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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 4. Biographies 4.1. Ruler biographies 4.1.a. Kings and jarls of Norway 3. Hákon I inn góði Haraldsson (r. c. 934-c. 961)

3. Hákon I inn góði Haraldsson (r. c. 934-c. 961)

Hákon góði ‘the Good’ was a younger son of Haraldr hárfagri (q. v); he lived c. 920-c. 961. As his alternative nickname Aðalsteinsfóstri ‘Æthelstan’s foster-son’ indicates, Hákon was sent for fostering to the English king Æthelstan, c. 925. Hákon heard the news of his father’s death some time in the 930s and sailed back to Norway to claim the kingdom. With the help of Sigurðr jarl of Hlaðir (Lade), son of his father’s ally Hákon jarl Grjótgarðsson, and the acclaim of the farmers of Þrándheimr (Trøndelag), whose hereditary rights he promised to restore, Hákon góði seized control of Upplǫnd (Opplandene) and Vík (Viken) and drove out his half-brother Eiríkr blóðøx (q. v.), who fled to England. The heartland of Hákon’s kingdom, however, was the south-western part of the country. Sigurðr jarl retained control over Trøndelag, and Hákon established Tryggvi Óláfsson and Guðrøðr Bjarnarson as rulers of the small kingdoms in the south-east. As Æthelstan’s foster-son, Hákon was raised a Christian (see Introduction to Eyv Hák), but any attempts to convert Norway were short-lived and he appears to have reverted to the pagan religion (Krag 2003b, 190). According to the kings’ sagas, Hákon established law federations and organised the leiðangr, the levy for naval defence. For some time Hákon succeeded in repelling attacks by the Eiríkssynir, sons of Eiríkr blóðøx, who enjoyed the support of their uncle King Haraldr blátǫnn of Denmark, and himself made several raids on Danish territories. In or about 960 the Eiríkssynir and their Danish supporters, led by the oldest surviving brother, Haraldr gráfeldr (q. v.), renewed their assaults and c. 961 they confronted their uncle Hákon at the battle of Fitjar on the island of Storð (Stord in Sunnhordland, south of Bergen at the mouth of Hardangerfjorden, western Norway). Storð was of strategic importance for defence of the trade route along the Norwegian coast, and Fitjar, already a chieftainly or royal centre by the late ninth century (Andersen 1977, 68), may have been a significant site for Hákon within his core territory in western Norway (Bagge 2004, 194). Hákon gained the victory but died of his wounds. He lacked a male heir, so Haraldr gráfeldr succeeded as king. The sources count Hákon’s rule as between twenty-four and twenty-seven years: see Note to Anon Nkt 12 [All]II; on his death and burial-place see Anon Nkt 14-15II and Notes. For overview, see Anon Nkt 10-15II (c. 1190); Theodoricus (MHN 9-10; McDougall and McDougall 1998, 5-7); HN (MHN 106-7; Kunin and Phelpstead 2001, 15-16); Ágr (ÍF 29, 7-11; Ágr 2008, 6-17); Fsk (ÍF 29, 74-6, 80-95; Finlay 2004, 55-7, 60-73); HákgóðHkr (ÍF 26, 150-97; Hollander 1964a, 96-127). Skáldatal (SnE 1848-87, III, 253, 261, 273) lists only Eyvindr skáldaspillir (Eyv) and Guthormr sindri (Gsind) as composing for Hákon.

Events documented in poetry: Hákon’s voyage to Norway and possession of Firðir (Fjordane, Gunnh Lv); his campaign against the Danes c. 950 (Gsind Hákdr 1-3); his raids on Gautland (Götaland, Gsind Hákdr 4); his establishment of his nephew Tryggvi Óláfsson as under-king in Vík (Viken, Gsind Hákdr 5); his battle with the Eiríkssynir off Ǫgvaldsnes (Avaldsnes, Rogaland) c. 953 (Gsind Hákdr 6-7); his victory over Gamli Eiríksson at Rastarkálfr on Fræði (Frei, Møre og Romsdal) c. 955 (Gsind Hákdr 8; Eyv Lv 6; ÞSjár Þórdr 2); his final battle at Fitjar c. 961 (Eyv Hák 2-9; ÞSjár Þórdr; Eyv Lv 1-5; Glúmr Lv); Hákon summoned and welcomed into Valhǫll (Eyv Hák 10-17); his preservation of pagan sanctuaries (Eyv Hák 18); his generosity (Eyv Lv 8-9); Hákon as outstanding king (Eyv Hák 19-20); the desolation of the land after his death (Eyv Hák 21; Eyv Lv 12-14); Hákon remembered as a just lawgiver (Sigv Berv 5II, c. 1038). Hákon is attributed with a stanza spoken at Fitjar, praising his men’s loyalty: Hákg Lv, a riposte to Eyv Lv 3.

