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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Valgarðr á Velli (Valg)

11th century; volume 2; ed. Kari Ellen Gade;

Poem about Haraldr harðráði (Har) - 11

Skj info: Valgarðr á Velli, Islandsk skjald, 11. årh. (AI, 390-3, BI, 360-3).

Skj poems:
Et digt om Harald hårdråde

Nothing is known about Valgarðr (Valg), but his nickname (á Velli ‘at Völlur’) indicates that he could have belonged to the family of Mǫrðr Valgarðsson from Völlur (Rangársýsla) in southern Iceland (see Brennu-Njáls saga, ÍF 12, passim; SnE 1848-87, III, 605-6; LH 1894-1901, I, 637-8). Skáldatal (SnE 1848-87, III, 254, 262, 275) lists him among Haraldr Sigurðarson’s court poets.

Poem about Haraldr harðráði — Valg HarII

Kari Ellen Gade 2009, ‘ Valgarðr á Velli, Poem about Haraldr harðráði’ 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. 300-10. <> (accessed 25 June 2022)

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Skj: Valgarðr á Velli: Et digt om Harald hårdråde (AI, 390-3, BI, 360-3)

in texts: Flat, Fsk, H-Hr, Hkr, HSig, MH, Mork, Skm, SnE

SkP info: II, 300-10

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance references search files


The eleven sts and helmingar below are attributed to Valgarðr in all sources. They belong to a poem about Haraldr harðráði (Valg Har) and the extant portions commemorate Haraldr’s military exploits in Byzantium (sts 1-4), his return from Russia to Scandinavia (st. 5), his harrying in Denmark with Sveinn Úlfsson (st. 6-9) and his subsequent return to Norway (sts 10-11). Stanzas 2-3, which are recorded only in SnE, do not contain specific information that allows for an attribution to Har, but because they describe the destruction of a stronghold by fire, it is likely that they commemorate Haraldr’s campaigns in the Mediterranean (see Fidjestøl 1982, 42, 144, 173). The sequence of sts presents no problem and follows the order of events described in the prose texts.

Stanzas 1-3 are transmitted in mss R, , U, A, B and C of SnE (Skm). Stanza 4 is recorded in Fsk (FskBˣ, FskAˣ), and sts 5-11 are found in Mork (Mork), H-Hr (H, Hr) and Fsk (FskBˣ, FskAˣ). Mss , 39, F, E, J2ˣ of Hkr contain sts 5-9, and Flat (Flat) has sts 6, 10-11. Stanza 11/1-4 is also recorded in mss R, , A, B, C of SnE (Skm). Because B is difficult to read, AM 744 4°ˣ (744ˣ), an early C18th copy of B by Jón Ólafsson, has been consulted selectively for sts 1-3, 11.

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