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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Eyv Hál 9I

Russell Poole (ed.) 2012, ‘Eyvindr skáldaspillir Finnsson, Háleygjatal 9’ 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. 207.

Eyvindr skáldaspillir FinnssonHáleygjatal

text and translation

Ok Sigurð,
hinns svǫnum veitti
hróka bjór
Haddingja vals
fjǫrvi næmðu
á Ǫglói.

Ok {jarðráðendr} næmðu Sigurð, hinns veitti {bjór {hróka {vals Haddingja}}} {svǫnum {farmatýs}}, fjǫrvi á Ǫglói.
‘And the rulers of the land [RULERS] deprived Sigurðr, he who supplied beer of the cormorants of the chosen of the Haddingjar <legendary heroes> [WARRIORS > RAVENS/EAGLES > BLOOD] to the swans of the god of cargoes [= Óðinn > RAVENS], of life at Ǫgló.

notes and context

Stanzas 9 and 10 commemorate the death of Sigurðr jarl Hákonarson (c. 962) and are cited without interruption. In Hkr and ÓT, Sigurðr’s younger brother, Grjótgarðr (grandson of the Grjótgarðr alluded to in st. 8), is suborned by offers of friendship from Haraldr gráfeldr ‘Grey-cloak’ and his brother Erlingr Eiríksson and divulges that Sigurðr is on an itinerary of feasts (veizlur) with only a small entourage. They make their way to Ǫgló, where Sigurðr is staying, and burn down the hall, with the jarl and his following trapped inside. Hákon Sigurðarson then takes up the jarldom. Fsk cites the stanzas after briefly recording the slaying of Sigurðr jarl by the Eiríkssynir (Gunnhildarsynir). In SnE, st. 9 is cited to illustrate the Óðinn-kenning farma-Týr or farmatýr (see Note to l. 5 below) and ll. 5-8 are cited to illustrate the king-kenning jarðráðendr ‘rulers of the land’. In TGT, ll. 5-8 are quoted to exemplify kennings such as farma-Týr.

[4] vals Haddingja ‘of the chosen of the Haddingjar <legendary heroes> [WARRIORS]’: The Haddingjar are legendary, perhaps semi-divine, warrior-aristocrat figures in Swedish, Norwegian and Danish tradition (LP: Haddingi, Haddingjar, Haddingr), sometimes envisaged as a pair of brothers and connected with cultic practices (ARG II, 249, 253; Simek 1993, 127; and see Saxo 2005, I, 1, 8, 12, pp. 122-3). The majority interpretation of this line understands val as n. ‘choice, elite’, hence vals Haddingja is ‘the best of the Haddingjar’ (Hkr 1893-1901, IV; Skj B; LP: Haddingjar; ÍF 26; Hkr 1991). A further possibility preferred by Bjarni Einarsson (ÍF 29) is valr m. ‘the slain’, hence ‘the corpses of the Haddingjar’.



Text is based on reconstruction from the base text and variant apparatus and may contain alternative spellings and other normalisations not visible in the manuscript text. Transcriptions may not have been checked and should not be cited.

editions and texts

Skj: Eyvindr Finnsson skáldaspillir, 2. Háleygjatal 11: AI, 69-70, BI, 61, Skald I, 38; Hkr 1893-1901, I, 235, IV, 65-6, ÍF 26, 207, Hkr 1991, I, 138 (HGráf ch. 6), F 1871, 89; ÓT 1958-2000, I, 54 n. (ch. 34), Flat 1860-8, I, 64; Fsk 1902-3, 55 (ch. 13), ÍF 29, 101 (ch. 14); SnE 1848-87, I, 232-5, 452-3, II, 160, 302-3, 335, 446, SnE 1931, 88, 160, SnE 1998, I, 7-8, 78; SnE 1848-87, II, 160-1, TGT 1884, 27, TGT 1927, 75, TGT 1998, 200-1; Krause 1990, 179-86.


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