Óláfr svartaskáld Leggsson (Ólsv)
13th century; volume 3; ed. R. D. Fulk;
1. Hákonardrápa (Hákdr) - 2
2. Skúladrápa (Skúldr) - 1
3. Kristsdrápa (Kristdr) - 2
4. Love poem (Love) - 3
IV. 5. Lausavísa (Lv) - 1
It is possible that Óláfr (Ólsv) was a nephew of the poet Játgeirr Torfason (SnE 1848-87, III, 681; SkP II, 652). In Skáldatal (SnE 1848-87, III, 279) he is identified as a poet attached to the court of King Hákon Hákonarson (r. 1217-63; see SkP II, lxxxi-lxxxii). His nickname svartaskáld ‘Black Skald’ no doubt was employed to distinguish him from his contemporary at Hákon’s court, Óláfr hvítaskáld ‘White Skald’ Þórðarson (Ólhv; see SkP II, 656), and presumably it indicates that he had dark hair. He plays a role in a narrative in Sturlunga saga (ch. 228) set in the period 1230-1 (see Stu 1988, I, 329-30). According to that saga, he was a poor man who was in the company of Snorri Sturluson’s son, Jón murtr ‘Roach’, in Bergen in 1231. During a drunken brawl he dealt Jón an axe-blow that led to Jón’s death. Óláfr managed to escape the scene of the crime under the cover of darkness and he was not punished. He is not mentioned again in any literary source. The remains of his poetry are almost all fragmentary: these include what appear to be drápur dedicated to King Hákon (Hákdr), to Christ (Kristdr), and to the Norwegian Skúli jarl Bárðarson (1189-1240) (Skúldr), as well as a love poem (Love); the one complete work is a lone lausavísa.
Hákonardrápa (‘Drápa about Hákon’)
R. D. Fulk 2017, ‘ Óláfr svartaskáld Leggsson, Hákonardrápa’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 311. <https://skaldic.org/m.php?p=text&i=1329> (accessed 29 January 2022)
Skj: Óláfr Leggsson, svartaskáld: 1. En drape om kong Hakon (?) (AII, 84-85, BII, 96)
in texts: LaufE, SnE, SnEW
SkP info: III, 311
These poetic fragments, Hákonardrápa ‘Drápa about Hákon’ (Ólsv Hákdr), are most likely about King Hákon Hákonarson (see Óláfr’s Biography above). The title is modern – unsurprisingly, given the vagueness of the ms. sources and the uncertainties involved. The second excerpt appears to be addressed to a successor of King Óláfr inn helgi Haraldsson (S. Óláfr), the patron saint of Norway, and since Hákon is known to have been Óláfr svartaskáld’s patron, that helmingr is most plausibly to be understood as part of an encomium concerning Hákon. The first excerpt is much more ambiguous, but it appears to be more congenial to inclusion in a drápa about Hákon than it is to inclusion in any other of Óláfr’s known compositions. In parchments, the first excerpt is found only in W; the copy in 761bˣ, which may well have been copied from W, is collated because of the divergence noted in the Reading. The second excerpt is found only in LaufE (mss 743ˣ, 2368ˣ).