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Sturla Þórðarson (Sturl)

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

1. Hrynhenda (Hryn) - 21

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, ‘ 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. <> (accessed 28 November 2021)

stanzas:  1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11   12   13   14   15   16   17   18   19   20   21 

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, 686-7

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

10 — Sturl Hryn 10II

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Valgerður Erna Þorvaldsdóttir (ed.) 2009, ‘Sturla Þórðarson, Hrynhenda 10’ 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. 686-7.

Hæstan kyndu hirðmenn traustir
heitan eld í Danaveldi;
skæriligr gekk húsum hæri
hallar gandr á sviðnu landi.
Víða fór um búkarls búðir
birkisótt, en hræddar dróttir
— bragnar eyddu báli slegnu
brunnit land — til skógar runnu.

Traustir hirðmenn kyndu hæstan heitan eld í Danaveldi; {skæriligr gandr hallar} gekk hæri húsum á sviðnu landi. {Birkisótt} fór víða um búðir búkarls, en hræddar dróttir runnu til skógar; bragnar eyddu land brunnit slegnu báli.

The trusty retainers kindled the highest hot fire in the realm of the Danes; {the bright wolf of the hall} [FIRE] leapt higher than the houses on the scorched land. {The sickness of the birch-tree} [FIRE] went far and wide through the dwellings of the farmer, but the frightened people fled to the wood; men devastated the land burnt by the kindled fire.

Mss: F(117vb), E(189v), 81a(118rb), 8(68r) (ll. 3-8), 304ˣ(347v) (ll. 1-2), Flat(182va) (Hák)

Readings: [1] Hæstan: Hæstum E, 81a, 304ˣ;    kyndu: kenndu E;    traustir: hraustir 304ˣ    [2] eld: eldi 81a;    í: á E, 81a    [3] skæri‑: skæði‑ 81a;    hæri: hæra E, 81a    [5] búkarls: so all others, ‘bukars’ F;    búðir: búðu 8    [6] hræddar: brendar E, 81a, Flat, ‘hræddnar’ 8;    dróttir: þjóðir E    [7] bragnar: ‘braddar’ E;    eyddu: so all others, margir F;    slegnu: so all others, slegnir F

Editions: Skj: Sturla Þórðarson, 3. Hrynhenda 10: AII, 105, BII, 115-16, Skald II, 61; F 1871, 550, E 1916, 646, Hák 1910-86, 649, Hák 1977-82, 164, Flat 1860-8, III, 193.

Context: Sturla continues to describe the warfare in Halland and how the troops burned down the Dan. settlements all the way south to the river Ätran, driving the inhabitants away.

Notes: [2] -veldi ‘realm’: Ms. 8 resumes here. — [4] gandr (m.) ‘wolf’: The exact meaning of the word is not clear, but gandr must mean ‘wolf’ here. It can mean, among other things, ‘staff’, ‘stick’ or ‘stake’, ‘magic wand’ or ‘the ride of witches and sorcerers’ or ‘witchcraft’, ‘wolf’ or ‘horse’. See Note to Sturl Hákkv 20/5. — [6-8] en hræddar dróttir runnu til skógar; bragnar eyddu land brunnit slegnu báli ‘but the frightened people fled to the wood; men devastated the land burnt by the kindled fire’: So E, 81a, 8, Flat. There may be a trace of sympathy for the people of Halland here. Sturla himself knew the horrors of fire, his daughter Ingibjörg having narrowly escaped when the farm at Flugumýri was burned down in 1253 (Stu 1988, II, 635-42). The F variant gives the following reading: en hræddar dróttir runnu brunnit land til skógar, margir bragnar slegnir báli ‘but the frightened people fled over the burnt land to the wood, many men struck by fire’. That reading is also possible, but not warranted by the other ms. witnesses.

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