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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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5. The Skaldic Database 3. Guided tour - Desktop Interface

3. Guided tour - Desktop Interface

This is not currently part of the peer-reviewed material of the project. Do not cite as a research publication.

How to find the edited stanzas: searching

The editions can be searched according to the categories listed in the tabs at the top of the web page, including skald (poet) name, poem title, text (prose work) title, manuscript siglum/shelfmark, editor name and so on. Moving the mouse cursor over the tabs will produce a search box, or clicking on the tabs will also allow you to both search and browse in each category.

A generic search for all categories is also available on the home and database pages, and under the ‘search’ tab.

Currently these searches use modern Icelandic rules, which means that accented characters are treated separately from unaccented characters. You can use the buttons next to some of the search boxes to add these characters, or use the wildcard characters ‘_’ (underscore) or ‘%’ (percent) to match a single letter or any number of letters respectively. (This behaviour may change.)

How to find the edited stanzas: browsing

The edited stanzas can be located by browsing various categories, most of which are listed in the tabs at the top of the web page. These include:

  • by skald (poet, e.g. look for Bragi Boddason here);
  • by poem or named group of stanzas (e.g. look for Geisli here);
  • by the text in which the stanza is cited (saga or other prose work, e.g. look for Harðar saga or Snorra Edda here);
  • by a manuscript or runic inscription which records the stanza (e.g. look for AM 242 fol. here);
  • by the editor responsible for this edition (e.g. look for Kari Ellen Gade here);
  • or a variety of concordances and indexes such as a lexical concordance, kenning index, index of names and places and so on.

The basic structure of the poetry in the database has three levels: skald (poet or anonymous), poem (or group of stanzas) and verse (stanza or fragment). In addition, the categorisations from the Skj edition are also recorded, as well as links by prose work, manuscript, editor and so on.

The database includes a vast amount of data which does not relate directly to the skaldic corpus. This can be searched by the same categories above but does not normally appear in the standard views of the skaldic corpus.

Information about poets, prose works and poems

The database pages on poets, prose works and poems includes introductory material (biographies of skalds and introductions to poems and sagas) as well as the verse contents of each category. Some of the introductory material is taken from the volume introductions and will appear in a separate box where available.

You can often see compiled information on the poetry for each category, including manuscript references, indexing material, lexical concordances and so on.

Using the interactive edition of stanzas

Once you have found a stanza of poetry, the edition (e.g. Rögnvaldr’s stanza 4) and associated information can be viewed in a number of ways. If the edition is unpublished you will have access to the Skj B version of the text with a range of contextual information provided by the new project. This includes manuscripts and images in most cases, information on the prose context(s) of the stanza.

If the stanza has been edited and published you will find a number of tabs representing different views and information about the stanza.

  • The default view (edition) shows the text, prose word order and translation, with a list of manuscripts
  • The interactive view shows the text and translation and some annotations. The prose order can be viewed by an animated transition from the verse order, showing the complexity of skaldic syntax. The textual and critical apparatus can be otherwise viewed by pop-up links to individual words in the stanza.
  • The full text view shows the edition of the stanza in the same format as the printed edition
  • Transcriptions lists the entered diplomatic text (transcriptions) of the stanza for some or all of the manuscripts
  • The superseded edition (old edition), normally Skj, is also available
  • All machine-readable references to and from the stanza are listed under references.

Browsing the concordances of poetic diction (kennings and heiti)

The kenning index is initially based on Meissner’s index, with his referents translated into English. As verse is entered into the database kennings are automatically indexed to this list of referents, with supplementation of the original list. Additionally, some kennings refer to named individuals (historical, legendary or mythological) and these are indexed separately. There are therefore a few ways of accessing the index of kennings:


  • The ‘kenning referents’ list contains all referents in the database, whether used by the edition or not. There is another listing here of referents grouped according to Meissner’s categories.
  • The ‘kennings’ list contains all referents used by the edition as currently entered in the database. There are three listings here: the unnormalised referents as they appear in the edition (e.g. BATTLE, BATTLES); named referents of kennings (e.g. Óláfr Tryggvason, Óðinn), and normalised kennings according to Meissner’s categories (e.g. §81. battle). The last of these listings has not been reviewed and may contain errors; the others have been reviewed where the verses referred to have been published.
The index of heiti contains all references to beings and other categories that have been glossed as heiti in the edition (these appear in angled brackets). Heiti referring to named individuals are listed first, preceded by ‘=’. As with kennings, these have been reviewed where the verse referred to has been published.


Finding and viewing manuscript pages and transcriptions

Images of manuscript pages and transcriptions of stanzas are accessible when you view individual stanzas, normally in the list of manuscripts at the bottom right of the page. Images are linked according to a small icon .

When selected, the manuscript image view will give a medium-sized image of the relevant page with thumbnails of other images of the same page. Some users may be able to view full-sized images of the page — a link will appear where these are available. A full listing of stanzas that are on the page appears on the left hand side. In some cases these will be marked on the image itself.

Transcriptions may also be available; the aim is to have all main mss of stanzas transcribed and published. Where available a small icon will appear in the manuscript listing. (Transcriptions may not have been reviewed and may contain errors.)

Viewing manuscript context

Clicking on a manuscript siglum which contains a link will give information on the manuscript, including all stanzas in the manuscript, all prose works and all available images.

This view allows users to see what other materials are present in each manuscript of skaldic poetry.

Manuscripts may also be searched and browsed by using the ‘manuscripts’ menu item.

Viewing prose context

As with manuscripts, clicking on a siglum for a prose work will show information about that work, including other poetry in the work, manuscripts and information from volume introductions about it, allowing users to see the relationship between the poetry and its prose context.

Prose works can also be searched and browsed using the ‘texts’ menu item.



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This service is only available to members of the relevant projects, and to purchasers of the skaldic volumes published by Brepols.
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