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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 17 September 2021)

stanzas:  1   2   3   4 

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

SkP info: III, 480

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

4 — ÞSjár Frag 4III

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2017, ‘Þórðr Særeksson (Sjáreksson), Fragments 4’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 480.

The helmingr (ÞSjár Frag 4), which Jón Sigurðsson (SnE 1848-87, III, 557) assigns to a lost encomium, is recorded in AM 742 4°ˣ (742ˣ) between two stanzas (Snæbj Lv 1 and ESk Frag 14) from Skm. Ms. 742ˣ was written by Björn Jónsson of Skarðsá (1574-1656) in the first half of the seventeenth century. That ms. contains a redaction of LaufE with additional material, including this half-stanza by Þórðr Særeksson. Faulkes (LaufE 1979, 107 n. 1) believes that Björn found the half-stanza, along with other additions, in a no longer extant ms. of SnE. The name of the poet is given in the margin (Þórðr Sjáreksson kvað ‘Þórðr Sjáreksson said’). The helmingr is also recorded in Thott 1496 4°ˣ (1496ˣ) from the first half of the eighteenth century, probably a copy of the same redaction as 742ˣ (see Jón Helgason 1966a, 175-6), as well as in Lbs 1116 4°ˣ (1116ˣ), where it is located at the top of the last page of the ms. (p. 421a, numbered p. 321a) with the following caption: Ur Laufáseddu med hond Bjarnar á Skardsá Þórdur Sjáreksson ‘From Laufás Edda in the hand of Björn á Skarðsá Þórðr Sjáreksson’. The helmingr is corrupt, and previous attempts at reconstruction are unsatisfactory because they contain metrical errors.

Svát ór fitjar fjǫtri
flóðs ásynja, blóði
— raust bifask rǫmm — en systra,
rýtr, eymylvir spýtir.


So that {the goddess of the sea} [= Rán] wails from {the fetter of the meadow}, [SEA] and {the island-grinder} [MAELSTROM] spits out {the sisters’ blood}; [WATER] the strong voice trembles.

context: The helmingr illustrates kennings for ‘ocean’: hier er hafid kallað mylrir ‑ eÿía og fitiar fiǫtur ‘here the ocean is called mylrir of islands and the meadow’s fetter’ (742ˣ).

notes: The first, subordinate clause cannot be syntactically dependent on the following main clause (as in Skj B); rather, it must refer to something described in the preceding, now lost helmingr (see NN §1132).

texts: LaufE, LaufE, Skm 59, SnE 61

editions: Skj Þórðr Særeksson: 4. Lausavísur og ubestemmelige brudstykker 4 (AI, 330; BI, 304); Skald I, 154, NN §1132; CPB II, 55, Bugge 1886, 335-8.


AM 742 4°x (742x) 23r - 23r (LaufE)  image  image  
GKS 2367 4° (R) 22r, 26 - 22r, 27 (SnE)  image  image  image  
Lbs 1116 4°x (1116x) 421a - 421a (LaufE)  
Traj 1374x (Tx) - (SnE)  
AM 242 fol (W) 48, 4 - 48, 5 (SnE)  image  image  image  
Thott 1496 4°x (1496x) 52r - 52r (LaufE)  image  image  
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