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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Óláfsdrápa sœnska — Ótt ÓldrIII

Óttarr svarti

Matthew Townend 2017, ‘(Introduction to) Óttarr svarti, Óláfsdrápa sœnska’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 335.

 

Óttarr svarti’s poem Óláfsdrápa sœnskaDrápa about Óláfr the Swede’ (Ótt Óldr) in praise of Óláfr Eiríksson, king of Sweden, is preserved only in Skm (SnE); however, ÓHLeg, ÓH and Hkr contain accounts of Óttarr’s time in Sweden (ÓHLeg 1982, 130; ÓH 1941, II, 688; ÍF 27, 90-2), and he is listed in Skáldatal as one of Óláfr’s poets (SnE 1848-87, III, 252, 260, 271). Óláfr reigned from the mid 990s to 1022, but the saga accounts, if they can be trusted, would place Óttarr’s time in Sweden as c. 1017-18. However, the date of the poem could really be any time up to Óláfr’s death in 1022. Óttarr’s poem is composed in the metre known as hálfhnept ‘half-curtailed’ (see SnSt Ht 77, Faulkes in SnE 2007, 88-9 and the General Introduction in SkP I, lxiii), and some lines (cf. sts 1/4, 2/2, 5/2, 4 and 6/4) are not hálfhnept but alhnept ‘completely curtailed’ (SnSt Ht 78); hálfhnept is a metre for which Irish influence has been suggested (Einar Ólafur Sveinsson 1976). The title in Skj and Skald, Óláfsdrápa sœnska, is purely editorial, as no title is given in the mss. The poem consists of six half-stanzas, and preservation only in Skm means that the order of stanzas must be more uncertain than usual for a royal encomium. The order adopted here differs from that of Skj and Skald (both of which give the stanzas in the order of (our) sts 1, 5, 2, 4, 3, 6) and assumes the following sequence: (1) the poet’s call for a hearing (present tense); (2) the king’s youth (past tense); (3) a storm/battle stanza (past tense); (4) a battle stanza (present tense); (5) the king’s marriage to the land (present tense); and (6) a summary of the current situation (present tense). This ordering, which assumes a movement from past-tense to present-tense narration, is offered only tentatively, however, and other sequences are certainly possible (Fidjestøl 1982, 171). Mss R, and C contain all six stanzas, B (represented by 744ˣ) has sts 1-5, A has sts 3-4 and 6, and U has sts 1-2. Ms. R is chosen as base ms. for this edition, except for st. 3 where A is used since R preserves only two lines of the stanza. All stanzas are attributed to Óttarr svarti (sts 1-2, 5) or just to Óttarr (sts 3-4, 6).

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. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  4. Fidjestøl, Bjarne. 1982. Det norrøne fyrstediktet. Universitet i Bergen Nordisk institutts skriftserie 11. Øvre Ervik: Alvheim & Eide.
  5. ÓH 1941 = Johnsen, Oscar Albert and Jón Helgason, eds. 1941. Saga Óláfs konungs hins helga: Den store saga om Olav den hellige efter pergamenthåndskrift i Kungliga biblioteket i Stockholm nr. 2 4to med varianter fra andre håndskrifter. 2 vols. Det norske historiske kildeskriftfond skrifter 53. Oslo: Dybwad.
  6. ÓHLeg 1982 = Heinrichs, Anne et al., eds and trans. 1982. Olafs saga hins helga: Die ‘Legendarische Saga’ über Olaf den Heiligen (Hs. Delagard. saml. nr. 8II). Heidelberg: Winter.
  7. ÍF 26-8 = Heimskringla. Ed. Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson. 1941-51.
  8. SkP I = Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 1: From Mythical Times to c. 1035. Ed. Diana Whaley. 2012.
  9. SnE 2007 = Snorri Sturluson. 2007. Edda: Háttatal. Ed. Anthony Faulkes. 2nd edn. University College London: Viking Society for Northern Research.
  10. Einar Ólafur Sveinsson. 1976. ‘An Old Irish Verse Form Wandering in the North’. In Almqvist et al. 1976, 141-52.
  11. Internal references
  12. 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].
  13. 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].
  14. Diana Whaley 2012, ‘The Legendary Saga of S. Óláfr / Helgisaga Óláfs konungs Haraldssonar (ÓHLeg)’ 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. clxxiii.
  15. Diana Whaley 2012, ‘The Separate Saga of S. Óláfr / Óláfs saga helga in sérstaka (ÓH)’ 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. clxxvi-clxxix.
  16. Not published: do not cite (SkmIII)
  17. Matthew Townend 2017, ‘(Biography of) Óttarr svarti’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 335.
  18. Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2017, ‘Snorri Sturluson, Háttatal 77’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 1188.
  19. Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2017, ‘Snorri Sturluson, Háttatal 78’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 1189.
  20. Not published: do not cite ()
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