Cite as: Rory McTurk (ed.) 2017, ‘Ragnars saga loðbrókar 7 (Bjǫrn Ragnarsson, Lausavísur 1)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 637.
context: The second of Ragnarr’s sons by Kráka-Áslaug,
Bjǫrn járnsíða ‘Ironside’, reports on the battle at which the first of their
sons, Ívarr the Boneless, Bjǫrn himself, and their third and fourth sons,
Hvítserkr and Rǫgnvaldr, were victorious at a place named Hvítabœr, as a result
of Ívarr killing the two magical cows which had hitherto protected the town.
Rǫgnvaldr, however, fell in the battle.
notes: Olrik (1892-4, II, 97-99, 101, 118-23) believes that this stanza (spoken by Bjǫrn járnsíða), along with the second half of Ragn 17 (spoken by Áslaug), Ragn 26 and 27 (spoken by Ragnarr), and Ragn 30 and 31 (spoken by Áslaug), belonged originally to a so-called death-song (ævikviða) placed in the mouth of Ragnarr, constituting a somewhat earlier version of Krm than that which survives; this death-song, he claims, formed a major source for Saxo’s account of Regnerus Lothbrog in Book IX of his Gesta Danorum. Part of Olrik’s argument is that among the verse passages in question those spoken in Ragn by characters other than Ragnarr (i.e. Ragn 7, 30, 31, and the second half of Ragn 17) would be more appropriately attributed to Ragnarr in the death-song context than to their speakers in the saga. For critical discussion of this view, see Finnur Jónsson (1905, 176-80) and de Vries (1928c, 125-6). — [4, 6]: Olrik (1892-4, II, 101, 121), noting Saxo’s account (Saxo 2015, I, ix. 4. 4, pp. 634-5) of how Regnerus Lothbrog, after winning a victory over the Scanians at Whiteby (cf. Hvítabær, l. 6), also fought successfully against the Jutes near Limfjord (ON Limafjǫrðr), suggests that Saxo understood Whiteby to be the inland village of Vitaby, situated in south-east Skåne some four kilometres due west of the port of Kivik. De Vries (1928a, 265) suggests that what originally lay behind the references in Saxo’s account and Ragn to Whiteby/Hvítabœr was the Northumbrian harbour town of Whitby, located on the coast of modern Yorkshire: not only was this town much more important than the Scanian village in viking times, but Rægnald, the viking king of York from 919 until his death in 921 (Stenton 1971, 333, 338), may well have been the historical prototype of Ragnarr’s son Rǫgnvaldr, who according to the saga prose preceding this stanza died in the battle at Hvítabœr (Ragn 1906-8, 132). The Northumbrian Whitby, de Vries claims, came to be replaced by the Scanian Vitaby in Scandinavian tradition, and it is indeed likely to be the latter, inland location to which Saxo and the saga are referring: Saxo mentions it in a Scanian context, and in the saga’s account, at least, it seems to be a land battle that is described. There can be no doubt that it is Whitby in Yorkshire that is referred to by the variant form of the name (acc. sg. of Hvítabýr [-býr] as opposed to Hvítabœr) that occurs in ESk Run 7/4II (við Hvítabý ‘at Whitby’) in a group of stanzas documenting Eysteinn Haraldsson’s raids along the east coast of Scotland and England in 1151, see Townend (1998, 42-4, 95-6).
texts: ‹Ragn 7›
editions: Skj Anonyme digte og vers [XIII]: E. 2. Vers af Fornaldarsagaer: Af Ragnarssaga loðbrókar III (AII, 233; BII, 253); Skald II, 131; FSN 1, 254 (Ragn ch. 7), Ragn 1891, 190 (ch. 7; misnumbered 6), Ragn 1906-8, 132, 180, 199-200 (ch. 8), Ragn 1944, 48-51 (ch. 8), FSGJ 1, 241-2 (Ragn ch. 8), Ragn 1985, 117-18 (ch. 8), Ragn 2003, 27 (ch. 8), CPB II, 351.