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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Poem about Hákon — Þjsk HákI

Þorleifr jarlsskáld Rauðfeldarson

Kate Heslop 2012, ‘(Introduction to) Þorleifr jarlsskáld Rauðfeldarson, Poem about Hákon’ 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. 369.

 

One whole stanza and one helmingr (Þjsk Hák) address conventionally hyperbolic praise to Hákon jarl Sigurðarson (r. c. 970- c. 995) for his military successes, and are attributed to Þorleifr in various texts. They have been assigned by editors to an otherwise lost poem for Hákon, dated to the late tenth century, and this arrangement (though not the editorial title Hákonardrápa) has been retained here since Þorleifr is clearly listed as Hákon’s skald in Skáldatal (see Biography of Þorleifr). However, the fragments are puzzling given the bitter enmity which characterises their relationship in ÞorlJ. Earlier editors have therefore posited (a) that two sets of Þorleifr skalds and Hákon jarls have been confused (Guðbrandur Vigfússon 1856, 391-2; this idea has not found favour); (b) that good relations initially existed between the two but later broke down (Nj 1875-8, II, 283-4 n. 253; Finnur Jónsson, LH I, 538, though the visit to Norway in the 980s described by Finnur is pure speculation); or (c) that these stanzas should instead be assigned to the first part of Þorleifr’s níð against Hákon (Þjsk Jarl). The last suggestion, made by Almqvist (1965-74, I, 197), is based on the account of ÞorlJ (ÍF 9, 222), which says about Þorleifr’s níð: Þá hefr karl upp kvæðit ok kveðr framan til miðs, ok þykkir jarli lof í hverri vísu ok finnr, at þar er getit ok í framaverka Eiríks, sonar hans ‘Then the old man [Þorleifr in disguise] begins the poem and recites it up to the halfway point, and there seems to the jarl to be praise in every stanza, and he feels that the outstanding deeds of his son Eiríkr are mentioned there too’.

Some scholars (SnE 1848-87, III, 711; Ohlmarks 1958, 398-9) have claimed that the poem is about Hákon’s battle against the Jómsvíkingar at Hjǫrungavágr (Liavågen, c. 985); but see Megaard (1999, 49).

Stanza 1 is preserved in Hkr (Kˣ as main ms., F, J1ˣ, J2ˣ) and its first helmingr is in ÓT (61, 53, 54, Bb, Flat); st. 2 is only in TGT (A as main ms., W) and FoGT (W).

References

  1. Bibliography
  2. SnE 1848-87 = Snorri Sturluson. 1848-87. Edda Snorra Sturlusonar: Edda Snorronis Sturlaei. Ed. Jón Sigurðsson et al. 3 vols. Copenhagen: Legatum Arnamagnaeanum. Rpt. Osnabrück: Zeller, 1966.
  3. Nj 1875-89 = Konráð Gíslason and Eiríkur Jónsson. 1875-89. Njála: Udgivet efter gamle håndskrifter. Íslendingasögur udgivne efter gamle haandskrifter af Det Kongelige Nordiske Oldskrift-selskab 4. Copenhagen: Thiele.
  4. LH = Finnur Jónsson. 1920-4. Den oldnorske og oldislandske litteraturs historie. 3 vols. 2nd edn. Copenhagen: Gad.
  5. ÍF 9 = Eyfirðinga sǫgur. Ed. Jónas Kristjánsson. 1956.
  6. Megaard, John. 1999. ‘Hvor sto “Slaget i Hjǫrungavágr”? Jomsvikingeberetningens stedsnavn og Sæmundr fróði’. alv 9, 29-54.
  7. Ohlmarks, Åke. 1958. Tors skalder och Vite-Krists. Trosskiftestidens isländska furstelovskalder, 980-1013. Stockholm: Geber.
  8. Almqvist, Bo. 1965-74. Norrön niddiktning: Traditionshistoriska studier i versmagi. I: Nid mot furstar. II: Nid mot missionärer: Senmedeltid nidtraditioner. Stockholm: Almqvist & Wiksell.
  9. Internal references
  10. Kari Ellen Gade 2009, ‘Heimskringla (Hkr)’ 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 [check printed volume for citation].
  11. Tarrin Wills 2017, ‘The Third Grammatical Treatise’ 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].
  12. Margaret Clunies Ross 2017, ‘The Fourth Grammatical Treatise’ 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].
  13. Not published: do not cite (ÞorlJI)
  14. Diana Whaley 2012, ‘The Greatest Saga of Óláfr Tryggvason / Óláfs saga Tryggvasonar in mesta (ÓT)’ 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, pp. clxiii-clxvi.
  15. Kate Heslop 2012, ‘(Introduction to) Þorleifr jarlsskáld Rauðfeldarson, Jarlsníð’ 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. 372.
  16. Not published: do not cite ()
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