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(subheadings only)

1. Ágrip af Nóregs konunga sǫgum (Ágr)


Ágr:          Ágrip, AM 325 II 4° (Icelandic, c. 1225).

Editions: Ágr 1929, ÍF 29 (Ágr and Fsk), Ágr 1995, Ágr 2008.


The part of Ágr covered in SkP II comprises the sagas from Mgóð (c. 1035) to Hsona (c. 1150) and contains four stanzas: Sigv Berv 12, Anon (Ólkyrr) 1, SteigÞ Kv, Sjórs Lv 1. The last is preserved only in Ágr.

[14] For a full discussion of Ágr, see Introduction to SkP I. The revised edition of Ágr 1995 (Ágr 2008) appeared too late to be included in the present volume.

2. Fagrskinna (Fsk)


Manuscripts: A class

Fsk:          lost vellum (c. 1350-1400). Three copies by Ásgeir Jónsson (c. 1675-1700): a) FskAˣ: AM 303 4°ˣ b) 52ˣ:       AM 52 folˣ c) 301ˣ:     AM 301 4°ˣ.

Manuscripts: B class

The original burned in the fire of Copenhagen in 1728. One fragment remains:

NRA51: NRA 51 (c. 1240-63). Three copies were made before the fire: a) FskBˣ: OsloUB 371 folˣ (c. 1700; a fairly faithful copy by Ásgeir Jónsson) b) 51ˣ:       AM 51 folˣ c) 302ˣ:     AM 302 4°ˣ.


Fsk 1902-3, ÍF 29 (Ágr and Fsk).


The Fsk text covering the years 1035-1177 spans the reigns of Magnús inn góði (Mgóð) and Magnús Erlingsson (MErl) and contains a total of 107 stanzas, most of which are also contained in Mork, Hkr and H-Hr. There can be no doubt that the author of Fsk knew the no longer extant archetype of the Mork redaction (*Oldest Morkinskinna, *ÆMork, see below), and that, for this part of Fsk, he availed himself selectively of the poetic material in that compendium (see Indrebø 1917 and Bjarni Einarsson in ÍF 29, ci-cxix; see also Fidjestøl 1982, 10 and Andersson and Gade 2000, 25-57). The last stanza in Fsk (ESk Eystdr 2) describes the death of King Eysteinn Haraldsson (d. 1157).

[15] For a full discussion of Fsk, see Introduction to SkP I.

3. Flateyjarbók (Flat)


Flat:         Flateyjarbók, GKS 1005 fol (Icelandic, mainly c. 1387-95). Additions: Three quires (188r-210r) comprise the ‘Younger Flateyjarbók’ (YFlat; Mgóð to Ólkyrr (c. 1450-1500), copied from a sister ms. of Mork).
325IVβ and 325XI 3: AM 325 IV β 4°, AM 325 XI 3 4°; fragments of the archetype of YFlat (c. 1350-1400). AM 325IVβ contains no poetry.

Facsimile and editions: Flat 1930; Flat 1860-8, II-III, Louis-Jensen 1970b (fragments).


Of the sagas relevant to SkP II, Flat contains Sv, Hák, parts of Orkn and MH. Many of the þættir found in MHMork (and in MgóðH-Hr and HSigH-Hr) are also recorded in Flat, among them an expanded version of Snegl. The poetry (and prose) in YFlat (MH) corresponds closely to the poetry in the extant portions of MHMork, hence Flat can be used to reconstruct the content of MHMork where Mork has lacunae. In addition to the poetry in the aforementioned sagas, Flat also contains (as the only manuscript) Anon Nkt. Sigv Berv 7-17 are also recorded in 325XI 3.

4. Hákonar saga Hákonarsonar (Hák)


The relations between the manuscripts of Hák are complicated, and scholars have not been able to establish a satisfactory stemma (see Hák 1977-82, xii-xiii). A preliminary distinction can be made between the ‘Norwegian’ manuscripts (E, J, F, G/42ˣ) and the ‘Icelandic’ manuscripts (81a, 8/325VIII 5 a/304ˣ, 325VIII 5 b, 325X, Flat), and the order of manuscripts in the editions in SkP II reflects that grouping.


E:             Eirspennill, AM 47 fol. See Hkr. Hák: 139v-194v.

