Skúli Þorsteinsson (Skúli)
11th century; volume 3; ed. Kate Heslop;
1. Poem about Svǫlðr (Svǫlðr) - 5
2. Lausavísa (Lv) - 1
Skúli Þorsteinsson (Skúli; c. 970-1040; LH I, 556) was a grandson of Egill Skallagrímsson (Eg ch. 79, ÍF 2, 276); his wife was Bera Ormsdóttir, niece of Þorvaldr víðfǫrli ‘the Wide-travelled’ (Kristni ch. 2, Hb 1892-6, 127). Skúli is listed as a skald of Eiríkr jarl Hákonarson in the Kringla version of Skáldatal but as a skald of Sveinn jarl Hákonarson in the U version (SnE 1848-87, III, 257, 266, 281). A valued member of Eiríkr’s retinue (hirð; Gunnl ch. 6, ÍF 3, 68), he was a forecastle-man (stafnbúi) on the jarl’s ship Járnbarðinn during the battle of Svolder (Svǫlðr, c. 1000; ÓTOdd 1932, 218; cf. Eg ch. 87, ÍF 2, 300). The authors of ÓT and ÓTOdd consider him a key eyewitness of the battle, about which he is said to have composed a flokkr (ÓTOdd 1932, 210). The battle stanzas by him which are preserved in the kings’ sagas and SnE may reasonably be assigned to this poem, but there is no trace of the additional encomiastic poems hypothesised by earlier scholars (SnE 1848-87, III, 719; LH I, 556). A single helmingr with mythological subject-matter, also preserved in SnE, is presumably from a different, lost poem. Skúli inherited the family farm at Borg (Eg ch. 87, ÍF 2, 300) and appears in later life as a generous and popular patron of young Icelanders (BjH chs 1-3, 7, ÍF 3, 111-19, 129).
Kate Heslop 2017, ‘(Introduction to) Skúli Þorsteinsson, Lausavísa’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 366.
Skj: Skúli Þórsteinsson: 2. Lausavísa (AI, 306, BI, 284); stanzas (if different): [v]
in texts: LaufE, Skm, SnE
SkP info: III, 366
In Skm (SnE), Snorri Sturluson attributes this helmingr (Skúli Lv) to Skúli Þorsteinsson, but as usual gives no indication of whether it is part of a longer poem. Its depiction of natural phenomena in terms of the family relations of the heavenly bodies (Sól, the sun, returning to her husband Glenr’s bed, while her brother Máni, the moon, takes her place in the sky) is unmotivated as it stands, and parallels which might suggest a larger poetic frame for it are lacking. The half-stanza is transmitted in all the mss of SnE (R (main ms.), W, Tˣ, U, B (and 744ˣ)) except for the fragmentary mss A and C. It was also copied from W in the Y redaction of LaufE (see LaufE 1979, 386), and from a LaufE ms. in RE 1665(Kk). Neither redaction has independent value.