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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

2. Ívarr Ingimundarson, Sigurðarbálkr, 10 [Vol. 2, 507-8]

[All]: For ordeals in medieval Scandinavia, see ‘Gudsdom’ in KLNM 5, 545-55 and the references to legal sections in NGL V: járn 3; járnburðr; skírsl. Such ordeals were finally prohibited in all the Scandinavian countries in 1247 in connection with the visit of the papal legate William of Sabina. Several Norw. kings and noblemen of dubious paternity are said to have undergone ordeals. Haraldr gilli walked barefoot on nine red-hot ploughshares (Hkr, ÍF 28, 266 and n. 4) and the half-brother of Sverrir Sigurðarson, Jarl Eiríkr, carried red-hot iron (Sv, ÍF 30, 92-3), as did Erlingr steinveggr ‘Stonewall’, the son of Magnús Erlingsson (Bǫgl 1988, II, 23). The mother of Hákon Hákonarson, Inga of Varteig, was the last to carry glowing iron to prove the paternity of her son (Hák, E 1916, 496-8; Hákon was elected king of Norway in 1217).


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