55 A:       Jöfraskinna, preserved in NRA 55 A (one-leaf fragment). See Hkr.

F:              Fríssbók, Codex Frisianus, AM 45 fol. See Hkr. Hák: 84ra-124rb.

G:             Gullinskinna, preserved in AM 325 VIII 5 c 4° (one-leaf fragment). See Hkr.

42ˣ:          AM 42 folˣ, copy of G. See Hkr. Hák: 82r-177v.

81a:         Skálholtsbók yngsta, AM 81 a fol (Icelandic, c. 1450-75). Hák: 64va-120vb.

8:              Holm perg 8 fol (two scribal teams: to 68v ‘A’ c. 1340-70; 69r-81v ‘B’ c. 1500). Hák: 32v-81v.

325VIII 5 a: AM 325 VIII 5 a 4°. Three leaves originally belonging to 8 (‘A’).

304ˣ:       AM 304 4°ˣ (c. 1600-50 and later, a copy of 8 when it was more complete, though a few leaves were missing from 8 at the time it was copied).

325VIII 5 b: AM 325 VIII 5 b 4° (c. 1300-25). Two leaves.

325X:      AM 325 X 4° (c. 1370). Fragments a little earlier than Flat, but from a codex that was not the exemplar of Flat. Hák: 11ra-12vb.

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

Facsimiles and editions: F 1932, AM 81a 1961, Flat 1930; E 1916, F 1871, Hák 1910-86 (= Sv 1910-86), Hák 1977-82, Flat 1860-8, III.

Hák, which was written by the Icelander Sturla Þórðarson (c. 1265; see Sturl Biography), chronicles the life of King Hákon Hákonarson (1204-1263; see ‘Royal Biographies’ below). AM 80 folˣ (80ˣ), another copy of G by Ásgeir Jónsson (end of the C17th), has not been considered in the editions in the present volume. NRA 55 B (55 B), a one-leaf fragment of Hák (c. 1300-25), contains no poetry. Because both Hák and Sv are recorded in 81a, the siglum Hák 1910-86 (a diplomatic edition of 81a) refers to the same edition as Sv 1910-86.


The prose text of Hák is at times fairly heavily interspersed with poetry, notably with the poetic compositions of Sturla himself (Sturl Hákkv, Hrafn, Hákfl, Magndr) and of his brother, Óláfr hvítaskáld Þórðarson (Ólhvít Hryn). The saga also contains Gizurr Þorvaldsson’s Hákonardrápa (Giz Hákdr), stanzas from Snorri Sturluson’s Háttatal (SnSt Ht 63-4III), lausavísur (Játg Lv, Ólhvít Lv 1-2, Snæk Lv, SnSt Lv 4IV, GOdd Lv 1IV) and three anonymous stanzas (Anon (Hák) 1-3). Because Sturla relied heavily on eyewitness accounts and written documentation as sources for the prose account of Hák, the poetic citations in the saga are mainly ornamental in nature. The inclusion of the stanzas reflects the convention in the earlier kings’ sagas of using skaldic stanzas to verify the events described in the prose texts, a convention that peaked in such royal compendia as Mork, Fsk and Hkr.

5. Hákonar saga Ívarssonar ()


570a:        AM 570 a 4° (c. 1450-1500).

Editions: 1873, 1952.

Hákonar saga Ívarssonar () is a fragmentarily preserved story about the Norwegian chieftain Hákon Ívarsson and his dealings with the Norwegian king Haraldr harðráði Sigurðarson and the Danish king Sveinn Úlfsson (see Royal Biographies below). The saga, which in its present form roughly spans the years 1050-64, records events that are also told in MHMork and HSigHkr (for a summary of these events, see Andersson and Gade 2000, 16-19). Most scholars agree that was one of the main sources for the Hkr account, but the relationship between and Mork is debated (see Fidjestøl 1982, 15-17). According to Fidjestøl (1982, 16-17), the author of used an earlier version of Mork rather freely, and he incorporated skaldic material that was not included in the Mork version. A C16th abbreviated Latin version (‘compendium’) of is also extant (see 1952, 38-40; Andersson and Gade 2000, 512-15).


The extant version of contains the following stanzas: Hharð Lv 6-7, ÞjóðA Sex 13 and ÞjóðA Har 1-4, Steinn Nizv 1 and Úlffl. The poetry in 570a is in poor condition.

