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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 October 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, 697-8

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

21 — Sturl Hryn 21II

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Valgerður Erna Þorvaldsdóttir (ed.) 2009, ‘Sturla Þórðarson, Hrynhenda 21’ 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. 697-8.

Allvaldr, dýrkaz út með Serkjum
innanlands af mildi þinni
— þjóðum líka þínir haukar
þaðra — alt með Blálands jaðri.
Víða hrjóta veglig mæti
vægðarlaust af yðrum frægðum;
hollar prýða heiminn allan
hnossir þínar, mærðar tínir.

Allvaldr, dýrkaz af mildi þinni innanlands með Serkjum alt út með jaðri Blálands; þjóðum þaðra líka haukar þínir. Veglig mæti hrjóta víða vægðarlaust af frægðum yðrum; hollar hnossir þínar prýða allan heiminn, {tínir mærðar}.

Mighty ruler, you are worshipped for your generosity within the land among the Saracens all the way out along the coast of Africa; the people there like your hawks. Grand, precious things spread far and wide incessantly about your reputation; your valuable treasures adorn the whole world, {gatherer of glory} [KING].

Mss: F(121va), 8(76v), Flat(185ra) (Hák)

Readings: [1] út: vert 8    [2] þinni: sinni Flat    [3] þjóðum: þengill Flat    [6] ‑laust: ‑laus Flat    [7] prýða: prýði Flat

Editions: Skj: Sturla Þórðarson, 3. Hrynhenda 21: AII, 108, BII, 118, Skald II, 63, NN §3150; F 1871, 568, Hák 1977-82, 192, Flat 1860-8, III, 216.

Context: King Hákon sent two emissaries to the court of the emir in Tunis, bearing precious gifts and falcons. One of the envoys was Loðinn leppr ‘Patch’ who had accompanied Kristín on her journey to Spain a few years before, in 1257.

Notes: [All]: During his reign, King Hákon managed to expand the Norw. state further to the north and west than his predecessors had been able to. He was on friendly terms with King Henry III of England and maintained diplomatic relations with many other rulers in Europe, such as Frederick II of the Holy Roman Empire and king of Sicily, King Louis IX of France, Alexander, prince of Novgorod, Pope Innocent IV and King Alfonso X. His influence was felt from the northernmost parts of Greenland all the way south to the coast of North Africa, from Iceland and Scotland in the west to Novgorod in the east. — [1] allvaldr ‘mighty ruler’: This is the fourth time that Sturla uses this word in the poem. Here, as in st. 20, it is used deliberately to call attention to the fact that Hákon was a sovereign ruler, the most powerful king in the history of Norway, and recognised as such throughout Europe. — [1, 2] dýrkaz af mildi þinni ‘you are worshipped for your generosity’: Praising the king for his generosity at the very end of the poem was a clever way to remind him of the gift that the skald expected to receive for his efforts. Sturla goes on to marvel at the precious gifts the king spreads around in the second half of the st. This indicates that he intended to recite his poem to the king and fully expected not only to win his good grace, but hoped for a handsome reward as well. — [3-4] þjóðum þaðra líka haukar þínir ‘the people there like your hawks’: Hákon had previously sent falcons to King Henry III of England (Helle 1968, 106). Falcons were used for hunting and were exported from Greenland, Iceland and Norway at a high price or sent as presents to foreign monarchs. As Kock pointed out, this can be construed with alt með jaðri Blálands ‘all the way along the coast of Africa’ (l. 4) (NN §3150). — [4] með jaðri Blálands ‘along the coast of Africa’: For Bláland ‘Africa’, see Note to Bǫlv Hardr 5/4.

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