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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 29 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, 691-2

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

14 — Sturl Hryn 14II

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Valgerður Erna Þorvaldsdóttir (ed.) 2009, ‘Sturla Þórðarson, Hrynhenda 14’ 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. 691-2.

Norðan heldu alt um öldur,
auðar lundr, við þik til fundar
— húfar treystu drifnar dúfur —
dygðarmenn ór Finna bygðum.
Svífa léztu ór hverju hrófi
hlaðnar skeiðr á vatnit breiða;
sandi jós um stálin steindu
storðar gandr fyrir Elfi norðan.

{Lundr auðar}, dygðarmenn alt norðan ór bygðum Finna heldu um öldur til fundar við þik; húfar treystu drifnar dúfur. Léztu hlaðnar skeiðr svífa ór hverju hrófi á vatnit breiða; {gandr storðar} jós sandi um stálin steindu fyrir norðan Elfi.

{Tree of wealth} [GENEROUS MAN], trusty men all the way from the north from the settlements of the Saami sailed across the waves to the meeting with you; the hulls tested the foaming waves. You let the heavily-laden warships glide from every boat-shed onto wide water; {the wolf of the land} [WIND] dashed sand over the painted prows north of the Götaälv.

Mss: F(118va), E(191r), 81a(119rb), 8(69v), Flat(183ra) (Hák)

Readings: [1] heldu: heldut Flat;    öldur: öldar Flat    [2] auðar lundr: auðlundr Flat    [5] léztu: lét 81a, ‘líetzt þu’ 8;    hrófi: ‘hriofí’ 8    [6] skeiðr: ‘skedur’ 8;    á: í 8;    breiða: beiða E

Editions: Skj: Sturla Þórðarson, 3. Hrynhenda 13: AII, 105-6, BII, 116, Skald II, 62, NN §2286; F 1871, 554, E 1916, 651, Hák 1910-86, 659, Hák 1977-82, 173, Flat 1860-8, III, 197.

Context: Sturla returns to describing how men came from all over Viken to Tønsberg to join the king on his expedition to Denmark in 1257. According to the st., men came all the way from the Saami settlements in the north.

Notes: [All]: For this expedition, see also Sturl Hákfl 9 and Giz Hákdr. — [3] húfar treystu drifnar dúfur ‘the hulls tested the foaming waves’: As Konráð Gíslason pointed out (1895-7, I, 77-8), the verb treysta means ‘try the strength of’. It would seem more natural if the waves tested the strength of the hulls rather than the other way around, but all the mss have húfar (m. nom. pl.). Finnur Jónsson (Skj B) emended to húfa (m. acc. pl.) and Konráð claimed he was convinced that húfa was the original reading and dúfur ‘waves’ the subject, but did not emend. Kock disagreed with Finnur and Konráð and pointed out other examples where the hulls test the strength of the waves and not the other way around (NN §2286). — [8] fyrir norðan Elfi ‘north of the Götaälv’: Skj B and Skald construe the prepositional phrase with the first cl. in the helmingr, which is also possible.

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