6. Hauksbók (Hb)


Hb:          Hauksbók, AM 371 4° (371), AM 544 4° (544), AM 675 4° (675) (Icelandic, c. 1290-1350). Hemings þáttr Áslákssonar (Hem) is preserved in 544. The beginning is lost, but a copy was made by Ásgeir Jónsson while the ms. was more complete (AM 326 b 4°ˣ = 326bˣ).

Facsimile and editions: Hb  1960; Hb 1892-6, Fellows Jensen 1962 (Hem).

Hauksbók (Hb) is a compendium that belonged to—and was in part written by—the Icelandic lawman and scholar Haukr Erlendsson (d. 3 June 1334). For a summary of his life, see Hb 1892-6, i-v. The compendium contains numerous sagas and þættir concerning Iceland and Norway (see SkP I, IV, V and VIII), as well as geographical and scientific material, such sagas as Breta sögur and Trójumanna saga and the poems Merlínusspá (GunnLeif MerlVIII) and Vǫluspá (see Finnur Jónsson’s detailed discussion of the content in Hb 1892-6, lxiii-cxxxvi). The parts of Hem that include poetry edited in SkP II deal with the events that led up to Haraldr harðráði Sigurðarson’s expedition to England in 1066, as well as the battle of Stamford Bridge (25 September 1066) and its aftermath.


Hem preserves four lausavísur that are not recorded elsewhere (Hjǫrtr Lv 1-3; Anon (HSig) 7), three anonymous lausavísur from HSig (Anon (HSig) 6, 8-9), Haraldr harðráði’s final two stanzas (Hharð Lv 13-14) and Þjóðólfr Arnórsson’s last lausavísa (ÞjóðA Lv 11).

7. Heimskringla (Hkr)

Stemma (from ÍF 28, xciv)

Manuscripts: The Kringla group (x)

K              Kringla, destroyed in the fire in Copenhagen in 1728. One leaf remains, Lbs frg 82, formerly Holm perg 9 I fol, in Kungliga biblioteket, Stockholm (Icelandic, c. 1258-64). Copies of Kringla made before the fire:

a) Kˣ: comprising AM 35 folˣ = Hkr I (used in SkP I), AM 36 folˣ = ÓHHkr (Hkr II; used in SkP I), AM 63 folˣ = Hkr III (c. 1675-1700; all in the hand of Ásgeir Jónsson). Normally considered to give the most reliable text (Jørgensen 2007, 318).

b) 521ˣ: Oslo UB521ˣ (c. 1700). Hkr I copied from Kringla, Hkr II from Jöfraskinna, but from K where J had lacunae (used in SkP I).

c) 70ˣ: AM 70 folˣ (c. 1675-1700; Hkr II only, used in SkP I)

d) papp18ˣ: Holm papp 18 folˣ (c. 1650-1700, in the hand of Jón Eggertsson).

39:           AM 39 fol (Icelandic, c. 1300). 43 leaves. The first ten leaves have defective and difficult text from the first part of Hkr. The remainder extends from ÓHHkr ch. 245 to HsonaHkr ch. 2.

F:              Codex Frisianus or Fríssbók, AM 45 fol (Icelandic with Norwegian features, c. 1300-25). Preserves Hkr I and III (not Hkr II, i.e. ÓHHkr) as well as Hák. Contaminated by a text from the y-branch.

Manuscripts: The Jöfraskinna group (y)

J:               Jöfraskinna, Holm perg 9 II fol (Icelandic, c. 1300-25). Four leaves from ÓHHkr extant. Other fragments in AM 325 VIII 3 d 4° (see Sv), NRA 55 A (see Hák). Copies of J:

a) J1ˣ: AM 37 folˣ (copy of J made c. 1700 and 1567-8). Ends at ÓHHkr ch. 74 (used in SkP I).

b) J2ˣ: AM 38 folˣ (c. 1675-1700; copy of J made by Ásgeir Jónsson).

E:             Eirspennill, AM 47 fol (c. 1300-25). Considered the best of this group. Contains the last chapter of ÓHHkr, Hkr III, Sv and Hák.

325VIII 1: AM 325 VIII 1 4° (c. 1300-25; fragment, used in SkP I).

