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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Gizurr Grýtingaliði (GizGrý)

volume 8; ed. Margaret Clunies Ross;

VIII. Lausavísur (Lv) - 7

not in Skj

Lausavísur — GizGrý LvVIII (Heiðr)

Hannah Burrows (forthcoming), ‘ Gizurr Grýtingaliði, Lausavísur’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. . <> (accessed 21 September 2021)

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SkP info: VIII, 471

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

1 — GizGrý Lv 1VIII (Heiðr 99)

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Hannah Burrows (ed.) 2017, ‘Hervarar saga ok Heiðreks 99 (Gizurr Grýtingaliði, Lausavísur 1)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 471.

Þetta er þiggjanda
þýjar barni,
barni þýjar,
þótt borinn konungi.
Þá hornungr
á haugi sat,
er öðlingr
arfi skipti.


This is acceptable for a servant-woman’s child, child of a servant-woman, though he may be born to a king. The bastard sat on the mound, when the prince was dividing the inheritance.

context: According to the saga prose, Heiðrekr’s elderly foster-father Gizurr Grýtingaliði ‘Retainer of the Grýtingar’ thinks the offer is too generous, and speaks the stanza (but see Note to l. 1 below).

notes: [2-3]: Tolkien (Heiðr 1960, 51 n. 2) highlights the ‘emphatic repetition’ and draws comparison to Sigsk 17/6-7; Jón Helgason (1967, 230) notes also the example of Ásm 5/2-3. Gizurr’s claim is insulting, and alludes to the fact that Hlǫðr’s mother, Sifka, the daughter of the Hunnish king Humli, was captured in a raid by Heiðrekr and returned pregnant to her father. — [5-6]: As shepherds are associated with the practice of sitting on mounds (e.g. Vsp 42/1-4, Skí 11/1-2), some have interpreted Gizurr’s remark as insulting to Hlǫðr (e.g. Jón Helgason 1967, 231; ÍF Edd.; cf. Heiðr 1960, 51 n. 3). However, the concept most likely relates to inheritance or succession; by implication, the mound would be that of Hlǫðr’s (and Angantýr’s) father, Heiðrekr. In the Flat redaction of ÓH, for example, a certain Bjǫrn, son of a deceased king Óláfr, sits on his father’s mound when he reaches the age of twelve before claiming the kingdom from his uncle, acting as regent (Flat 1860-8, II, 70). The practice of sitting on royal burial mounds may also have been a more abstract symbol of kingship: in HHárf in Hkr (ch. 8, ÍF 26, 99-100), King Hrollaugr of Namdalen goes upp á haug þann, er konungar váru vanir at sitja á ‘up onto that mound which kings were accustomed to sit on’, and rolls down from the kings’ seat to the jarls’, as a sign of his subjection to Haraldr hárfagri. Ellis (1943, 105-11) provides examples and discussion of these and other incidents, including further connections to kingship and inheritance of other kinds. The implication seems to be that Hlǫðr’s actions were an attempt at symbolic validation of his claim.

texts: Heiðr 99

editions: Skj Anonyme digte og vers [XIII]: E. 5. Vers af Fornaldarsagaer: Af Hervararsaga V 15 (AII, 253; BII, 273); Skald II, 142; Heiðr 1672, 166, FSN 1, 495, Heiðr 1873, 273, Heiðr 1924, 145-6, FSGJ 2, 58, Heiðr 1960, 51 (Heiðr); Edd. Min. 5-6, NK 305-6, ÍF Edd. II, 423.


AM 203 folx (203x) 110v, 7 - 110v, 9 (Heiðr)  transcr.  image  
UppsUB R 715x (R715x) 32r, 19 - 32r, 22 (Heiðr)  transcr.  image  
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