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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, ‘ 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 30 June 2022)

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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, 687-8

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

11 — Sturl Hryn 11II

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Valgerður Erna Þorvaldsdóttir (ed.) 2009, ‘Sturla Þórðarson, Hrynhenda 11’ 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. 687-8.

Gneistum hratt fyrir Elfi austan
elris garmr í ráfit varma;
síðan fellu hávar hallir
hrygðarstund í Dana bygðum.
Innin tóku öll at brenna
(ógnarstríðr) á Hallandssíðu
(ýta rann um stórlig stræti
storðar úlfr fyrir Glaumstein norðan).

{Garmr elris} hratt gneistum í ráfit varma fyrir austan Elfi; síðan fellu hávar hallir hrygðarstund í bygðum Dana. Öll innin tóku at brenna á Hallandssíðu; {ógnarstríðr úlfr storðar} rann um stórlig stræti ýta fyrir norðan Glaumstein.

{The hound of the alder-tree} [FIRE] threw sparks at the warm roof east of the Götaälv; then the high halls fell down at that sorrowful time in the Danes’ settlements. All the houses began to burn on the coast of Halland; {the battle-harsh wolf of the land} [FIRE] ran through the great streets of men north of Glaumsteinn.

Mss: F(117vb-118ra), E(189v) (ll. 1-4), 81a(118va), 8(68r), Flat(182vb) (Hák)

Readings: [1] austan: austa Flat    [2] ráfit: ræfrit E, 8, Flat, rétt svá 81a    [4] í: á 81a    [5] Innin: inni all others    [6] ‑stríðr: so 8, stríð F, 81a, Flat    [8] fyrir: við 81a;    Glaum‑: so 81a, 8, glym‑ F, Flat

Editions: Skj: Sturla Þórðarson, 3. Hrynhenda 11: AII, 105, BII, 116, Skald II, 61, NN §1351; F 1871, 550, E 1916, 647, Hák 1910-86, 650, Hák 1977-82, 165, Flat 1860-8, III, 193.

Context: The night after the burning, the fleet got caught in a storm and some of the ships drifted off. The Danes took the opportunity to attack and kill some of Hákon’s men, and set the ships that drifted ashore on fire. The Norwegians managed to save some of the ships before heading off again to Årnäs (Aranes), where they burned the Dan. settlement.

Notes: [All]: Sturla seems to have been particularly fascinated with fire. He creates a similar, but more elaborate nýgerving ‘extension of meaning’, i.e. giving a new meaning to words (see SnE 1999, 131) in Sturl Hákkv 7-8, where fire is shown as a vicious dog set free by Hákon, devouring everything in its path. — [2] garmr elris ‘the hound of the alder-tree [FIRE]’: See Sturl Hákkv 7/7. — [2] ráfit (n. sg.) ‘the roof’: E, 8 and Flat have the later form of the word, ræfrit. — [5-8]: Finnur Jónsson and Kock did not agree on the interpretation of this helmingr. Skj B construes stórlig ‘great’(l. 7) with innin (inni) ‘houses’ (l. 5) and gives the following reading: ǫll stórlig inni fyr norðan Glymstein tóku at brenna ‘all great houses north of Glymsteinn began to burn’. The present edn agrees with Kock’s (NN §1351) and Konráð Gíslason’s (1895-7, I, 75) interpretations, except that Konráð places stórlig stræti ýta ‘great streets of men’ (l. 7) more precisely á Hallandssíðu fyr norðan Glymstein ‘on the coast of Halland north of Glymsteinn’ (ll. 6, 7, 8). — [8] Glaumstein ‘Glaumsteinn’: This p. n. has not been identified.

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