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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Vǫlu-Steinn — VStIII


Vol. 3, 427 —  — ed. Edith Marold



Edith Marold 2017, ‘(Biography of) Vǫlu-Steinn’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 427.

The only sources on the life of the poet Vǫlu-Steinn (VSt) are references to him in Landnámabók (Ldn, ÍF 1, 160, 184, 186). He does not appear in Skáldatal, probably because he did not compose poems for any rulers or magnates. According to Ldn (ÍF 1, 186), Vǫlu-Steinn came to Iceland from Hålogaland, Norway, together with his mother Þuríðr sundafyllir ‘Filler of Waterways’ and claimed land in Bolungarvík in the western fjords, presumably around 960. The mother is portrayed as a woman skilled in magic, and her nickname derives from her having magically filled the waters in Hålogaland with fish during a famine there. Her son, Vǫlu-Steinn, must have received his name because he was the son of a vǫlva ‘seeress, sorceress’ (Konráð Gíslason 1874, 25; Guðmundur Þorláksson 1882, 72; Olsen 1916b, 240; LH I, 510). All that remains of his poetry are the two helmingar preserved and attributed to him in Skm (SnE).


  1. Bibliography
  2. ÍF 1 (parts 1 and 2) = Íslendingabók; Landnámabók. Ed. Jakob Benediktsson. 1968. Rpt. as one volume 1986.
  3. LH = Finnur Jónsson. 1920-4. Den oldnorske og oldislandske litteraturs historie. 3 vols. 2nd edn. Copenhagen: Gad.
  4. Guðmundur Þorláksson. 1882. Udsigt over de norsk-islandske skjalde fra 9de til 14de århundrede. SUGNL 8. Copenhagen: Møller.
  5. Konráð Gíslason. 1874. Om navnet Ýmir. Det Kongelige Danske Videnskabernes Selskabs skrifter, ser. 5. Historisk og filosofisk afdeling IV, 11. Copenhagen: Luno.
  6. Olsen, Magnus. 1916b. ‘Om troldruner’. Edda 5, 225-45.
  7. Internal references
  8. Edith Marold 2017, ‘Snorra Edda (Prologue, Gylfaginning, Skáldskaparmál)’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols [check printed volume for citation].
  9. Not published: do not cite (LdnIV)
  10. Not published: do not cite (SkmIII)
  11. Not published: do not cite ()

other information

Vǫlu-Steinn (VSt)

10th century

Skj AI, 98-99; BI, 93

volume 3

main editor: Edith Marold


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