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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Valgarðr á Velli (Valg)

11th century; volume 2; ed. Kari Ellen Gade;

Poem about Haraldr harðráði (Har) - 11

Skj info: Valgarðr á Velli, Islandsk skjald, 11. årh. (AI, 390-3, BI, 360-3).

Skj poems:
Et digt om Harald hårdråde

Nothing is known about Valgarðr (Valg), but his nickname (á Velli ‘at Völlur’) indicates that he could have belonged to the family of Mǫrðr Valgarðsson from Völlur (Rangársýsla) in southern Iceland (see Brennu-Njáls saga, ÍF 12, passim; SnE 1848-87, III, 605-6; LH 1894-1901, I, 637-8). Skáldatal (SnE 1848-87, III, 254, 262, 275) lists him among Haraldr Sigurðarson’s court poets.

Poem about Haraldr harðráði — Valg HarII

Kari Ellen Gade 2009, ‘(Introduction to) Valgarðr á Velli, Poem about Haraldr harðráði’ 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. 300-10.

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Skj: Valgarðr á Velli: Et digt om Harald hårdråde (AI, 390-3, BI, 360-3)

SkP info: II, 303

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

4 — Valg Har 4II

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2009, ‘Valgarðr á Velli, Poem about Haraldr harðráði 4’ 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, p. 303.

Helmingi bautt hanga,
hilmis kundr, af stundu;
skipt hafið ér, svát eptir
eru Væringjar færi.

{Kundr hilmis}, bautt helmingi hanga af stundu; ér hafið skipt, svát færi Væringjar eru eptir.

{Descendant of a ruler} [RULER = Haraldr], you ordered the unit to be hanged at once; you have acted in such a way that fewer Varangians are left.

Mss: FskBˣ(63v), FskAˣ(240) (Fsk)

Readings: [1] bautt (‘bauð þú’): ‘bouttu’ FskAˣ    [4] færi: so FskAˣ, ‘færre’ FskBˣ

Editions: Skj: Valgarðr á Velli, Et digt om Harald hårdråde 4: AI, 391, BI, 361, Skald I, 180; ÍF 29, 236 (ch. 51).

Context: After escaping from his incarceration in Constantinople, Haraldr joined the uprising against the Byzantine emperor Michael V Kalaphates (on 20-1 April 1042). Accompanied by his men, he broke into the emperor’s palace and ordered some of the Varangians guarding the emperor to be killed.

Notes: [All]: For these events, see also ÞjóðA Sex 7-8, ÞSkegg Hardr and Sigfús Blöndal 1978, 94-5. Sigfús Blöndal (1978, 94) believes that the hanging took place after the blinding of Emperor Michael on 21 April, and that Haraldr had been ordered to punish those Varangians who had remained loyal to the emperor. — [1] helmingi (m. dat. sg.) ‘unit’: Lit. ‘half’. Used in poetry to refer to a military unit (see ÍF 29, 236 n.; Jesch 2001a, 202-3). — [1] bautt hanga ‘ordered to be hanged’: For the construction bjóða plus inf., see LP: bjóða 3. — [2] kundr hilmis ‘descendant of a ruler [RULER = Haraldr]’: The identity of this ruler is unclear, but it could be Haraldr hárfagri. Kundr ‘descendant’ can also mean ‘son’ (see LP: kundr 1), but ‘the ruler’ can hardly refer to Sigurðr sýr, Haraldr’s father, who was a petty king of the district Opplandene (Upplǫnd) in Norway. — [4] Væringjar ‘Varangians’: Norsemen in the service of the Byzantine emperor. See Sigfús Blöndal 1978, 4-7.

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