Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Sturla Þórðarson (Sturl)

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

1. Hrynhenda (Hryn) - 21

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.

Hrynhenda — Sturl HrynII

Valgerður Erna Þorvaldsdóttir 2009, ‘(Introduction to) Sturla Þórðarson, Hrynhenda’ 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. 676-98.

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Skj: Sturla Þórðarson: 3. Hrynhenda, 1262 (AII, 102-8, BII, 113-18); stanzas (if different): 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 22

SkP info: II, 678

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

1 — Sturl Hryn 1II

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance

 

Cite as: Valgerður Erna Þorvaldsdóttir (ed.) 2009, ‘Sturla Þórðarson, Hrynhenda 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. 678.

Frægjan réð þik Vilhjálmr vígja,
varrbáls hötuðr, kardináli;
engi valdiz jafngóðr hingat
aldar gramr af páfa valdi.
Kórónu lét kristni stýrir,
kynprýddr jöfurr, yðr of skrýdda;
ramri grund hafið, ríkisvandar
reiðivaldr, með frægðum haldit.

Vilhjálmr kardináli réð vígja þik, frægjan, {hötuðr {varrbáls}}; engi jafngóðr valdiz hingat af valdi páfa, {gramr aldar}. {Stýrir kristni} lét yðr, kynprýddr jöfurr, of skrýdda kórónu; {reiðivaldr ríkisvandar}, hafið haldit ramri grund með frægðum.

Cardinal William consecrated you, renowned one, {hater {of the sea-flame}} [GOLD > GENEROUS MAN]; none as good was sent here by the Pope’s power, {ruler of men} [KING]. {The leader of Christianity} [CARDINAL] had you, high-born prince, adorned with a crown; {swinger of the royal sceptre} [KING], you have held the mighty land with renown.

Mss: F(114ra), E(182v), 42ˣ(172r), 81a(113vb), Flat(180va) (Hák)

Readings: [1] Frægjan: Frægan 81a;    réð: lét E    [2] varr‑: ‘vor’ 42ˣ;    hötuðr: hvötuðr E, ‘haurauðr’ 42ˣ    [3] valdiz: vandiz E;    hingat: so all others, þangat F    [5] kristni: kristin E;    stýrir: prýði 42ˣ    [6] ‑prýddr: ‑prúðr 42ˣ, ‑bryddr Flat;    jöfurr: so all others, om. F;    skrýdda: ‘skrdda’ Flat    [7] ramri: gramr í E;    grund: grundu E, 42ˣ, 81a

Editions: Skj: Sturla Þórðarson, 3. Hrynhenda 1: AII, 102, BII, 113, Skald II, 60; F 1871, 531, E 1916, 622-3, Hák 1910-86, 598, Flat 1860-8, III, 171.

Context: The st. documents the crowning of King Hákon in Bergen in the summer of 1247.

Notes: [All]: For this event, see also Sturl Hákkv 25-33. — [All]: The st. is attributed to Óláfr hvítaskáld Þórðarson (Ólhv) in Flat (Flat III, 1860-8, 171). — [1] Vilhjálmr ‘William’: Cardinal William of Sabina (Vilhjálmr) was a special emissary of Pope Innocent IV, sent to Norway in 1246 (see Notes to Sturl Hákkv 25/15 and 25/16). Hákon was the illegitimate son of King Hákon Sverrisson and needed the Church’s recognition to secure his claim to the throne. He had been trying to get the Pope’s approval since the 1220s, first through the Norw. bishops, and then by writing directly to Innocent IV. He was the third king of Norway who was crowned by a representative of the Church. The first one was Magnús Erlingsson, who was crowned in 1163 or 1164, the second Sverrir Siguðarson, Hákon’s grandfather, who forced the Norw. bishops to crown him in 1194 (Lunden 1976, 98-9). — [2] varrbáls ‘of the sea-flame’: Vörr means ‘wake of a ship’ or ‘stroke of the oar’, but in the kenning varrbál it means ‘sea’. See also st. 19/4 below. — [5] stýrir kristni ‘leader of Christianity [CARDINAL]’: Sturla could possibly be referring to Pope Innocent IV rather than to Cardinal William, although that seems unlikely. The Pope had given his consent to the crowning, but the Cardinal was present during the ceremony. — [7-8]: Sturla is referring to the fact that when Hákon was crowned he had already been king of Norway for thirty years, since 1217.

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