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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, 688-9

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

12 — Sturl Hryn 12II

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Valgerður Erna Þorvaldsdóttir (ed.) 2009, ‘Sturla Þórðarson, Hrynhenda 12’ 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. 688-9.

Hrinda lét út herskips bröndum
hilmir frægr á saltan ægi;
eldi hrauð fyrir æsiköldum
unnar meið ór dregnum hlunni.
Almenningr varð út at sinna,
ógnar lundr, á þinni grundu;
mildir höfðu herboð höldar
harða sveld af Nóregsveldi.

Frægr hilmir lét hrinda bröndum herskips út á saltan ægi; eldi hrauð ór dregnum hlunni fyrir {æsiköldum meið unnar}. Almenningr á grundu þinni varð at sinna út, {lundr ógnar}; mildir höldar höfðu harða sveld herboð af Nóregsveldi.

The famous king had the prows of warships propelled out onto the salty sea; fire poured from the worn slipway before {the terribly cold tree of the wave} [SHIP]. All people in your land had to set out, {tree of battle} [WARRIOR]; the generous men had a very large conscripted army from the kingdom of Norway.

Mss: F(118rb), E(190v), 81a(119ra), 8(69r), Flat(183ra) (Hák)

Readings: [1] lét út: réð úr E, réðu 81a, réð út 8, ‘reedtu’ Flat    [3] hrauð: rauð all others;    fyrir: á 81a;    æsi‑: ægi‑ 81a    [4] meið: meiðr 81a;    hlunni: hlunnum 81a    [5] sinna: ganga 81a    [7] her‑: so all others, út‑ F    [8] harða: hardla Flat;    sveld: sveldr 81a, Flat;    af: ór E, 8, Flat, om. 81a

Editions: Skj: Sturla Þórðarson, 3. Hrynhenda 12: AII, 105, BII, 116, Skald II, 61, NN §§1106, 1914D; F 1871, 553, E 1916, 650, Hák 1910-86, 656, Hák 1977-82, 172, Flat 1860-8, III, 196.

Context: In 1256 King Hákon called up yet another fleet to sail to Denmark. This was the largest fleet he had ever sent there, 300 ships. 

Notes: [1] lét ... út ‘had ... out’: This edn follows Konráð Gíslason (1895-7, I, 76) in choosing the reading of F, but Finnur Jónsson and Kock (Skj B; Skald) adjust the reading of Flat and 8 to réðuð (2nd pers. pl. pret. indic.) as an auxiliary with the inf. hrinda ‘propel’. According to that interpretation, frægr hilmir ‘famous king’ (l. 2) is a form of address. — [3] æsiköldum ‘terribly cold’: This is an example of a clever wordplay, in which the ‘terribly cold’ stem of the ship forms a sharp contrast with the fiery-hot slipway, bringing to mind the icy waves of the northern seas. — [4] dregnum hlunni ‘worn slipway’: Ships were launched out to sea on a wooden slipway and were pulled up the same way to be stored on land for the winter. The weight of the ships as they were being pulled on the slipway wore down the wooden planks and the rubbing generated heat, causing sparks to fly from under the ships, according to LP: draga 11. That interpretation is partly supported by ONP: draga 26 præt. part.: dreginn ‘weakened, worn out’. By using the p. p. dreginn Sturla plays with the two meanings, ‘pulled’ and ‘worn’. Kock rejected the latter interpretation. He construed the couplet as eldi hrauð fyr æsiköldum meið unnar dregnum ór hlunnum ‘fire poured from the terribly cold tree of the wave dragged from the slipway’ (NN §§1106, 1914D). — [5] almenningr ‘all people’: It is hard to determine whether almenningr means ‘general levy’ or simply ‘people’. Both meanings are possible (see CVC: almenning 3, 4; Fritzner: almenningr 3, 4; ONP: almenningr 4, 5). LP translates almenningr as det samlede udbud (til leding), den samlede krigerskare ‘the general conscription (for the levy), the gathered army’. Jesch (2001a, 196) pointed out that the term almenningr is used in the later Norw. laws for the general levy that the king could call up if needed. Finnur Jónsson (Skj B) chose the more general meaning alle mand ‘all people’ and this edn follows his interpretation. — [7] herboð ‘conscripted army’: So E, 81a, 8, Flat. This reading gives alliteration in three words in the same l. (höfðu : herboð : höldar), but that is not unusual in hrynhent. Konráð Gíslason (1895-7, I, 76) adopted the reading of F, útboð ‘levy’, avoiding the extra alliteration, but the other ms. witnesses show that this is a secondary variant. — [8] sveld ‘large’: This is the p. p. n. nom. sg. of the weak causative verb svella ‘make swell’. Finnur Jónsson says (LP: 2. svella): med hensyn til den strænge befaling om meget mandskab der skulde samles ‘in consideration of the strict order about a large number of men that should be gathered’. The herboð ‘conscripted army’ (l. 7) swelled in numbers, as men all over the Norw. kingdom received orders to join King Hákon on his expedition to Denmark.

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