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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to Sigv Knútdr 1I

[1] Ellu ‘Ælla’: Ælla briefly reigned as king of Northumbria in 867 before being killed the same year during the fall of York to the viking army (see ASC s. a.). In skaldic poetry, and later saga prose, this obscure figure comes to function as a defining ancestor for the Anglo-Saxon royal house, and the English more generally: see the kennings kind Ellu ‘the offspring of Ælla [= Englishmen]’ in Sigv Víkv 7/7, niðr Ellu ‘the descendant of Ælla [= Æthelstan]’ in Egill Aðdr 1/2V (Eg 21) and ættleifð Ellu ‘the inheritance of Ælla [= England]’ in Hallv Knútdr 3/5-6III. Sigvatr is thus framing Knútr’s conquest of England by reference to Ívarr’s earlier defeat of Ælla; see further Townend (1997) and Kries (2003).


  1. Bibliography
  2. ASC [Anglo-Saxon Chronicle] = Plummer, Charles and John Earle, eds. 1892-9. Two of the Saxon Chronicles Parallel. 2 vols. Oxford: Clarendon. Rpt. 1952.
  3. Townend, Matthew. 1997. ‘Ella: An Old English Name in Old Norse Poetry’. Nomina 20, 23-35.
  4. Kries, Susanne. 2003. ‘“Westward I Came Across the Sea”: Anglo-Scandinavian History through Scandinavian Eyes’. Leeds Studies in English new ser. 34, 47-76.
  5. Internal references
  6. Not published: do not cite (Egill Aðdr 1V (Eg 21))
  7. Matthew Townend (ed.) 2017, ‘Hallvarðr háreksblesi, Knútsdrápa 3’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 233.
  8. 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.


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