Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to Þjóð Yt 27I

[All]: In its praise of a ruler, the stanza differs decidedly from the other stanzas, and it clearly indicates that the poem was composed for Rǫgnvaldr. According to Yng (ÍF 26, 83, and Context above) Rǫgnvaldr was a son of Óláfr Geirstaðaálfr and hence, like Haraldr hárfagri, a grandson of Guðrøðr. This would find some support in the fact that Haraldr named one of his sons Rǫgnvaldr, possibly following the custom of naming a child after a recently deceased kinsman (Nerman 1914; Marold 1987, 83 n. 3). No trace of Rǫgnvaldr remains in other historical traditions, however, and this has led to diverse speculations. (a) Bugge (1894, 134-5) argues that Rǫgnvaldr was unrelated to Haraldr hárfagri. Believing that Yt was composed in Northumbria or in Ireland, he attempts to identify several kings who fell in those places as Rǫgnvaldr. (b) Wadstein (1895a, 80-2) attempts to show that the last stanza was composed for Haraldr hárfagri (already suggested by Guðbrandur Vigfússon in CPB I, 243). He takes rǫgnvaldr to be a noun meaning ‘the powerful ruler’ and views heiðumhárr as equivalent to hárfagri (‘Fair-hair’), which Bugge (1894, 163) convincingly refutes. (c) According to Bergsveinn Birgisson (2008, 410), Rǫgnvaldr may have been Reginfridus, son of the Danish king Godefridus.


  1. Bibliography
  2. CPB = Gudbrand Vigfusson [Guðbrandur Vigfússon] and F. York Powell, eds. 1883. Corpus poeticum boreale: The Poetry of the Old Northern Tongue from the Earliest Times to the Thirteenth Century. 2 vols. Oxford: Clarendon. Rpt. 1965, New York: Russell & Russell.
  3. ÍF 26-8 = Heimskringla. Ed. Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson. 1941-51.
  4. Wadstein, Elis. 1895a. ‘Bidrag till tolkning och belysning av skalde- ock Edda-dikter. I. Till tolkningen av Ynglingatal’. ANF 11, 64-92.
  5. Bergsveinn Birgisson. 2008. Inn i skaldens sinn: Kognitive, estetiske og historiske skatter i den norrøne skaldediktningen. Bergen: University of Bergen.
  6. Bugge, Sophus. 1894. Bidrag til den ældste skaldedigtnings historie. Christiania (Oslo): Aschehoug.
  7. Marold, Edith. 1987. ‘Die norwegische Reichseinigung und die Preislieddichtung’. In Groenke 1987, 59-105.
  8. Nerman, Birger. 1914. ‘Konung Ragnvald i Ynglingatal’. MM, 65-75.
  9. Internal references
  10. Not published: do not cite (YngII)
  11. Edith Marold with the assistance of Vivian Busch, Jana Krüger, Ann-Dörte Kyas and Katharina Seidel, translated from German by John Foulks 2012, ‘(Introduction to) Þjóðólfr ór Hvini, Ynglingatal’ 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. 3.


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