Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Orkneyinga saga (Orkn) - 83

Orkneyinga saga (Orkn)

Skaldic vol. 2; ed. Judith Jesch

verse introduction manuscripts contents

Vol. I. Poetry for Scandinavian Rulers 1: From Mythological Times to c. 1035 > 8. Volume Introduction > 3. Sources for skaldic poetry cited in the kings’ sagas: manuscripts, facsimiles and editions > 3.2. Sagas relating to Denmark and Orkney to c. 1035 > 2. Orkneyinga saga (Orkn)

Stemma (from ÍF 34, cxxvi; Whaley 1998, 18)

Manuscripts

*Cod. Ac.: Codex Academicus (Icelandic, c. 1250-1300). Vellum ms. that burned in the Copenhagen fire of 1728, but previously had been used for:

a) 332ˣ: AM 332 4°ˣ (c. 1700, in the hand of Ásgeir Jónsson). Copy of *Cod. Ac.

b) 48ˣmarg: AM 48 folˣ, marginalia (end C17th, in the hand of Ásgeir Jónsson). Copy of parts of Flat. The main text has no independent value but the marginal additions and corrections preserve readings from *Cod. Ac.

325I:    AM 325 I 4° (c. 1300).

Flat:      Flateyjarbók, GKS 1005 fol (Icelandic, mainly c. 1387-95). See separate entry.

325III α: AM 325 III α 4° (Icelandic, c. 1300-50). Two vellum leaves.

R702ˣUppsUB R 702ˣ (hand of Magnús Ólafsson (1573-1636)). A collection of stanzas from various sources, including Orkn, with contexts and comments.

762ˣ:    AM 762 4°ˣ. A selection by Magnús Ólafsson from the stanzas in R702ˣ. Used in Skj A, but has no independent value.

SLR:     Worm 1650. Specimen Lexici Runici. A glossary of words and phrases, including over one hundred from Orkn, largely the work of Magnús Ólafsson but published by Ole Worm. The orthography of the mss is not reproduced.

325III β: AM 325 III β 4° (Icelandic, c. 1300). One leaf.

Facsimile and editions: Flat 1930; Orkn 1887, Orkn 1913-16, ÍF 34, Bibire 1988.

The saga, known to medieval scribes as Jarla saga ‘Saga of the (Orkney) jarls’, encompasses disparate materials spanning over three centuries from mythical times to c. 1171. It appears to have been compiled c. 1200, and hence is one of the earlier kings’ sagas, though the extant version is dated to c. 1230. The author is anonymous, likely an Icelander but one familiar with the topography and traditions of Orkney.

Poetry

The early part of Orkn contains little skaldic poetry, and only TorfE Lv 1-5, Ótt Hfl 20 and BjHall Kálffl 8 are edited in this volume; all of these are also preserved elsewhere. Seventy-four further stanzas in Orkn pertaining to events after c. 1035 are edited in SkP II (see p. lxxvi).

Vol. II. Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 2: from c. 1035 to c. 1300 > 8. Introduction > 4. Sources for Skaldic Poetry Cited in the Kings' Sagas > 2. Sagas relating to Denmark and Orkney after 1035 > 2. Orkneyinga saga (Orkn)

Orkneyinga saga (Orkn)[23]

Stemma (from ÍF 34, cxxvi; Whaley 1998, 18)

  • O1
    • O2
      • *
        • *Cod. Ac.
          • 332
          • 48mx
        • *
          • 325I
          • *
            • Flat
      • 325III α
        • 702x
          • 762x
        • SLR
      • 325III β

Manuscripts

*Cod. Ac.: Codex Academicus (Icelandic, c. 1250-1300). Vellum manuscript that burned in the Copenhagen fire of 1728, but previously had been used for:

  • a) 332ˣ: AM 332 4°ˣ. Copy of *Cod. Ac. (c. 1700, in the hand of Ásgeir Jónsson).
  • b) 48ˣ: AM 48 folˣ, marginalia (48ˣmarg). Copy of parts of Flat (end C17th, in the hand of Ásgeir Jónsson). The main text has no independent value but the marginal additions and corrections preserve readings from *Cod. Ac.

325I:       AM 325 I 4° (c. 1300).

Flat:         Flateyjarbók, GKS 1005 fol. See separate entry.

325III α: AM 325III α 4° (Icelandic, c. 1300-50). Two vellum leaves.

R702ˣ:    UppsUB R 702 4°ˣ (hand of Magnús Ólafsson (1573-1636)). A collection of stanzas from various sources, including Orkn, with contexts and comments.

762ˣ:       AM 762 4°ˣ. A selection by Magnús Ólafsson from the stanzas in R702ˣ. It is used in Skj A, but has no independent value.

SLR:        Worm 1650. Specimen Lexici Runici. A glossary of words and phrases, including over one hundred from Orkn, largely the work of Magnús Ólafsson but published by Ole Worm. The orthography of the manuscripts is not reproduced.

325III β: AM 325III β 4° (Icelandic, c. 1300). One leaf.

Facsimile and editions: Flat 1930; Orkn 1887, Orkn 1913-16, ÍF 34, Bibire 1988.

Poetry

Most of the seventy-four stanzas contained in the parts of Orkn that cover the years post-1030 can be divided into three groups. The first group deals with events that took place during the reign of Jarl Þorfinnr Sigurðarson (r. c. 1020-64; Arn Rǫgndr 1, Arn Þorfdr, Arn Lv) and the second with Magnús berfœttr Óláfsson’s campaign to the west in 1098 (Kali Lv, Mberf Lv, Þham Magndr 3). The third group of poetry documents events from the reign of Jarl Rǫgnvaldr Kali Kolsson (r. c. 1137-1159), with particular attention to his crusade in 1151-3 (Rv Lv 1-32, Hbreiðm Lv, Eiríkr Lv, Oddi Lv 1-5, Árm Lv 1-4, Þsvart Lv, Sigm Lv 1-2, Bót Lv, Anon (Orkn)). Orkn also contains Hharð Lv 2b (1030) and Ingimarr Sveinsson’s lausavísa about the battle of Färlev (1134; Ingimarr Lv). BjHall KálfflI has been edited in SkP I (see Hkr above).

[23] For a full discussion of Orkn, see Introduction to SkP I.

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