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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Halldórr skvaldri (Hskv)

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

3. Haraldsdrápa (Hardr) - 5

Skj info: Haldórr skvaldri, Islandsk skjald, 12. årh. (AI, 485-9, BI, 457-61).

Skj poems:
1. Útfararkviða
2. Útfarardrápa
3. Haraldsdrápa

Halldórr skvaldri (Hskv) is otherwise unknown. True to his nickname, skvaldri ‘Prattler’, Halldórr is said to have composed about numerous rulers and noblemen, but little of that poetry has been preserved. According to Skáldatal (SnE 1848-87, III, 252, 254-5, 258, 260, 262-3, 267, 272, 276-7, 283), he commemorated the following persons: Sóni Ívarsson, jarl of Götaland (c. 1100), King Magnús berfœttr ‘Barelegs’ Óláfsson of Norway (d. 1103) and his sons, King Sigurðr jórsalafari ‘Jerusalem-farer’ (d. 1130) and King Haraldr gilli(-kristr) ‘Servant (of Christ)’ (d. 1136), King Eiríkr eymuni ‘the Long-remembered’ of Denmark (d. 1137), the Swed. jarl Karl Sónason (c. 1140), King Sørkvir Kolsson of Sweden (c. 1150), King Ingi Haraldsson of Norway (d. 1161) and the Swed. jarl Jón Sørkvisson. See SnE 1848-87, III, 367-70. What survives of Halldórr’s poetic oeuvre are two poems about Sigurðr jórsalafari (Hskv Útkv, 1 st.; Hskv Útdr, 12 sts) one poem about Haraldr gilli (Hskv Hardr, 5 sts), and a fragment of an encomium (Hskv FragIII), which has been edited in SkP III.

Haraldsdrápa (‘Drápa about Haraldr’) — Hskv HardrII

Kari Ellen Gade 2009, ‘ Halldórr skvaldri, Haraldsdrápa’ 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. 493-6. <> (accessed 16 May 2022)

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Skj: Haldórr skvaldri: 3. Haraldsdrápa, O. 1137 (AI, 488-9, BI, 460-1)

in texts: Fris, Fsk, H-Hr, Hkr, MbHg, Mork

SkP info: II, 493-6

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance references search files


The poem, HaraldsdrápaDrápa about Haraldr’ (Hskv Hardr), was composed after Haraldr gilli(-kristr) ‘Servant (of Christ)’ captured and maimed his nephew Magnús inn blindi ‘the Blind’ Sigurðarson in 1135 and before Haraldr’s death in 1136. Stanzas 1 and 3 are transmitted in all mss of MbHgHkr (, 39, F, E, J2ˣ, 42ˣ) as well as in H-Hr (H, Hr). Stanza 2 is recorded in F, st. 4 in FskAˣ and FskBˣ (Fsk), and st. 5 is found in Mork (Mork). Mork has a lacuna at sts 1, 3, and the text in Andersson and Gade 2000 has been supplied from Hkr. With one exception (st. 5), all sts are attributed to Halldórr, and their order is determined by the sequence of events they commemorate (see Fidjestøl 1982, 157). The name of the poem is a modern construct. The poem documents the following events in Haraldr gilli’s life: the battle of Färlev, in present-day Sweden, against Magnús inn blindi on 9 August 1134 and Haraldr’s subsequent exile to Denmark (sts 1-2; see also Ingimarr Lv and ESk Hardr II, 1); his return to Norway the same autumn and his execution of Magnús’s supporters in Sarpsborg (st. 3); the siege of Bergen December 1134-January 1135 (st. 4; see also ESk Hardr II, 2); his sole rule of Norway (st. 5; see also ESk Hardr II, 3).
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