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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

1. 38. Óttarr svarti, 1. Hǫfuðlausn, 8 [Vol. 1, 750]

[All]: According to Sigv Víkv 4-5, after further raiding in the Baltic, Óláfr sailed back west, to places that have been located in Denmark and the Netherlands. Both poems (Víkv 6-9, Hfl 8-11) then depict Óláfr’s fighting in England. In particular, Hfl 8-10 follow Víkv 6-8 closely in specifying the three locations of London, Ringmere Heath, and Canterbury. The konungasǫgur claim that these campaigns were in the company of the Danish leader Þorkell inn hávi ‘the Tall’ and the Scandinavian sources tally well with the ASC’s account of Þorkell’s campaigns of 1009-12, even though Óláfr himself is not mentioned in English sources. The claim of Snorri Sturluson (ÓH and Hkr) that Óláfr was fighting in support of King Aðalráðr (Æthelred) at this early stage is probably erroneous: see Note to st. 13 [All]. For detailed discussion of Óláfr’s campaigns in England, and the stanzas and sagas in which they are recorded, see Campbell (1998, 76-82) and Turville-Petre (1969, 10-13); on Þorkell, see Keynes (1980, 216-22).


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