Þjóðólfr Arnórsson (ÞjóðA)
11th century; volume 2; ed. Diana Whaley;
1. Magnússflokkr (Magnfl) - 19
2. Stanzas about Magnús Óláfsson in Danaveldi (Magn) - 14
3. Runhent poem about Haraldr (Run) - 4
4. Sexstefja (Sex) - 32
5. Stanzas about Haraldr Sigurðarson’s leiðangr (Har) - 7
6. Fragments (Frag) - 5
7. Lausavísur (Lv) - 11
Þjóðólfr Arnórsson (ÞjóðA) is listed in Skáldatal (SnE 1848-87, III, 254, 262) among the poets of Magnús inn góði ‘the Good’ Óláfsson and Haraldr harðráði ‘Hard-rule’ Sigurðarson, and virtually all his extant poetry seems to have been composed in honour of them, or in association with them; hence it dates from the period 1035-1066. The text of Skáldatal in AM 761 a 4°ˣ (SnE 1848-87, III, 259) also credits Þjóðólfr with poetry for Haraldr Þorkelsson, son of Þorkell inn hávi ‘the Tall’ and one of the Dan. magnates present in Norway during the reign of Sveinn Álfífuson (1030-35). No identifiable fragments of this remain, but if true the tradition would suggest that Þjóðólfr was born not much later than 1010. Hemings þáttr Áslákssonar (Hem) has him die at the battle of Stamford Bridge in 1066, and there is no record of him after that date, though Lv 11 has the air of being composed after the battle. Þjóðólfr was, according to Skáldatal and Fsk (ÍF 29, 245), the brother of another skald, Bǫlverkr Arnórsson (Bǫlv), and according to Sneglu-Halla þáttr (Snegl) in Flat (1860-8, III, 415), was from an undistinguished family in Svarfaðardalur, northern Iceland. The same þáttr (p. 421) names his father not as Arnórr but as Þorljótr, in the context of a scurrilous anecdote told against Þjóðólfr by Sneglu-Halli (SnH), who also taunts him with having composed the otherwise unknown Sorptrogsvísur ‘Dustbin Vísur’. The þáttr nevertheless describes him as accomplished (menntr vel) and courteous (kurteis maðr), highly favoured by King Haraldr and chief of his poets (haufutskꜳlld sitt, p. 415). Þjóðólfr’s poetry, rich in allusion and imagery, has continued to be widely admired, and it gains colour and vigour from the fact that he participated in many of the campaigns he depicts. It undoubtedly also reflects the fact that he was one of an exceptional circle of poets patronised by Haraldr (see Turville-Petre 1968), and much of his poetry shares topics and imagery with that of his contemporary Arnórr jarlaskáld (Arn), though there is no account of the dealings between these two. Þjóðólfr figures in several anecdotes centring on poetic composition: see Contexts to Lv 2-6, though we have no way of knowing whether he was so touchy about his reputation as the Context to Lv 4, and Snegl, would suggest; he also features as a go-between figure in Brands þáttr ǫrva, which cites no poetry. For brief biographies of Þjóðólfr see, e.g. SnE 1848-87, III, 578-9; LH 1894-1901, I, 627-32; Hollander 1945, 189-96.
In addition to the works edited here as Þjóðólfr’s, there have been further attributions to him. Þfagr Sveinn 7 is attributed to Þjóðólfr in Mork (1928-32, 165-6) and Flat (1860-8, III, 341), but to Þorleikr fagri in other sources; ÞKolb Eirdr 17I is attributed to Þjóðólfr in the U ms. alone, and Þfisk Lv 3 is attributed to him in F. Further, Flat, by citing Okík Magn 1 after ÞjóðA Magnfl 18 without announcing a change of skald implicitly assigns the latter to Þjóðólfr. We might perhaps also imagine Þjóðólfr having a hand in Anon (HSig) 2, the st. collaboratively composed by Haraldr’s men. A further set of six sts presented are anonymous in the medieval sources but are presented in this edn as Halli XI Fl (for reasons explained in Halli Biography below). These are printed among Þjóðólfr’s works in CPB II, 210-11 and listed under his name in SnE 1848-87, III, 583-4; Poole also finds ‘the ascription to Þjóðólfr Arnórsson … tempting, on stylistic grounds’ (1991, 75).