325XI 1: AM 325XI 1 4° (c. 1300-25; fragment, used in SkP I)

G:             Gullinskinna. Destroyed in the fire of 1728. One leaf preserved in AM 325 VIII 5 c 4° (325VIII 5 c, c. 1400), which contains parts of Hák. G was copied in:

42ˣ:          AM 42 folˣ, c. 1675-1700; in the hand of Ásgeir Jónsson). Comprises Hkr III from Hharð (ch. 98) as well parts of Sv and Hák.

Facsimiles and editions: K 1895, F 1932, J 1895; Hkr 1893-1901, ÍF 26-8, Hkr 1991 (Modern Icelandic orthography), F 1871, E 1916.

The Hkr mss that are relevant to the editions in SkP II are the following: Kˣ (AM 63 fol), 39, F, E, J2ˣ, 42ˣ. Papp18ˣ has been consulted, but it has been used selectively. The y-branch of Hkr (represented by E, J2ˣ and 42ˣ) contains interpolated material from a version of Mork, and F has also been contaminated by a Mork text (see Louis-Jensen 1977, 66-94 and the stemma under Mork below).


Hkr III, the part of Hkr relevant for SkP II, comprises the sagas from Mgóð (1035) to MErl (1177) and contains 233 stanzas. For this part Snorri to a large extent relied on earlier written sources, notably on Ágr, the no longer extant *Oldest Morkinskinna (*ÆMork, see Mork below), Fsk, Orkn, Eiríkr Oddsson’s no longer extant *Hryggjarstykki (which is thought to have contained no poetry), , and a now-lost saga about the jarls of Hlaðir (*Hlaðajarla saga) (see Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson in ÍF 26, ix-xix, Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson 1937 and Fidjestøl 1982, 10). The bulk of the poetry contained in this part of Hkr is also preserved in the Mork redaction, but Snorri seems to have been selective in his adoption of the poetic material (see Andersson and Gade 2000, 25-57). The last stanza recorded in Hkr (Þskakk Erldr 3) describes events that took place in 1162. BjHall KálfflI, which is preserved in Hkr III, deals mostly with events prior to 1035 (BjHall Kálffl 1-5I) and has been edited in SkP I. Because F and the y-branch of the manuscripts have been interpolated with and contaminated by a Mork text, the order of the manuscripts in the critical apparatus may differ in some of the editions in SkP II (e.g. F may be grouped with Mork rather than with Kˣ and 39). Such instances are addressed in the Notes to the respective stanzas.

8. Hulda and Hrokkinskinna (H-Hr)


H:            Hulda, AM 66 fol (Icelandic; c. 1350-75). The beginning is missing.

Hr:           Hrokkinskinna, GKS 1010 fol (c. 1400-50 to fol. 91va, c. 1500-1600 thereafter).

Facsimile and editions: H 1968; Fms 6-7, H-Hr (in spe).

H and Hr derive from a common exemplar (*H) tentatively dated to c. 1300 (Louis-Jensen 1977, 15). Whether *H represented the original manuscript of the compilation H-Hr cannot be ascertained (Louis-Jensen 1977, 13; for a discussion of the manuscripts, see Louis-Jensen 1977, 7-15). H-Hr chronicles the lives of the kings of Norway from Magnús inn góði to Magnús Erlingsson (c. 1035-1177), and the content thus covers the same events as the last part of Fsk, the extant portions of Mork and Hkr III. The compiler of H-Hr used a version of Mork (*m, a sister manuscript to Mork) and a version of the Hkr y-branch (see the stemma under Mork below). H-Hr contains independent additions from other sources, such as Þorgríms þáttr Hallasonar (see Kolgr Ól), Hrafns þáttr Guðrúnarsonar (no poetry) and Gísls þáttr Illugasonar (see Gísl Lv). The compiler also seems to have had access to a version of Orkn, a version of ÓH and a saga about Edward the Confessor, as well as possible now-lost sagas about Ásmundr Grankelsson and Stúfr inn blindi (Stúfr; see Louis-Jensen 1977, 109-135, 156-89).


