Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Þórðr Særeksson (Sjáreksson) (ÞSjár)

11th century; volume 1; ed. Kari Ellen Gade;

3. Róðudrápa (Róðdr) - 1

Skj info: Þórðr Særeksson, Islandsk skjald, 11. årh. (AI, 327-30, BI, 302-4).

Skj poems:
1. Et digt om Klœingr Brúsason
2. Þórolfs drápa Skolmssonar
3. Róðudrápa
4. Lausavísur og ubestemmelige brudstykker

Very little is known about Þórðr Særeksson (or, in a later form, Sjáreksson) (ÞSjár). Skáldatal (SnE 1848-87, III, 253, 257, 274, 281) lists him among the poets of Eiríkr jarl Hákonarson (r. c. 1000-c. 1014) and King Óláfr Haraldsson (S. Óláfr, d. 1030). According to ÓT (1958-2000, II, 322-3) Þórðr went on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land during the reign of Óláfr Haraldsson, and, arriving in Syria, met Óláfr Tryggvason, who is said to have escaped from the battle of Svǫlðr (c. 1000). Óláfr greeted Þórðr warmly and sent his regards to Þórðr’s kinsman-in-law (mágr), the famous Icelander Hjalti Skeggjason. In some mss Þórðr is referred to as Svartsson or svartaskáld, probably from a misreading of his patronymic (see LH I, 603-5 and Introduction to ðudrápa (Róðdr) below). In addition to the poems edited here (Þórálfs drápa Skólmssonar (Þórdr), Flokkr about Klœingr Brúsason (Klœingr) and Róðdr), three fragments of Þórðr’s poetry are preserved in SnE and one in LaufE (ÞSjár Frag 1-4III); these fragments are edited in SkP III. Þórðr’s oeuvre presents difficulties in that the people and events commemorated there span some sixty-five years, from c. 961 (Þórdr) to c. 1026 (Róðdr), so that it must be assumed either that he was exceptionally long-lived or that Þórdr was composed after a lapse of several years or decades; see further Introduction to that poem.

LP: ÞSjár(Sær)

Róðudrápa — ÞSjár RóðdrI

Kari Ellen Gade 2012, ‘(Introduction to) Þórðr Særeksson (Sjáreksson), Róðudrápa’ in Diana Whaley (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 1: From Mythical Times to c. 1035. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 1. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 242.


Skj: Þórðr Særeksson: 3. Róðudrápa, o. 1031 (AI, 329, BI, 303); stanzas (if different): [v]

in texts: Flat, Fsk, Hkr, ÓH, ÓHHkr, ÓHLeg

SkP info: I, 242

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance references search files


This is the only remaining stanza of Róðudrápa ‘Cross Drápa’ (ÞSjár Róðdr), which Þórðr composed in memory of King Óláfr Haraldsson (S. Óláfr, d. 1030), although Finnur Jónsson (LH I, 604) tentatively suggests that ÞSjár Frag 1III may also have belonged to that poem. The name of the poet is given as Þórðr Sjáreksson or Særeksson (K, , 325IX 2, 325XI 1, Holm2, J2ˣ, Holm4, FskAˣ), Þórðr Háreksson (DG8), Þóroddr Sjáreksson (68), Þórðr svartaskáld (61, 325V) and Þórðr Svartsson (75c, Flat, Bb). The title of the poem is transmitted as Róðadrápa (Hkr and most of the mss of ÓH) or Róðudrápa (61, 325V; Flat has Hróðudrápa). The ON noun róða ‘cross’ (< OE rōd ‘rood, cross’) is a weak f., hence we should expect róðu- rather than róða-. The stanza commemorates the battle of Á in helga (Helgeå) c. 1026, where the allies Óláfr Haraldsson and the Swedish king Ǫnundr Óláfsson fought against King Knútr inn ríki Sveinsson (Cnut the Great) of Denmark and England. The stanza is preserved on the surviving leaf of the K vellum, which has been chosen as the main ms. Ms. is copied at this point from J (= J2ˣ, which is an ÓH ms. here), with marginal variants from K in the hand of Árni Magnússon. The stanza is also transmitted in the ÓH mss listed below, in FskAˣ (Fsk) and in DG8 (ÓHLeg, ll. 5-8 only).
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