Preserved mainly in the kings’ sagas, above all in Hkr, Þjóðólfr’s oeuvre presents exceptional problems of reconstruction, which are discussed at some length in the Introductions to the individual poems or sets of sts. The chief problem is that Þjóðólfr certainly composed a major dróttkvætt poem for each of his patrons Magnús (Magnússflokkr, Magnfl) and Haraldr (Sexstefja, Sex), but that in each case there is also a set of sts that may or may not belong in the main encomium. The decision has been taken here to print them separately: fourteen sts depicting the aftermaths of Magnús’s major battles at Århus (Áróss) and Helgenæs (Helganes) are presented as ‘Stanzas about Magnús Óláfsson in Danaveldi’ (Magn), and seven describing the launch of Haraldr’s great levied fleet from Nidelven (the river Nið) as ‘Stanzas about Haraldr Sigurðarson’s leiðangr’ (Har). As a reference aid, the arrangement of Þjóðólfr’s oeuvre in SkP and Skj is shown here.
|15||Náði jarl at eyða ||19|
|16||Rǫnn lézt, ræsir Þrœnda,||20|
|17||Hizig laut, es heitir ||21|
|18||Flýði jarl af auðu, ||22|
|19||Háðisk heilli góðu||25|
Stanzas about Magnús Óláfsson in Danaveldi (ÞjóðA Magn)
|1||Hrauð leifs mǫgr áðan ||Magnfl 15|
|2||Misst hafa Sveins at sýnu, ||Magnfl 16|
|3||Gær sák grjóti stóru ||Lv 1|
|4||Spurði einu orði ||Magnfl 17|
|5||Saurstokkinn bar svíra ||Magnfl 18|
|6||Hrindr af hrókalandi ||Lv 2|
|7||Menn eigu þess minnask, ||Lv 3|
|8||Skjǫld bark heim frá hjaldri ||Magnfl 23|
|9||Bauð leifs sonr áðan ||Magnfl 24|
|10||Nú taka Norðmenn knýja,||Lv 4|
|11||Brum jǫrn at œrnu||Lv 5|
|12||Svíðr of seggja búðir||Lv 6|
|13||Fjǫrð lét fylkir verða||Lv 7|
|14||Ek hef ekki at drekka||Lv 8|
Runhent poem about Haraldr (ÞjóðA Run)
|6||Þjóð veit, at hefr háðar||7|
|7||Stólþengils lét stinga||6|
|8||Ok hertoga hneykir||25|
|9||Reist eikikjǫlr austan||8|
|10||Vatn lézt, vísi, slitna,||9|
|11||Gegn skyli herr, sem hugnar||10|
|12||Frn hefr sveit við Sveini||11|
|13||Lét vingjafa veitir||12|
|14||Fast bað fylking hrausta||13|
|15||Alm dró upplenzkr hilmir||14|
|16||Flest vas hirð, sús hraustum||15|
|17||Sogns kvðu gram gegnan||16|
|18||Sveinn át sigr at launa||17|
|19||Nús of verk, þaus vísi,||18|
|20||Létu lystir sleitu||19|
|21||Tók Holmbúa hneykir||20|
|22||Gagn brann greypra þegna; ||21|
|23||Fœrði fylkir Hǫrða,||22|
|24||Áræðis naut eyðir||23|
|25||Refsir reyndan ofsa||24|
|26||Mǫrk lét veitt fyr verka||26|
|27||Ǫrð sær Yrsu burðar||27|
|28||Lét hræteina hveiti||32|
|29||Blóðorra lætr barri||30a|
|30||Geirs oddum lætr greddir||30b|
|31||Gera vas gisting byrjuð||29|
|32||Hár skyli hirðar stjóri||35|
Stanzas about Haraldr Sigurðarson’s leiðangr (ÞjóðA Har)
|1||Skeið sák framm at flœði, ||Lv 18|
|2||Slyngr laugardag lǫngu ||Lv 19|
|3||Rétt kann rœði slíta ||Lv 20|
|4||Sorgar veit, áðr slíti ||Lv 21|
|5||Eigu skjól und skógi ||Lv 22|
|6||Hléseyjar lemr hvan ||Lv 23|
|7||Haraldr þeysti nú hraustla ||Lv 24|
|1|| Nús valmeiðum víðis||Lv 9|
|2||Jarl/Ǫrr lætr, odda skúrar ||Sex 28|
|3||Ganga él of Yngva ||Sex 31|
|4||Snart við sæþráð kyrtat ||Sex 33|
|5||Útan bindr við enda ||Sex 34|
|1||Leiða langar dauða ||Lv 10 |
|2||Sumar annat skal sunnar ||Lv 11|
|3||[Logit hefr Baldr at Baldri]|
|4||Mildingr rauð í móðu ||Lv 13|
|5||Varp ór þrætu þorpi ||Lv 14|
|6||Sigurðr eggjaði sleggju|| Lv 15|
|7||Haddan skall, en Halli ||Lv 16|
|8||Út stendr undan báti ||Lv 17|
|9||Ǫld es, sús jarli skyldi ||Lv 25|
|10||Skalka frá, þótt fylkir ||Lv 26|
|11||Ǫld hefr afráð goldit ||Lv 27|
Reconstructions of the Þjóðólfr corpus are offered by Finnur Jónsson in SnE 1848-87, III, 579-90, which is the basis (almost unchanged) for Skj (AI, 361-83, BI, 332-53), and the Skj ordering is retained in Skald (I, 168-77); other major contributions are by Guðbrandur Vigfússon in CPB (II, 198-212) and by Fidjestøl (1982, 133-43, 172).
