skaldic

Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Vol. I. Poetry for Scandinavian Rulers 1: From Mythological Times to c. 1035 8. Volume Introduction 3. Sources for skaldic poetry cited in the kings’ sagas: manuscripts, facsimiles and editions 3.1. Sagas of the kings of Norway to c. 1035 12. The Oldest Saga of S. Óláfr / Óláfs saga helga in elzta (ÓHÆ)

12. The Oldest Saga of S. Óláfr / Óláfs saga helga in elzta (ÓHÆ)

Manuscript

52:       NRA 52 (c. 1225). First six fragments contain text of ÓHÆ.

Facsimile and edition: ÓHÆ 1893.

This saga, now extant only in six vellum fragments preserved as NRA 52, is thought to have been composed c. 1200. (Two further fragments, supposed in the 1893 edition also to belong to ÓHÆ, were shown to be from other texts by Louis-Jensen 1970b.) Their language suggests ÓHÆ was compiled by an Icelander, and he seems to have known Ágr, but nothing more is known about the circumstances of the saga’s composition. The NRA 52 fragments concern only Óláfr’s reign as king of Norway, but reconstructions based on extant works which drew on ÓHÆ show it must originally also have included Óláfr’s return from Russian exile, his death at the battle of Stiklastaðir (Stiklestad) in 1030, and the subsequent recognition of his sanctity. The fragments also contain several anecdotes and þættir about Icelandic skalds, and it is in these that most of the saga’s eight skaldic citations occur. The compilers of later sagas about Óláfr helgi, such as ÓHLeg and the Lífssaga by Styrmir Kárason, drew on ÓHÆ when it was complete, and Fidjestøl (1982, 21) reasons that ÓHLeg took all its sixty-three stanzas from ÓHÆ, though (on the evidence of its incomplete preservation of ÞSjár Róðdr) it omitted some others in the interests of conciseness. Judging by this, ÓHÆ contained well over sixty stanzas and was an important early written witness to the skaldic tradition.

Poetry

The surviving fragments of ÓHÆ contain the following: Ótt Lv 1, Þorf Lv 1, Þorm Lv 10, 11, 15, Ótt Hfl 1 (l. 1 only), Bersi Lv 1, Hár Lv 2.

References

  1. Bibliography
  2. Ágr = [Anonymous] Ágrip af Nóregs konunga sögum.
  3. Fidjestøl, Bjarne. 1982. Det norrøne fyrstediktet. Universitet i Bergen Nordisk institutts skriftserie 11. Øvre Ervik: Alvheim & Eide.
  4. Louis-Jensen, Jonna. 1970b. ‘Et forlæg til Flateyjarbók? Fragmenterne AM 325 IV ß og XI, 3 4to’. Opuscula 4. BA 30, 141-58. Copenhagen: Munksgaard.
  5. ÓHÆ 1893 = Storm, Gustav, ed. 1893. Otte brudstykker af den ældste saga om Olav den Hellige. Det norske historiske kildeskriftfonds skrifter 25. Christiana (Oslo): Grøndahl.
  6. Internal references
  7. Diana Whaley 2012, ‘The Legendary Saga of S. Óláfr / Helgisaga Óláfs konungs Haraldssonar (ÓHLeg)’ 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. clxxiii.
  8. 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.
  9. Diana Whaley (ed.) 2012, ‘Bersi Skáld-Torfuson, Lausavísa 1’ 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. 796.
  10. Diana Whaley (ed.) 2012, ‘Hárekr í Þjóttu, Lausavísur 2’ 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. 810.
  11. Matthew Townend (ed.) 2012, ‘Óttarr svarti, Hǫfuðlausn 1’ 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. 741.
  12. Matthew Townend (ed.) 2012, ‘Óttarr svarti, Lausavísur 1’ 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. 784.
  13. Diana Whaley (ed.) 2012, ‘Þorfinnr munnr, Lausavísur 1’ 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. 845.
  14. R. D. Fulk (ed.) 2012, ‘Þormóðr Kolbrúnarskáld, Lausavísur 10’ 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. 823.
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