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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to Sturl Hákfl 5II

[1-4]: (a) In the present edn skýs ógnar ‘of the cloud of terror’ (i.e. ‘of the shield’) (l. 3; so E, F, 42ˣ, 81a) is taken as a qualifier for meginsveitum ‘with the main forces’ (l. 4). For comparable constructions, see herdróttum svanteigar ‘war-bands of the swan-field’ (Sturl Hrafn 11/6, 8), herskatnar vegs ‘war-men of honour’ (Hrafn 13/7, 8), sveit sverða ‘company of swords’ (Hrafn 17/2, 3), virðar hrings ‘men of the sword’ (Hrafn 18/2, 4). The Flat variant, yss gerðiz ‘tumult erupted’, is unmetrical because position 4 in an E3 l. cannot be occupied by a prep. (here: í ‘in’; see Gade 1995a, 76, 82-5). Both Skj B and Skald adopt the Flat variants yss gerðiz ‘tumult erupted’ (l. 3) and slag ‘battle’ (l. 4). Both also silently emend Ribbungum (dat. pl.) (l. 2) to Ribbunga (gen. pl.) against all mss and construe it with meginsveitum ‘the main forces of the Ribbungar’. (b) Skj B gives the following reading: Ríkr hlenna hneykir gaf meginsveitum Ribbunga eitt slag þrungit í Óslu; yss gerðiz her translated as Den mægtige røverstraffer gav Ribbungernes hovedskarer et slemt nederlag i Oslo; der opstod tummel i hæren ‘The powerful punisher of robbers gave the main forces of the Ribbungar a serious defeat in Oslo; tumult erupted in the army’. (c) Kock (NN §1365) follows Skj B but objects correctly to Finnur’s separation of her lit.‘army’ and þrungit ‘oppressive’. Instead, he takes her- as an intensifier, an interpretation which has been adopted in the present edn.


  1. Bibliography
  2. Skj B = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1912-15b. Den norsk-islandske skjaldedigtning. B: Rettet tekst. 2 vols. Copenhagen: Villadsen & Christensen. Rpt. 1973. Copenhagen: Rosenkilde & Bagger.
  3. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  4. NN = Kock, Ernst Albin. 1923-44. Notationes Norrœnæ: Anteckningar till Edda och skaldediktning. Lunds Universitets årsskrift new ser. 1. 28 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  5. Gade, Kari Ellen. 1995a. The Structure of Old Norse dróttkvætt Poetry. Islandica 49. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.
  6. Internal references
  7. Not published: do not cite (GrHj Lv 1IV)
  8. Not published: do not cite (GrHj Lv 2IV)
  9. Not published: do not cite (GrHj Lv 3IV)
  10. Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2009, ‘Sturla Þórðarson, Hrafnsmál 11’ 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, p. 736.


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