The principal eds consulted in the course of re-editing Þjóðólfr’s poetry for SkP are listed for each st., and are of two main types: eds of the skaldic corpus (Finnur Jónsson’s in Skj AI, 361-83; BI, 332-53 and Ernst Albin Kock’s in Skald I, 168-77, supported by numerous NN) and eds of the various prose works in which the poetry is preserved. Extracts are also included in anthologies, articles and other works including (with ten or more sts): CPB II, 198-212; Kock and Meissner 1931, I, 57-60; Hollander 1945,190-6 (annotated translations only), Poole 1991, 59-63; and (with seven sts) Turville-Petre 1976, 97-102. Such works as these, together with others containing comment on the poetry, are cited as appropriate in the Notes.
Diana Whaley 2009, ‘ Þjóðólfr Arnórsson, Magnússflokkr’ 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. 61-87. <https://skaldic.org/m.php?p=text&i=1443> (accessed 28 January 2022)
Skj: Þjóðolfr Arnórsson: 1. Magnúsflokkr, omtr. 1045 (AI, 361-8, BI, 332-8); stanzas (if different): 15 |
SkP info: II, 85-6
18 — ÞjóðA Magnfl 18II
Cite as: Diana Whaley (ed.) 2009, ‘Þjóðólfr Arnórsson, Magnússflokkr 18’ 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. 85-6.
|Flýði jarl af auðu
ótvínn skipi sínu
morð, þars Magnús gerði
meinfœrt þaðan Sveini.
|Réð herkonungr hrjóða |
hneitis egg í sveita;
sprændi blóð á brýndan
brand; vá gramr til landa.
Ótvínn jarl flýði morð af auðu skipi sínu, þars Magnús gerði Sveini meinfœrt þaðan. Herkonungr réð hrjóða egg hneitis í sveita; blóð sprændi á brýndan brand; gramr vá til landa.
The unwavering jarl fled the killing, from his empty ship, where Magnús made it perilous for Sveinn to go from there. The army-king painted [lit. did paint] the sword’s edge in gore; blood spurted onto the sharpened sword; the prince fought for lands.
Mss: Kˣ(517r), papp18ˣ(222r), 39(17vb), F(41rb), E(9r), J2ˣ(254r-v) (Hkr); FskBˣ(58v), 51ˣ(53r), FskAˣ(222-223) (Fsk); H(12r), Hr(10vb) (H-Hr); Flat(191vb) (Flat)
Readings:  Flýði: ‘Fluðe’ FskAˣ, Hlýði Flat; af: á 39; auðu: ‘auð[…]’ 39, ‘oðru’ Flat  ótvínn: so FskBˣ, 51ˣ, ‘otvin’ Kˣ, ‘vt vín’ 39, ‘ót vín’ F, ‘ottinn’ E, ‘otinn’ J2ˣ, ‘ut vinn’ FskAˣ, ‘otvín’ H, ‘ottvín’ Hr, ‘ættuin’ Flat  morð: morðs F, ‘modr’ Flat; þars (‘þar er’): þat er E, þar FskBˣ, Hr, ‘þer er’ FskAˣ, þeir er Flat  ‑fœrt: so all others, ‑fǫr Kˣ  Réð: rauð E, J2ˣ, FskBˣ, 51ˣ; hrjóða: rjóða E, J2ˣ, FskBˣ, FskAˣ, Flat  brand: brandi Flat; landa: handa E, FskAˣ, Flat
Editions: Skj: Þjóðolfr Arnórsson, 1. Magnúsflokkr 22: AI, 366-7, BI, 337, Skald I, 170, NN §§806, 851, 1817; Hkr 1893-1901, III, 64, IV, 202, ÍF 28, 57-8, Hkr 1991, 594 (Mgóð ch. 33), F 1871, 189, E 1916, 30; Fsk 1902-3, 213 (ch. 42), ÍF 29, 223 (ch. 50); Fms 6, 84-5 (Mgóð ch. 40), Fms 12, 137; Flat 1860-8, III, 284, Andersson and Gade 2000, 125, 470 (MH).
