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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, 21

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

8 — Þjóð Yt 8I

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Edith Marold (ed.) 2012, ‘Þjóðólfr ór Hvini, Ynglingatal 8’ 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. 21.

Frák at Dagr
dauða orði
frægðar fúss
of fara skyldi,
þás valteins
til Vǫrva kom
Spǫrs at hefna.
Ok þat orð
á austrvega
vísa ferð
frá vígi bar,
at þann gram
of geta skyldi
Sleipnis verðar.

Frák at Dagr, fúss frægðar, skyldi of fara orði dauða, þás {spakfrǫmuðr {valteins}} kom til Vǫrva at hefna Spǫrs. Ok ferð vísa bar þat orð frá vígi á austrvega, at {slǫnguþref {verðar Sleipnis}} skyldi of geta þann gram.

I learned that Dagr, eager for fame, had to depart by the word of death when {the wise wielder {of the twig of the slain}} [SWORD > WARRIOR] came to Vǫrvi to avenge Spǫrr. And the retinue of the leader bore the news from the fight to the east , that {the flung grasper {of the meal of Sleipnir <horse>}} [HAY > PITCHFORK] had to get that prince.

Mss: (20r), papp18ˣ(5v), 521ˣ(19-20), F(3va), J2ˣ(10v), R685ˣ(12r) (Hkr); 761aˣ(57r)

Readings: [1] at: om. F    [2] orði: yrði J2ˣ, R685ˣ    [3] frægðar: fremðar J2ˣ, R685ˣ    [5] valteins: vakins J2ˣ, R685ˣ    [7] ‑frǫmuðr: ‘‑fꜹmuðr’ 521ˣ    [8] Spǫrs: ‘spauts’ R685ˣ    [10] á: í F    [14] geta: gæta F, ‘getta’ J2ˣ, geita R685ˣ    [15] slǫngu‑ (‘slongv’): so F, ‘sleyngo’ Kˣ, papp18ˣ, 521ˣ, 761aˣ, ‘slyngu‑’ J2ˣ, R685ˣ;    ‑þref: ‑þrefs F    [16] Sleipnis: ‘slepn[…]’ corrected from ‘slefn[…]’ J2ˣ, ‘slefnis’ corrected from ‘slepnis’ in another hand R685ˣ

Editions: Skj: Þjóðólfr ór Hvini, enn hvinverski, 1. Ynglingatal 8-9: AI, 9, BI, 8, Skald I, 5; Hkr 1893-1901, I, 34, IV, 9-10, ÍF 26, 36, Hkr 1991, I, 20 (Yng ch. 18), F 1871, 13; Yng 1912, 24, 59-60, Yng 2000, 24; Yt 1914, 5, Yt 1925, 200, 223-5.

Context: King Dagr, son of Dyggvi, has a sparrow of which he is very fond and whose language he can understand. This bird is killed by a farmer in Vǫrvi in Reiðgotaland, whereupon the king, learning of its fate through sacrificing a boar, takes an army there. He avenges the killing bitterly, only to be killed by a pitchfork flung at him as he returns to his ships.

Notes: [2] orði dauða ‘by the word of death’: Cf. feigðarorð ‘word of doom’ in st. 1/3. — [5, 7] spakfrǫmuðr valteins ‘the wise wielder of the twig of the slain [SWORD > WARRIOR]’: (a) This is the interpretation offered by most eds (Hkr 1893-1901; Skj B; Yng 1912; ÍF 26; Hkr 1991), and indeed valteinn is best regarded as ‘twig of the slain’, a variation on the common kenning pattern ‘twig or rod of wounds [SWORD]’ (Meissner 152). (b) Some commentators, in light of the report in Yng that Dagr learns of the death of his sparrow through a sonarblót ‘sacrifice of a boar’, see in valteinn a reference to a sacrificial twig used for divining or casting lots, cf. hlautteinn ‘sacrificial twig’ in Þvíðf Lv 1/4IV (see, e.g., Yt 1925; Turville-Petre 1978-9, 53; Sundqvist 2005a, 108). King Dagr would then potentially figure as a priest or seer. Yet such interpretations require val to have the sense ‘blood of the sacrificed’ (cf. valr m. ‘the slain’) or ‘casting of lots’ (cf. val n. ‘choice’), and neither these, nor the casting of lots with sacrificial blood, can be proven. — [6] til Vǫrva ‘to Vǫrvi’: Snorri in Yng treats Vǫrvi as a p. n., but no location has been discovered for it, with the exception of an uncertain attempt to identify it with the former Ger. p. n. Worwegen in the region south of the Vistula Lagoon (Zalew Wiślany) in Poland (Beckman 1960, 6). Noreen (1912a, 5-6) thinks it is a common noun, the gen. pl. of *vǫr (cf. OE w(e)aroþ ‘shore’), and he translates it as ‘of the beaches’ (cf. also McKinnell 2005, 72). — [8] at hefna Spǫrs ‘to avenge Spǫrr’: (a) Spǫrr is tentatively taken in this edn as a pers. n., rather than the common noun spǫrr ‘sparrow’. A corresponding name, sbauṛ, is found on an C11th Danish rune stone (Randers 1, DR 115) and appears in Denmark later as Sporgh (Beckman 1960, 5; cf. also Peterson 2007, 203). Müller (1970, 88) also points to an OWN name Spǫrr (Lind 1905-15, 943), and to OE Sperflinc and Sperlinc, names of royal moneyers on C10th Anglo-Saxon coins. These names are thought to be based on Nordic models, as no corresponding names exist elsewhere in Gmc. (b) According to Snorri’s Yng (see Context), Dagr had a soothsaying sparrow which was killed in the east, and for this Dagr undertook a campaign of vengeance during which he too was killed. But although tales in which birds can prophesy do exist, e.g. the crows in Anon (Ólkyrr) 2II or the titmice in Fáfn 32-44, it is more likely that the story was modelled on Óðinn’s ravens Huginn and Muninn (cf. Schück 1904, II, 146-7). Even if the stanza tells of avenging a spǫrr ‘sparrow’, it gives no indication that this bird could tell the future, so the detail in Yng likely came from Snorri himself. — [15-16] slǫnguþref verðar Sleipnis ‘the flung grasper of the meal of Sleipnir <horse> [HAY > PITCHFORK]’: Following Noreen (Yt 1925), þref is understood here as an agentive noun based on þrífa ‘grasp’, i.e. as ‘the grasper’, and slǫngu- interpreted as ‘flung’, cf. slǫngusteinn ‘stone flung with the help of a sling’ (Fritzner: slǫngusteinn). Finnur Jónsson (Hkr 1893-1901, IV; Skj B; LP: sløngviþref) emends slǫngu- to sløngvi, but this is unnecessary (cf. Noreen 1921, 36).

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