Most of the poetry transmitted in H-Hr is also found in Mork and Hkr III, and it is often difficult to establish a stemma because the prose that surrounds a stanza in H-Hr may derive from Hkr and the poetic text may come from Mork or vice versa. Hence the order of the manuscripts in the critical apparatus of the editions in SkP II differs depending on the provenance of the poetic text (H-Hr is grouped either with Mork or with Hkr). Sometimes the variant readings do not allow for a definite attribution, and in such cases the stemma for the poetry reflects that of the surrounding prose. The poetry transmitted in H and Hr is often corrupt, and the compiler of *H appears to have made syntactic changes to restore the meaning of a stanza, and on occasion he introduced new internal rhymes (see Louis-Jensen 1977, 152-5). When a longer poem had been split up into separate stanzas and inserted into the prose texts for historical verification, the compiler often tried to harmonise the accounts of Mork and Hkr and shifted stanzas around (see, e.g., Steinn Óldr). He also frequently created new prose environments by paraphrasing the content of the stanzas.

9. Morkinskinna (Mork)


Mork:     Morkinskinna, GKS 1009 fol (Icelandic, c. 1275, 37 leaves).

Facsimile and editions: Mork 1934; Mork 1867, Mork 1928-32, ÍF 23-4.[18] See also Andersson and Gade 2000.

The extant Morkinskinna manuscript (Mork) consists of thirty-seven leaves and spans the period from Magnús inn góði (c. 1035) to the death of Eysteinn Haraldsson (1155), but most scholars believe that the compilation originally extended as far as the accession of Sverrir Sigurðarson (1177; see Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson 1937, 135 and ÍF xvii; Andersson and Gade 2000, 1). The manuscript is written in two hands and contains five lacunae, three of them in MH, one in Sjórs and one in MbHg (see Louis-Jensen 1977, 78-82; Andersson and Gade 2000, 5). The lacunae in MH can be filled in with the text of YFlat (see Flat above), which follows the Mork text fairly closely, although some stanzas may have been omitted in the Flat version. Mork 1928-32 and Andersson and Gade 2000 supply YFlat text in the Mork lacunae, and in such instances, these editions are grouped with Flat 1860-8, III in the Editions listings within SkP

Mork ultimately derives from a no longer extant compilation, the *Oldest Morkinskinna (*ÆMork in SkP II), which was composed sometime between 1217 and 1222 (see Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson 1937, 136-7). The relationship between Mork and *ÆMork is notoriously difficult, especially as far as the question of later interpolations is concerned (both prose and poetry; see Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson 1937, 157-8; Louis-Jensen 1977, 66-70; Andersson and Gade 2000, 25-57; Ármann Jakobsson 2000b), but recent research has shown that the text of the extant ms. appears to be closer to *ÆMork than previously assumed (see Andersson 1994; Ármann Jakobsson 1997; idem 1999; idem 2000a; idem 2000b; idem 2002; Andersson and Gade 2000, 25-57).

The text as preserved in Mork draws on several written sources, such as earlier redactions of Orkn and Ágr, Eiríkr Oddsson’s *Hryggjarstykki, a saga about Knútr inn helgi ‘the Holy’ Sveinsson of Denmark, Þinga saga and, possibly, a continuation of *Hlaðajarla saga as well as a version of an Anglo-Norman chronicle (see Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson 1937, 137-73; Louis-Jensen 1977, 68; Gade 1997; Andersson and Gade 2000, 11-24). It is also possible that written versions of some of the þættir and sagas of some of the individual kings could have been available to the Mork compiler (see Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson 1937, 154-7, 168-73; Louis Jensen 1977, 69; Gade 1998), but oral sources must have played a major role in the composition of the compendium (see Andersson and Gade 2000, 57-65).

Scholars agree that a version of Mork (most likely *ÆMork) must have been available both to Snorri and to the compiler of Fsk (see Indrebø 1917; Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson 1937, 171-3, 228-36; Louis-Jensen 1977, 66-8, Andersson and Gade 2000, 497-503). There is further consensus that a Mork text (*m; see stemma below) was used by the compiler of the exemplar for H-Hr and that the text of *m found its way into MH in YFlat (see Flat above). To complicate matters further, sections from an abbreviated Mork version (*MorkY) were interpolated into manuscript F of Hkr and also into the y-branch of the Hkr manuscripts E, J and G (see Louis-Jensen 1977, 83-94). For an extensive discussion of the textual relationships, see Louis-Jensen 1977. The sigla used in the stemmata below (*ÆMork, *Mork2, *MorkX, *MorkY, Mork, YFlat) differ somewhat from the sigla used by Louis-Jensen and Andersson and Gade 2000 (there ÆMsk, Msk2, MskX, MskY, MskMS, YFlb).

