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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Þjóðólfr ór Hvini (Þjóð)

9th century; volume 1; ed. Edith Marold;

1. Ynglingatal (Yt) - 37

Skj info: Þjóðólfr ór Hvini, enn hvinverski, Norsk skjald, 9 årh. (AI, 7-21, BI, 7-19).

Skj poems:
1. Ynglingatal
2. Haustlǫng
3. Et digt om Harald hårfagre, næppe ægte
4. Lausavísur

Þjóðólfr ór Hvini, or inn hvinverski, ‘from Hvinir’ (Þjóð) was a Norwegian skald of the late ninth or early tenth century. As his nickname indicates, he was from Hvinir (Kvinesdal, Vest-Agder). His biography is largely unknown. Skáldatal names him as poet to several rulers and powerful men: Haraldr hárfagri ‘Fair-hair’ and Rǫgnvaldr heiðumhár or heiðumhæri ‘High with Honours’ (SnE 1848-87, III, 253, 261, 273), Hákon jarl Grjótgarðsson (ibid., 256, 265, 280), Þorleifr inn spaki ‘the Wise’ (ibid., 259, 268, 285), Strút-Haraldr jarl (ibid., 259, 284) and an unknown Sveinn jarl (ibid., 268). However, the associations with Hákon, Strút-Haraldr and Þorleifr are uncertain since they may have lived later in the tenth century; see Bugge (1894, 145, 175); Åkerlund (1939, 7). In Hkr, both within the Prologue (ÍF 26, 4) and in HHárf (ÍF 26, 127-8, 139), Þjóðólfr is represented as skald and friend to Haraldr hárfagri and as a dedicated foster-father to Haraldr’s son Guðrøðr ljómi ‘Beam of Light’. It is in this context that he speaks the two lausavísur associated with him (Þjóð Lv 1-2). Þjóðólfr ór Hvini is the composer of the poems Ynglingatal (Þjóð Yt) and Haustlǫng (Þjóð HaustlIII, edited in SkP III). Five stanzas of a poem dedicated to Haraldr hárfagri (Þjóð Har) are also attributed to him. Several stanzas of Haraldskvæði (Þhorn Harkv) are falsely attributed to Þjóðólfr; see Introduction to Harkv. Finally, a fragment (Þjóðólfr FragIII) edited in SkP III is likely to be the work of a different Þjóðólfr, though it is tentatively associated with Þjóð Yt in Skj; see Introduction to Yt.

Ynglingatal — Þjóð YtI

Edith Marold with the assistance of Vivian Busch, Jana Krüger, Ann-Dörte Kyas and Katharina Seidel, translated from German by John Foulks 2012, ‘(Introduction to) Þjóðólfr ór Hvini, Ynglingatal’ in Diana Whaley (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 1: From Mythical Times to c. 1035. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 1. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 3.

 1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11   12   13   14   15   16   17   18   19   20   21   22   23   24   25   26   27 

for reference only:  8x   11x   13x   14x   15x   16x   17x   20x   25x   26x 

Skj: Þjóðólfr ór Hvini, enn hvinverski: 1. Ynglingatal (AI, 7-15, BI, 7-14); stanzas (if different): 9 | 10 | 11 | 12-13 | 13 | 14 | 15-16 | 16 | 17-18 | 18 | 19-20 | 20 | 21-22 | 22 | 23-24 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27-28 | 28 | 29 | 30 | 31 | 32 | 33-34 | 34 | 35-36 | 36 | 37 | 38(?)

SkP info: I, 34

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

15 — Þjóð Yt 15I

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Edith Marold (ed.) 2012, ‘Þjóðólfr ór Hvini, Ynglingatal 15’ in Diana Whaley (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 1: From Mythical Times to c. 1035. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 1. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 34.

