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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Sigv Víkv 7I

Judith Jesch (ed.) 2012, ‘Sigvatr Þórðarson, Víkingarvísur 7’ 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. 544.

Sigvatr ÞórðarsonVíkingarvísur

text and translation

Enn lét sjaunda sinni
sverðþing háit verða
endr á Ulfkels landi
Ôleifr, sem ferk máli.
Stóð Hringmaraheiði
(herfall vas þar,) alla
Ellu kind (es olli
arfvǫrðr Haralds starfi).

Enn lét Ôleifr endr {sverðþing} verða háit sjaunda sinni á landi Ulfkels, sem ferk máli. {Kind Ellu} stóð alla Hringmaraheiði; herfall vas þar, es {arfvǫrðr Haralds} olli starfi.
‘Yet again Óláfr caused a sword-assembly [BATTLE] to be held for the seventh time in Ulfcytel’s land, as I recount the tale. The offspring of Ælla [= Englishmen] stood over all Ringmere Heath; there was slaying of the army there, where the guardian of Haraldr’s inheritance [= Óláfr] caused exertion.

notes and context

Óláfr spends the winter with King Aðalráðr (Æthelred) in England and they jointly fight and win a battle against Úlfkell (Ulfcytel) snillingr at Hringmaraheiðr (Ringmere Heath).

For the battle at Ringmere Heath, see also Ótt Hfl 9, and for a seemingly later encounter in the same place, see ÞKolb Eirdr 15. — [7-8] es arfvǫrðr Haralds olli starfi ‘where the guardian of Haraldr’s inheritance [= Óláfr] caused exertion’: As noted in ÍF 27, the subordinate clause could be taken with either of the other clauses in the helmingr. The analysis of the kenning is uncertain. (a) Structurally, it is taken here as a simple kenning in which arfvǫrðr, lit. ‘inheritance-guardian’ is equivalent to arfi ‘heir’, frequent in kennings (LP: arfi). It is assumed that the kenning designates Óláfr as the son of his father Haraldr grenski ‘from Grenland’ Guðrøðarson (so also Krag 1989, 297-8). (b) It has often been interpreted as a reference to Óláfr’s distant ancestor Haraldr hárfagri ‘Fair-hair’ and his unification of Norway. If so, the phrase could be construed as an inverted tvíkent kenning, ‘the guardian of the inheritance of Haraldr [NORWAY > = Óláfr]’.



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: Sigvatr Þórðarson, 1. Víkingarvísur 7: AI, 225, BI, 214, Skald I, 112; Hkr 1893-1901, II, 19-20, IV, 110, ÍF 27, 18, Hkr 1991, I, 262 (ÓHHkr ch. 14); ÓH 1941, I, 45 (ch. 23), Flat 1860-8, II, 20; Fell 1981b, 115-16, Jón Skaptason 1983, 59, 223.


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