Stemma for Mork, Fsk, and Hkr (adapted from Andersson and Gade 2000, 11):

  • *ÆMork

Stemma for Mork, H, Hr, and YFlat (adapted from Louis-Jensen 1977, 72):

  • *ÆMork
    • *Mork2
      • *MorkX
        • Mork
        • *m
          • *H
            • H
            • Hr
          • YFlat, 325XI 3

Stemma for Mork and Hkr (interpolated versions) (adapted from Louis-Jensen 1977, 93):

  • *Mork2
    • *MorkY
      • *y
        • *y1
          • E
          • J
          • G
        • *y2
          • PCI
          • H-Hr [=*H]
      • F
    • *MorkX
      • Mork
      • *m
        • *H
        • YFlat, 325XI 3


The extant version of Mork contains a total of 265 stanzas, and, in addition, one may infer from the sections in Fsk, Hkr, H-Hr and Flat that cover the now-lost corresponding portions of Mork that the manuscript originally must have contained at least another seventy-one stanzas. Whether all the poetry presently found in Mork was part of the original compilation is impossible to ascertain (see Andersson and Gade 2000, 25-57). In particular, the large-scale insertion of stanzas from Ív Sig is suspect, because Hkr, Fsk and H-Hr cite only two stanzas, and if *m, the posited source of *H, had contained these stanzas, it is not clear why they would not have been included in that compendium as well (see Andersson and Gade 2000, 48-56). However, it appears that most, if not all of the poetry in Mork was part of the earliest compilation and thus available to Snorri and to the compiler of Fsk. The sagas from Mgóð to MErl in the last part of Fsk and in Hkr III on average include between fifty-one percent (excluding stanzas in fornyrðislag) or sixty-one percent (including stanzas in fornyrðislag) of the poetic material in Mork, and it is unlikely that Mork at any stage was subject to interpolation of skaldic stanzas on a large scale (see Andersson and Gade 2000, 56). A comparison of the versions of the individual stanzas in Mork, Fsk and Hkr shows that the texts in Hkr and, in particular, the texts of the Hkr x-branch (when F is a Hkr and not a Mork text), sometimes depart from the versions found in Mork and Fsk. Hence it looks like Snorri (or the scribe of *x?) took it upon himself to ‘improve’ on the poetic texts of his exemplar. Whether such changes stemmed from knowledge of different versions of the stanzas or from subjective preferences is impossible to say. In general, the poetry in Mork is well preserved, although in some cases there is scribal corruption and changes that must have occurred in the course of the manuscript transmission.

10. The Legendary Saga of S. Óláfr Helgisaga Óláfs konungs Haraldssonar (ÓHLeg)


DG8:      DG 8 (Norwegian, c. 1225-50).

Facsimile and editions: DG 8 1956; ÓHLeg 1922, ÓHLeg 1982.


ÓHLeg contains one stanza of the poetry edited in SkP II, namely Hharð Lv 1.

[19] For a full discussion of ÓHLeg, see Introduction to SkP I.

11. The Separate Saga of S. Óláfr Óláfs saga helga in sérstaka (ÓH)

A class stemma (adapted from ÓH 1941, II, 1103)

Manuscripts: A class

Holm2: Holm perg 2 4° (Icelandic, c. 1250-1300).

325V:     AM 325 V 4° (Icelandic, c. 1300-20). Parts belong to the C class (see below).

*U:           Uppsala ms., destroyed in the fire in Uppsala in 1702. Materials from *U survive in:

                 a) 972ˣ: Thott 972 folˣ (two Swedish scribes). A copy of Holm2 with text and marginal notes from *U.

                 b) Hkr 1697 II: Peringskiöld’s edition of Hkr. Contains poetic material from *U.

J:               Jöfraskinna (see Hkr above). ÓH in J is a shortened text belonging to the separate, not Hkr, redaction.

325VI:    AM 325 VI 4° (Icelandic, in three main hands, c. 1350-1400).

