vígþingaðr 8, virðingu Flat    [3] lög‑: so 8, lof F, lang Flat;    ‑skíðum: so Flat, skeiðum F, 8    [4] ‑eyjar: so 8, Flat, ‑eyjum F    [7] Íl fyr ítrbóla: ‘[…]ola’ 325X

Editions: Skj: Sturla Þórðarson, 5. Hrafnsmál 7: AII, 121, BII, 128, Skald II, 69, NN §1357; F 1871, 573Hák 1977-82, 196, Flat 1860-8, III, 222.

Context: In August, Hákon sailed with most of his fleet to Gigha (island off the west coast of Kintyre). Men came to him and said that Murchaid and Angus, lords of Kintyre, wished to surrender to him. They gave hostages and pledged their allegiance, and Hákon placed Angus in charge of Islay.

Notes: [2] viðþingaðr ‘assembly-convener’: Hap. leg. Nomen agentis formed from þinga við ‘convene an assembly or a meeting, talk to sby’. See NN §1357. See also Sturl Hákfl 1/6. — [3] lögskíðum ‘the sea-skis [SHIPS]’: Lofskeiðum ‘commendable warships’ (so F) appears to be a lectio facilior. — [4]: Note the rhyme -eyg- : -eyj- (see ANG §251). — [4] í Suðreyjar (f. acc. pl.) ‘to the Hebrides’: So 8, Flat. Suðreyjum (f. dat. pl.; so F) is ungrammatical because the prep. requires acc. here. — [8] dalreyðar ‘of the valley-char’: Reyðr ‘char’ (Salvelinus alpinus), a fish of the salmon species (ModIcel. reyður, ModNorw røye). This cpd occurs in Anon (Sǫrl) l. 5VIII, which is composed in Haðarlag metre as well. See also ESk Øxfl 1III and ÞBrún Lv 4V. Reyðr is also a whale (see Note to Steinn Óldr 11/7), but it appears that the word originally denoted ‘char’, because it was borrowed into Saami (rav’do ‘char’) from Proto Scandinavian (*rauðiō) in that sense (see Nielsen 1908, 228). In LP: reyðr 2, both ‘whale’ and ‘char’ are listed as possible meanings of the word in the present kenning, while Meissner (p. 109; so also Konráð Gíslason 1895-7, I, 96) takes it in the sense ‘char’. That interpretation is more likely, because the kenning clearly imitates such circumlocutions for ‘snake’ as attested in dalmiskunn fiska, i.e. miskunn dalfiska ‘the mercy of the valley-fish’ [SNAKE > SUMMER], Egill Lv 8/4V. In general, if reyðr is excluded from the list, fish-names are far more common than whale-names in snake-kennings (see Meissner 112-13). See also Note to Sturl Hákfl 2/1.

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