References

  1. Bibliography
  2. SnE 1848-87 = Snorri Sturluson. 1848-87. Edda Snorra Sturlusonar: Edda Snorronis Sturlaei. Ed. Jón Sigurðsson et al. 3 vols. Copenhagen: Legatum Arnamagnaeanum. Rpt. Osnabrück: Zeller, 1966.
  3. Ágr = [Anonymous] Ágrip af Nóregs konunga sögum.
  4. MHN = Storm, Gustav, ed. 1880. Monumenta historica Norvegiæ: Latinske kildeskrifter til Norges historie i middelalderen. Kristiania (Oslo): Brøgger. Rpt. 1973. Oslo: Aas & Wahl.
  5. ÍF 26-8 = Heimskringla. Ed. Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson. 1941-51.
  6. Andersen, Per Sveaas. 1977. Samlingen av Norge og kristningen av landet 800-1130. Handbok i Norges historie 2. Bergen: Universitetsforlaget.
  7. Finlay, Alison, trans. 2004. Fagrskinna: A Catalogue of the Kings of Norway. Leiden: Brill.
  8. HN = Historia Norwegiæ. In MHN 69-124.
  9. ÍF 29 = Ágrip af Nóregskonunga sǫgum; Fagrskinna—Nóregs konungatal. Ed. Bjarni Einarsson. 1985.
  10. McDougall, David and Ian McDougall, trans. 1998. Theodoricus monachus. Historia de antiquitate regum norwagiensium: An Account of the Ancient History of the Norwegian Kings. Viking Society for Northern Research Text Series 11. University College, London: Viking Society for Northern Research.
  11. Theodoricus = Theodrici monachi historia de antiquitate regum Norwagiensium. In MHN 1-68.
  12. Ágr 2008 = Driscoll, Matthew J., ed. and trans. 2008. Ágrip af Nóregskonungasǫgum: A Twelfth-Century Synoptic History of the Kings of Norway. 2nd edn. Viking Society for Northern Research Text Series 10. University College London: Viking Society for Northern Research.
  13. Krag, Claus. 2003b. ‘The Early Unification of Norway’. In Helle 2003, 184-201.
  14. Bagge, Sverre. 2004. ‘A Hero Between Paganism and Christianity: Håkon the Good in Memory and History’. In Hoff et al. 2004, 185-210.
  15. Kunin, Devra, trans., and Carl Phelpstead, ed., introd. and notes. 2001. A History of Norway and the Passion and Miracles of the Blessed Óláfr. Viking Society for Northern Research Text Series 13. London: Viking Society for Northern Research.
  16. Hollander, Lee M., trans. 1964a. Heimskringla: History of the Kings of Norway by Snorri Sturluson. Austin: The American-Scandinavian Foundation. Rpt. 1991 (rpt. cited in SkP II).
  17. Internal references
  18. Diana Whaley 2012, ‘Fagrskinna (Fsk)’ 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, pp. clix-clxi.
  19. Russell Poole 2012, ‘(Biography of) Guthormr sindri’ 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. 154.
  20. Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2009, ‘Anonymous Poems, Nóregs konungatal 10’ 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. 768-9.
  21. Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2009, ‘Anonymous Poems, Nóregs konungatal 12’ 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. 769-70.
  22. Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2009, ‘Anonymous Poems, Nóregs konungatal 14’ 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. 770-1.
  23. R. D. Fulk 2012, ‘(Introduction to) Eyvindr skáldaspillir Finnsson, Hákonarmál’ 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. 171.
  24. Diana Whaley 2012, ‘(Introduction to) Glúmr Geirason, Lausavísa’ 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. 266.
  25. R. D. Fulk 2012, ‘(Introduction to) Gunnhildr konungamóðir, Lausavísa’ 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. 150.
  26. R. D. Fulk 2012, ‘(Introduction to) Hákon inn góði Haraldsson, Lausavísa’ 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. 153.
  27. Kari Ellen Gade 2012, ‘(Introduction to) Þórðr Særeksson (Sjáreksson), Þórálfs drápa Skólmssonar’ 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. 236.
  28. R. D. Fulk (ed.) 2012, ‘Eyvindr skáldaspillir Finnsson, Hákonarmál 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. 185.
  29. R. D. Fulk (ed.) 2012, ‘Eyvindr skáldaspillir Finnsson, Hákonarmál 18’ 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. 191.
  30. R. D. Fulk (ed.) 2012, ‘Eyvindr skáldaspillir Finnsson, Hákonarmál 19’ 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. 192.
  31. R. D. Fulk (ed.) 2012, ‘Eyvindr skáldaspillir Finnsson, Hákonarmál 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. 176.
  32. R. D. Fulk (ed.) 2012, ‘Eyvindr skáldaspillir Finnsson, Hákonarmál 21’ 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. 193.
  33. Russell Poole (ed.) 2012, ‘Eyvindr skáldaspillir Finnsson, 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. 215.
  34. Russell Poole (ed.) 2012, ‘Eyvindr skáldaspillir Finnsson, Lausavísur 12’ 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. 231.
  35. Russell Poole (ed.) 2012, ‘Eyvindr skáldaspillir Finnsson, Lausavísur 3’ 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. 218.
  36. Russell Poole (ed.) 2012, ‘Eyvindr skáldaspillir Finnsson, Lausavísur 6’ 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. 223.
  37. Russell Poole (ed.) 2012, ‘Eyvindr skáldaspillir Finnsson, Lausavísur 8’ 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. 226.
  38. Russell Poole (ed.) 2012, ‘Guthormr sindri, Hákonardrápa 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. 157.
  39. Russell Poole (ed.) 2012, ‘Guthormr sindri, Hákonardrápa 4’ 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. 162.
  40. Russell Poole (ed.) 2012, ‘Guthormr sindri, Hákonardrápa 5’ 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. 163.
  41. Russell Poole (ed.) 2012, ‘Guthormr sindri, Hákonardrápa 6’ 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. 164.
  42. Russell Poole (ed.) 2012, ‘Guthormr sindri, Hákonardrápa 8’ 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. 168.
  43. Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2009, ‘Sigvatr Þórðarson, Bersǫglisvísur 5’ 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. 16-17.
  44. Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2012, ‘Þórðr Særeksson (Sjáreksson), Þórálfs drápa Skólmssonar 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. 238.
  45. Not published: do not cite ()
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