75a:         AM 75 a fol. Bæjarbók í Borgarfirði (Icelandic, c. 1300). Defective.

321ˣ:       AM 321 4°ˣ. A paper copy of 75a by Halldór Jónsson of Reykholt (c. 1650-1700) when 75a was more complete than presently.

Bæb:        Bæjarbók á Rauðasandi, AM 73 b fol (four extant leaves, c. 1370-90). No stanzas in SkP II.

73aˣ:        AM 73 a folˣ (c. 1700, three Icelandic copyists). A copy of Bæb with text from 325V where Bæb had a lacuna.

78aˣ:        AM 78 a folˣ (c. 1700, partial copy of *Codex Resenianus). No stanzas in SkP II.

Manuscripts: B class

61:           AM 61 fol (Icelandic; c. 1350-75 to fol. 109v, c. 1400-50 thereafter). Parts belong to the C class (below).

68:           AM 68 fol (Icelandic, c. 1300-50). Defective.

325XI 2p: AM 325 XI 2 p 4° (c. 1300-1400). No stanzas in SkP II.

C class stemma (from ÓH 1941, II, 1112)

  • *C
    • Holm4
    • *c
      • Other C mss

Manuscripts: C class

Holm4:  Holm perg 4 4° (Icelandic, c. 1320-40). Many lacunae.

61:           AM 61 fol. See B above. The later part belongs to the C class.

75c:         AM 75 c fol (Icelandic, c. 1325). Fragment in poor condition. No stanzas in SkP II.

75e4:       AM 75 e 4 fol (Icelandic, c. 1350-1400, one leaf).

325V:     AM 325 V 4°. See A above. The first and third parts belong to the C class.

325VII:  AM 325 VII 4° (Icelandic, with Norwegian orthography; c. 1250-1300). AM 325VII is the oldest manuscript after Holm2 and it has some damage.

Bb:           Bergsbók, Holm perg 1 fol (Icelandic, c. 1400-25).

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

Tóm:      Tómasskinna, GKS 1008 fol (Icelandic; c. 1400 to fol 78v, the rest c. 1450-1500). Three hands.

Parts of Bb, Tóm, and 325VI cannot be assigned to any of the three main classes.

Facsimiles and editions: Holm2 1942, AM 61 1982, Bb 1963, Tóm 1964, Flat 1930; Hkr 1697, ÓH 1941, Flat 1860-8, II.


ÓH contains the following stanzas edited in SkP II: Sigv Berv 1, 5-6, 9-14; Þflekk Lv; Hharð Lv 1, 2a-b; ÞjóðA Magnfl 7; ÞjóðA Sex 1; Arn Hryn 5-7; Arn Magndr 1, 2, 10; Arn Þorfdr 5, 23; Arn Hardr 5; Bǫlv Hardr 1. With the exception of Hharð Lv 2a and Arn Hryn 7, all these stanzas are also transmitted in Hkr. Hharð Lv 2a, which is preserved only in 972ˣ and in Hkr 1697 II, was most likely copied from *U.

[20] For a full discussion of ÓH, see Introduction to SkP I.

12. Óláfs saga Tryggvasonar by Oddr Snorrason (ÓTOdd)


Holm 18: Holm perg 18 4° (c. 1300). No poetry in SkP II.

310:         AM 310 4° (Norwegian, c. 1250-75).

4-7:          DG 4-7 (c. 1270). No poetry in SkP II.

Facsimile and editions: AM 310 1974; ÓTOdd 1932, ÍF 25 (Fær and ÓTOdd).


Sigv Berv 15/7-8 is recorded in 310.

[21] For a full discussion of ÓTOdd, see Introduction to SkP I.

13. Sverris saga (Sv)

Stemma (adapted from ÍF 30, xlv)


327:         AM 327 4° (Icelandic, with Norwegian influence on orthography and morphology, c. 1300). 92 leaves.

Flat:         Flateyjarbók, GKS 1005 fol. See separate entry. Sv: 145ra-164ra.

8:              Holm perg 8 fol. See Hák. Sv: 1r-32v.

304ˣ:       AM 304 4°ˣ. See Hák. Sv: 182r-251r.

E:             Eirspennill, AM 47 fol. See Hkr. Sv: 72v-129r.