Fell Óttarr
und ara greipar
fyr Dana vôpnum.
Þann hergammr
hrægum fœti
ðs borinn
á Vendli sparn.
Þau frák verk
Vǫtts ok Fasta
sœnskri þjóð
at sǫgum verða,
at eylands
jarlar Fróða
of veginn hǫfðu.


The valiant Óttarr fell beneath the talons of the eagle before the weapons of the Danes. {The battle-vulture}, [RAVEN/EAGLE] come from afar, trod him with flesh-hung foot at Vendill. I have learned that these deeds of Vǫttr and Fasti became legends for the Swedish people, that the jarls of Fróði from the island had killed {the inciter of war}. [WARRIOR]

context: Strife arises between Egill’s son and successor Óttarr and the Danish king Fróði over some tribute that Egill had promised in return for Fróði’s support but never paid. Fróði invades Sweden with his troops, doing great damage. The following summer, when Fróði has gone raiding in the Baltic, Óttarr retaliates and invades, devastating Limafjǫrðr (the Limfjorden area). Fróði’s jarls Vǫttr and Fasti stage a defence in the king’s absence, and Óttarr dies in a battle in Vendill. The Danes lay his body on a hill, leaving it to birds and wild animals. They send a wooden crow to Sweden as a taunt about the king, for which reason he is afterwards called vendilkráka ‘Vendel-crow’.

notes: This stanza sets the death of Óttarr in Denmark, at a place called Vendill which Þjóðólfr may have associated with Vendsyssel, north of Limfjorden in Jutland. However, this is generally assumed to stem from a misinterpretation of Swedish tradition on Þjóðólfr’s part, which was then taken up by HN and by Snorri in Hkr. According to numerous scholars (e.g. Vikstrand 2004, 379-83), the p. n. Vendill originally designated the region Vendel, north of Uppsala. This identification has been made partly because of the exceptionally large burial mound there, known as Ottarshögen since the second half of the C17th. Although it cannot be proven that the ruler buried there was the Óttarr of Yt, the dating of the Vendel finds corresponds roughly to that of the stanza’s historical background inasmuch as it may be inferred from Beowulf. A further indication that Vendill is the Vendel district in Sweden has been seen in Vendilkráka, the king’s nickname, which appears in Hkr. However, this nickname applies to Egill in HN and Íslb, not to Óttarr. Vendelkråkor is said to have been a comical designation for people from Vendel over a long period (Vikstrand 2004, 380-3). The assumption has been that Snorri transferred Egill’s nickname to his son Óttarr (Bugge 1894, 141; Storm 1899, 109; Krag 1991, 121). If this is correct, the association with the region in Sweden would also apply to Egill.

texts: Yng 24 (I 20a), Hkr 24 (I 20a)

editions: Skj Þjóðólfr ór Hvini, enn hvinverski: 1. Ynglingatal 19-20 (AI, 11; BI, 10-11); Skald I, 7, NN §76; Hkr 1893-1901, I, 53-4, IV, 16-17, ÍF 26, 54-5, Hkr 1991, I, 31-2 (Yng ch. 27), F 1871, 20-1; Yng 1912, 35, 64 , Yng 2000, 42; Yt 1914, 9, Yt 1925, 204, 237-8.


AM 35 folx (Kx) 29v, 16 - 29v, 23 (Hkr)  transcr.  image  image  
Holm papp 18 folx (papp18x) 8r, 14 - 8r, 16 (Hkr)  image  
OsloUB 521 folx (521x) 34, 2 - 34, 17 (Hkr)  image  
AM 45 fol (F) 5ra, 35 - 5ra, 37 (Hkr)  transcr.  image  image  image  image  
AM 37 folx (J1x) 12v, 4 - 12v, 6 (Hkr)  transcr.  image  
AM 38 folx (J2x) 16r, 20 - 16v, 4 (Hkr)  transcr.  image  
UppsUB R 685x (R685x) 16r, 18 - 16r, 21 (Hkr)  transcr.  image  
AM 761 a 4°x (761ax) 59v, 6 - 60r, 1  image  
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