Context: In Hkr and H-Hr this is cited in relation to the battle of Helgenæs (Helganes; see st. 17). Sveinn’s ships are all cleared, and he flees. In Fsk and Flat it is cited in relation to another encounter, south of Århus (Áróss) after the lapse of a winter; they follow the st. with a remark that it demonstrates that Magnús and his men called Sveinn ‘jarl’ while Sveinn called himself king, as did his men.
Notes: [All]: Flat cites both this st. and Okík Magn 1, implicitly crediting Þjóðólfr with both of them. —  ótvínn ‘unwavering’: The word is somewhat uncommon and the scribes were evidently puzzled, but -tvínn is secured by the rhyme and the sense ‘undivided, unwavering, resolute’ is compatible with the contexts (cf. Konráð Gíslason and Eiríkur Jónsson 1875-1889, II, 376, concluding a thorough discussion; see also Þfisk Lv 2/2 and Steinn Óldr 5/2). The nom. sg. adj. could grammatically qualify either of two subjects. (a) It is assumed here, and by most eds, to qualify jarl in l. 1. Although this may seem too complimentary an epithet for the fleeing enemy Sveinn, there is a nice irony in an enemy who is unwavering about escape. (b) Ótvínn is taken with Magnús by Finnur Jónsson (Hkr 1893-1901; Fsk 1902-3; Skj B); this is firmly rejected by Kock in NN §854. —  morð ‘the killing’: Flýði ‘fled’ (l. 2) is normally construed with both af auðu skipi sínu ‘from his empty ship’ (ll. 1, 2) and morð ‘the killing, battle’. In order to avoid this, Kock suggested, at least as an alternative, reading morð Magnús, in which Magnús (l. 3) is a subjective gen. Magnúss qualifying morð, hence ‘where Magnús’s killing made it grievous for Sveinn to go from there’ (NN §854). Konráð Gíslason had raised the possibility of gen. but was not satisfied by it (Konráð Gíslason and Eiríkur Jónsson 1875-1889, II, 374). —  meinfœrt þaðan ‘perilous to go from there’: To take þaðan with meinfœrt ‘perilous to go’, as here and in most of the eds listed above, avoids mentally detaching the adv. from the second cl., in which it is embedded. The juxtaposition of þar ‘there’ and þaðan ‘from there’ may appear awkward, but is not so if þaðan refers specifically to escaping from the ship (so Nj 1875-8, II, 374). Finnur Jónsson in Hkr 1893-1901 and Skj B (though not, to judge from the punctuation, in Fsk 1902-3) takes it with flýði ‘fled’ in the first cl. (see Kock’s objections, NN §§806, 854). Since in Finnur’s interpretation meinfœrt is not connected with þaðan, it does not necessarily refer to Sveinn’s desperate flight, but is taken to mean ‘(Magnús made it) difficult (for Sveinn) to advance’. —  réð hrjóða ‘painted [lit. did paint]’: There is good ms. support for both hrjóða and the variant rjóða ‘redden’ (cf. the hrauð/rauð alternation in ÞjóðA Magn 1/1), but the metre favours hrjóða, which, as the cadence of a Type C l., must alliterate, and must alliterate with h- (i.e. with her- and hneitis). That rjóða is a secondary reading is also confirmed by the fact that it is the lectio facilior, since reddening a sword is such a stock item in battle descriptions. Hrjóða evidently cannot have its normal meaning of ‘clear’ here, but perhaps something akin to ‘decorate, paint’, a sense which could be influenced by rjóða but is also ancient, on the evidence of hroðit sigli, probably ‘adorned brooch’ (Sigsk 49, NK 215), and the OE p. p. hroden applied to precious objects and found in compounds such as goldhroden ‘adorned with gold’, applied to royal brides in Beowulf (ll. 614, 640, 1948, 2025). This would imply a verb *hrēodan, cognate with hrjóða. In the light of the OE compounds, it is possible that gollroðinn ‘gold-reddened’ should be read as gollhroðinn ‘gold-adorned’ in Akv 4 and perhaps Anon Krm 21VIII (LP). —  hneitis ‘sword’s’: Lit. ‘wounder’s’. The etymological sense seems to be ‘striker, wounder’, cf. hníta ‘strike, wound’. The word occurs in ESk Geisl 43/1VII as the name of Óláfr helgi’s sword, and it may be used consciously here and in Arn Magndr 1 and 13 to emphasise Magnús’s status as heir of the venerated king. —  egg (n. acc. sg.) ‘edge’: Could alternatively be n. acc. pl.