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Runic Dictionary

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Þórðr Særeksson (Sjáreksson) (ÞSjár)

11th century; volume 1; ed. Kari Ellen Gade;

III. Fragments (Frag) - 4

Very little is known about Þórðr Særeksson (or, in a later form, Sjáreksson) (ÞSjár). Skáldatal (SnE 1848-87, III, 253, 257, 274, 281) lists him among the poets of Eiríkr jarl Hákonarson (r. c. 1000-c. 1014) and King Óláfr Haraldsson (S. Óláfr, d. 1030). According to ÓT (1958-2000, II, 322-3) Þórðr went on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land during the reign of Óláfr Haraldsson, and, arriving in Syria, met Óláfr Tryggvason, who is said to have escaped from the battle of Svǫlðr (c. 1000). Óláfr greeted Þórðr warmly and sent his regards to Þórðr’s kinsman-in-law (mágr), the famous Icelander Hjalti Skeggjason. In some mss Þórðr is referred to as Svartsson or svartaskáld, probably from a misreading of his patronymic (see LH I, 603-5 and Introduction to ðudrápa (Róðdr) below). In addition to the poems edited here (Þórálfs drápa Skólmssonar (Þórdr), Flokkr about Klœingr Brúsason (Klœingr) and Róðdr), three fragments of Þórðr’s poetry are preserved in SnE and one in LaufE (ÞSjár Frag 1-4III); these fragments are edited in SkP III. Þórðr’s oeuvre presents difficulties in that the people and events commemorated there span some sixty-five years, from c. 961 (Þórdr) to c. 1026 (Róðdr), so that it must be assumed either that he was exceptionally long-lived or that Þórdr was composed after a lapse of several years or decades; see further Introduction to that poem.

LP: ÞSjár(Sær)

Fragments — ÞSjár FragIII

Kari Ellen Gade 2017, ‘ Þórðr Særeksson (Sjáreksson), Fragments’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 476. <> (accessed 27 September 2021)

stanzas:  1   2   3   4 

Skj: Þórðr Særeksson: 4. Lausavísur og ubestemmelige brudstykker (AI, 329-330, BI, 303-304)

SkP info: III, 478

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

3 — ÞSjár Frag 3III

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2017, ‘Þórðr Særeksson (Sjáreksson), Fragments 3’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 478.

This stanza (ÞSjár Frag 3), which is transmitted in mss R, , W of Skm (SnE), is peculiar in that each line in the first helmingr forms an independent clause with the corresponding line in the second helmingr (i.e. ll. 1+5, 2+6, 3+7, 4+8). In FoGT this poetic device is given as an example of antitheton (similar to ‘antithesis’; see SnE 1848-87, II, 224-6 and FoGT 1884, 138 as well as SnE 1848-87, III, 558-9 and Anon (FoGT) 23, 25-6). In the present stanza, each clause refers to an incident from Old Norse myth or legend, whereas the subject matter of the stanzas given in FoGT is Norwegian history. The metre is runhent and the name of the poet is given as Þórðr Sjáreksson in all mss.

Varð sjǫlf suna,
nama snotr una,
Kjalarr of tamði,
kvôðut Hamði,
Guðrún bani;
goðbrúðr Vani;
heldr vel mara;
hjǫrleik spara.

Guðrún varð sjǫlf bani suna; snotr goðbrúðr nama una Vani; Kjalarr of tamði mara heldr vel; kvôðut Hamði spara {hjǫrleik}.

Guðrún herself became the killer of her sons; the wise god-bride [Skaði] did not begin to love the Vanr [Njǫrðr]; Kjalarr <= Óðinn> tamed horses very well; they did not say that Hamðir was stingy {with sword-play} [BATTLE].

Mss: R(22r), Tˣ(22v), W(48) (SnE)

Readings: [1] sjǫlf (‘sialf’): sjalfs Tˣ;    suna (‘sona’): so all others, sonar R    [4] kvôðut: ‘quodit’ Tˣ    [8] hjǫr‑: so all others, hǫr‑ R;    spara: svara Tˣ

Editions: Skj: Þórðr Særeksson, 4. Lausavísur og ubestemmelige brudstykker 3: AI, 330, BI, 303-4, Skald I, 154; SnE 1848-87, I, 262-3, III, 19, SnE 1931, 97, SnE 1998, I, 18.

Context: The stanza is found in Skm in the section on kennings for the god Njǫrðr (SnE 1998, I, 18): Hér er þess getit er Skaði gekk frá Nirði sem fyrr er ritat ‘Here it is told that Skaði left Njǫrðr, as is written earlier’.

Notes: [1, 5]: Guðrún Gjúkadóttir’s murder of her sons, Erpr and Eitill, is commemorated in Akv 35-8 and Am 77-85 (see also SnE 1998, I, 48-9). — [1] suna ‘of her sons’: Sona ‘sons’ (so , W) has been normalised to the more archaic suna to preserve the end-rhyme. The R variant, sonar (m. gen. sg.) ‘of the son’ makes no sense syntactically. — [2, 6]: The giantess Skaði’s unhappy marriage to Njǫrðr, a god of the Vanir family, is related in Gylf (SnE 2005, 23-4; see also SnE 1998, I, 2).   — [3, 7]: Óðinn’s taming of horses must refer to a now lost myth. For the Óðinn-name Kjalarr, see Grí 49/4-5 (NK 67): enn þá Kialar | er ec kiálca dró ‘and then [they called me] Kjalarr when I pulled the sled’. This latter reference is obscure as well, because there is no extant myth that connects Óðinn with a sled. For a discussion of the etymology of this name, see Note to Þul Óðins 1/5. — [4, 8]: Hamðir’s warlike exploits are recounted in Hamð and Bragi Rdr 3-7. — [6] Vani ‘the Vanr [Njǫrðr]’: One of the very few instances of the sg. form of what is usually a pl. noun, and one of the rare occurrences of the noun in skaldic poetry. — [8] hjǫrleik ‘with sword-play [BATTLE]’: So , W. The R variant hǫrleik ‘bow-string play’ appears to be secondary (scribal corruption).

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