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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Bjǫrn krepphendi (Bkrepp)

12th century; volume 2; ed. Kari Ellen Gade;

Magnússdrápa (Magndr) - 11

Skj info: Bjǫrn krepphendi, Islandsk skjald, omkr. 1100. (AI, 434-7, BI, 404-6).

Skj poems:

Bjǫrn (Bkrepp) is entirely unknown, and his ethnicity cannot be confirmed (Skj gives it as Icel.). Skáldatal (SnE 1848-87, III, 254, 262, 276) lists Bjǫrn among the poets of Magnús berfœttr ‘Barelegs’ Óláfsson (d. 1103). His nickname krepphendi appears to mean ‘the Crooked-handed’. See also SnE 1848-87, III, 622-3 and LH 1894-1901, II, 55.

Magnússdrápa (‘Drápa about Magnús’) — Bkrepp MagndrII

Kari Ellen Gade 2009, ‘ Bjǫrn krepphendi, Magnússdrápa’ in Kari Ellen Gade (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 2: From c. 1035 to c. 1300. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 2. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 395-405. <> (accessed 25 June 2022)

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Skj: Bjǫrn krepphendi: Magnúsdrápa, o. 1100 (AI, 434-7, BI, 404-6); stanzas (if different): 3 | 4 | 5/5-8 | 7/1-4, 6/5-8 | 7/5-8 | 8 | 9

in texts: Fris, H-Hr, Hkr, Mberf, Mork

SkP info: II, 395-405

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance references search files


MagnússdrápaDrápa about Magnús’ (Bkrepp Magndr) commemorates Magnús berfœttr Óláfsson’s early military exploits in Halland and in Norway (sts 1-3; see also SteigÞ Kv, Þham Magndr 1 and Lv 1, Gísl Magnkv 1-8 and Anon (Mberf) 2-3) as well as his first expedition to the west (Orkney, Hebrides, Scotland, Man, Anglesey; sts 5-11) in 1098-9 (see also Mberf Lv 1, Kali Lv 1, Þham Magn 2-3 and Gísl Magnkv 9-16). The poem does not mention his later campaigns in Sweden and Ireland; hence it was most likely composed c. 1099-1100.

Magndr is preserved in mss , 39, E, J2ˣ and 42ˣ of MberfHkr, as well as in H, Hr (H-Hr), Mork (Mork) and F, which is not a Hkr ms. here. In Hkr and H-Hr the sts are all attributed to Bjǫrn, whereas in Mork sts 1, 2, 4, 10-11 are attributed to Bjǫrn and the rest is anonymous. F assigns sts 1-9 to Þorkell hamarskáld (Þham) and follows Mork in attributing sts 10-11 to Bjǫrn. The name of the poem is transmitted in Hkr (ÍF 28, 212) and H-Hr (Fms 7, 4). The order of sts is problematic. H-Hr basically reproduces the Hkr prose with some independent insertions and certain sections from Mork, and the sequence of sts and half-sts corresponds to that of Hkr (except for st. 11, where H-Hr, with Mork, records the entire st.). F follows the Mork text almost verbatim (both prose and poetry). To complicate matters further, the sts in H-Hr at times share variant readings with Mork, even though the surrounding prose corresponds to that of the Hkr version (see the discussions in the Notes to the relevant sts below). The differences between the two main redactions (Hkr and Mork) are significant with regard to the order of sts, helmingar and couplets within the helmingar (see the discussion by Fidjestøl 1982, 150-2). Snorri clearly reworked both the prose and the poetry of Mork (ÍF 28, xlvi-xlvii; Fidjestøl 1982, 150-1), and he appears to have known sts and helmingar not contained in the Mork redaction. The order of sts can best be reconstructed from the chronology of the events they describe, and, more importantly, from the place names contained in the most problematic sts (sts 5-9). Mork (and Fsk, which has no poetry at this point) appears to relate the chronology of events most accurately. The route travelled by Magnús included the following locations (in sequence): The Hebrides (Lewis, st. 5; Skye and Tiree, st. 6; North Uist, st. 7), Sanda, Islay and Mull (st. 8), Kintyre and the Isle of Man (st. 9). Skj and Skald adopt the sequence of sts given in Hkr. The present edn reproduces them in the order suggested by Fidjestøl (1982, 173; i.e., Skj sts 1, 2, 4, 3, 5/1-4, 6/1-4, 5/5-8, 7/1-4+6/5-8, 7/5-8, 8, 9; see also Jesch 1996, 120). For a detailed description of this expedition, see Anderson 1922, II, 101-118 and Power 1986, 107-122.

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