81a:         Skálholtsbók yngsta, AM 81 a fol. See Hák. Sv: 1ra-55vb.

325VIII 4 a: AM 325 VIII 4 a 4° (two-leaf fragment, c. 1300-25).

Parts of Sv are also preserved in 42ˣ (see Hkr), AM 325VIII 3 a-c 4°, AM 325VIII 3 d 4° (Jöfraskinna; see Hkr), AM 325 VIII 4 b-c 4°, AM 325 X 4° and NRA 54, but these mss and fragments contain no poetry. For a full list of later paper mss, see ÍF 30, 314‑15.

Facsimiles and editions: Flat 1930, AM 81a 1961; ÍF 30, Sv 1920, Flat 1860-8, III, E 1916, Sv 1910-86 (= Hák 1910-86).

Sv describes the life of Sverrir Sigurðarson (see ‘Royal Biographies’ below). The first five chapters deal briefly with events that took place prior to Sverrir’s arrival in Norway in 1176, and the saga ends with his death on 9 March 1202 (ch. 182). According to the preface of Sv, the first part of the saga (called Grýla ‘troll-woman’) was written by the Icelander Karl Jónsson, abbot of Þingeyrar monastery (1169-81 and c. 1189-1207; d. 1212 or 1213). Karl spent the years 1185-8 in Norway, and the preface states that Sverrir commissioned the saga and dictated the first part of the saga to him (ÍF 30, 3): ok er þat upphaf bókarinnar er ritat er eftir þeiri bók er fyrst ritaði Karl ábóti Jónsson, en yfir sat sjálfr Sverrir konungr ok réð fyrir hvat rita skyldi ‘and that is the beginning of the book which is copied from that book which Abbot Karl Jónsson was the first to write, but King Sverrir himself supervised it and decided what should be written’. There has been considerable scholarly debate as to how far Grýla extended—up to chapter 43 (including the battle of Kalvskinnet in 1179 and the death of Erlingr skakki) or up to chapter 100 (including the battle of Fimreite in 1184 and the death of Magnús Erlingsson). For an overview of the controversy, see Þorleifur Hauksson in ÍF 30, liii-lx; see also Indrebø in Sv 1920, li-lxxvii. Because of the statement in the preface to the effect that Karl Jónsson was the author of the first part of the saga (Grýla), scholars also disagree on whether the last part of Sv was the work of Karl or of another author (see ÍF 30, lx-lxiv; Sv 1920, lxxvii). If the entire Sv was authored by Karl, the saga must have been completed prior to 1212 or 1213.


Sv contains seventeen stanzas (Anon (Sv) 1-6; HSn Lv 1-2; BjKálf Lv 1; Nefari Lv 1; Blakkr Breiðdr 1-2; Blakkr Lv 1-2; Máni Lv 1-3) plus three lines in ljóðaháttr metre from the eddic poem Fáfnismál (Fáfn 6/4-6; NK 181), which have not been included in SkP II. The first stanza is recorded in chapter 44 and the last in chapter 161, spanning the years 1180-1200.  It is characteristic of the stanzas in Sv that, unlike the poetry in the earlier kings’ sagas, they are not used for historical documentation. Rather, most of them are lausavísur, and they are incorporated into the text as immediate comments on or reactions to an event, or inserted into Sverrir’s speeches for rhetorical purposes (see Anon (Sv) 2-3, 6 and the lines from Fáfn).  Even the two stanzas of Blakkr’s Breiðdr lack the features that distinguish encomia, and they serve to highlight the poet’s contempt for the royal pretender Þorleifr breiðskeggr ‘Broad-beard’. According to Skáldatal (SnE 1848-87, III, 255, 257, 264, 266, 277-8, 281), both Sverrir and his adversaries were eulogised by a number of skalds, but no stanzas from their praise poetry have been incorporated into the prose of Sv. It is clear that the author (or authors) of Sv, who based his (or their) version of the events on eyewitness accounts, deemed it unnecessary to support the narrative with poetic material. Only one stanza (Anon (Sv) 1), the first stanza in the saga, is used to document the contingents of warriors who accompanied Magnús Erlingsson on his journey to Trondheim in 1180.

Runic data from Samnordisk runtextdatabas, Uppsala universitet, unless otherwise stated