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(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 > 3.1. Sagas of the kings of Norway to c. 1035 > 13. The Separate Saga of S. Óláfr / Óláfs saga helga in sérstaka (ÓH))

13. The Separate Saga of S. Óláfr / Óláfs saga helga in sérstaka (ÓH) (DW)

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). The greater part belongs to the C class (see below).

*U:       Uppsala ms. De la Gardie 3, a ms. closely related to Holm2 that was destroyed in the fire in Uppsala in 1702. Materials from *U survive in:

a) 972ˣ: Thott 972 folˣ (two Swedish scribes). A dual copy (in the a and b columns) of poor textual quality, but going back to Holm2, with some text and marginal notes from *U.

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

c) R686ˣ: UppsUB R686ˣ (c. 1650-1700).

J:         Jöfraskinna. Óláfs saga helga in J is a shortened text belonging to the Separate (ÓH) redaction, except where lacunae are filled from the K ms. of Hkr (Jørgensen 2000, 39, 232); the remainder of the ms. contains Hkr I and III (see Hkr above)

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 (c. 1650-1700 by Halldór Jónsson of Reykholt). A paper copy of 75a made when it was more complete than presently; beginning copied from 325VI.

Bæb:     Bæjarbók á Rauðasandi, AM 73 b fol (c. 1370-90). Four extant leaves.

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

71ˣ:      AM 71 folˣ (c. 1700). A copy of the lost *Ástríðarbók transcript of Bæb

76aˣ:     AM 76a folˣ (c. 1700). A copy of the lost *Gottrupsbók transcript of Bæb

78aˣ:     AM 78 a folˣ (c. 1700). Partial copy of *Codex Resenianus.

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). Also contains ÓT.

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

325XI 2 p: AM 325 XI 2 p 4° (c. 1300-1400).

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

Manuscripts: C class

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

61:       AM 61 fol. See B above. The later part is a C-class text from C15th.

75c:      AM 75 c fol (Icelandic, c. 1325). Fragment in poor condition.

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

325V:   AM 325 V 4°. See A above. The first sixth and final half belong to the C class.

325VII: AM 325 VII 4° (Icelandic, with Norwegian orthography; c. 1250-1300). The oldest ms. after Holm2; some damage.

Bb:       Bergsbók, Holm perg 1 fol (Icelandic, c. 1400-25). Partly a Hkr ms.; see Hkr above. Also contains ÓT.

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

Tóm:    Tómasskinna, GKS 1008 fol (Icelandic; c. 1450-1500 in relevant part). Three hands. Also contains ÓT.

Parts of Bb, Tóm, and 325VI cannot be assigned to any of the three main classes (on Bb, see also Hkr). The following fragments are not included in the stemma, and in at least one case (325XI 2 i), contain text belonging to the Hkr redaction as well as ÓH. Fragments containing no poetry are not listed here.

325XI 1: AM 325 XI 1 4° (c. 1300)

325XI 2 b: AM 325 XI 2 b 4° (c. 1330-1370)

325XI 2 g: AM 325 XI 2 g 4° (c. 1300)

325XI 2 i: AM 325 XI 2 i 4° (c. 1350-1400)

325XI 2 l: AM 325 XI 2 l 4° (c. 1400)

325XI 2 n: AM 325 XI 2 n 4 (c. 1275-1300)

Facsimiles and editions: Holm2 1942, AM 61 1982, Bb 1963, Tóm 1964, Flat 1930; Hkr 1697, Fms 4-6, ÓH 1941, I-II, Flat 1860-8, II.

This biography of King Óláfr inn helgi Haraldsson (S. Óláfr) is conventionally attributed to Snorri Sturluson. Although no medieval source supports this supposition, the case for it is well grounded, and it is generally thought that Snorri composed ÓH as an independent entity before he began work on Hkr (cf. Hkr entry above). If correct, this would date ÓH’s composition to the late 1220s, shortly after a journey to Norway and Sweden which gave Snorri a familiarity with local traditions and geography. ÓH consists of a Prologue, a preliminary section on the history of Norway before Óláfr’s accession, the narrative of his life, deeds and death, and an outline of the reigns of his descendants, which forms a framework for the recounting of Óláfr’s posthumous miracles.

As shown above, ÓH is found in a considerable number of medieval mss, some of which expand the narrative with various interpolations. The stemma is complex, but the mss have been divided into three main classes, A, B and C (for invaluable discussion of the mss and their textual relations, see the account of O. A. Johnsen and Jón Helgason in ÓH 1941, II, 871-1131; pp. 872-7 tabulate the coverage of the saga in the various mss). Holm2, from the later thirteenth century, is the earliest ms. and the best of the A class; it is the main ms. in ÓH 1941. The B class contains only 61 (except where a C text) and 68, both fourteenth-century mss. Holm4 is the best C-class ms. The textual relationship between ÓH and Hkr is discussed in the context of skaldic editing under Hkr above.


ÓH cites over 240 stanzas, most of which are also found in the same order and the same narrative context in Hkr, including substantial citations from: Ótt Hfl, Sigv Víkv, ÞKolb Eirdr, Sigv Erlfl, Sigv Nesv, Bersi Ólfl, Sigv Austv, Sigv Vestv, Sigv Knútdr, Þloft Tøgdr, BjHall Kálffl, Sigv ErfÓl, Þloft Glækv. Lausavísur are also well represented, especially those by Þormóðr Kolbrúnarskáld relating to the battle of Stiklastaðir (Stiklestad, 1030) and by Sigvatr relating to a range of events, though the more informal end of the spectrum is hardly represented. In this volume, Jór Send 3-5, Eþver Lv 1, Sigv Vestv 8, Sigv Lv 1 and HalldR Lv are unique to ÓH mss. In addition, certain skaldic citations appear not in the main text of ÓH but only in þættir preserved in one or more interpolated mss: Þjóð Yt 26 in Óláfs þáttr Geirstaðaálfs (ÓGeir) and Þorm Lv 10, 11, 15, 16 in Þorm. Flat (ms. Flat) is particularly rich in additional þættir containing poetry: see separate entry above. Over twenty stanzas concern events after 1035 and are edited in SkP II (see p. lxx), while a small number are edited in SkP III or SkP VII since they are preserved mainly outside the kings’ sagas.

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