Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Heil 10VII

Kirsten Wolf (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Heilagra manna drápa 10’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 879-80.

Anonymous PoemsHeilagra manna drápa

Dýrðar læt* eg dásemd verðan
Díonísíum guðs vin prísað;
heilagan gerði hinn hæsti Paulus
hann af einum villumanni.
Clémens páfi guðspjalls geymi
Gallíam bauð að kristna alla;
fekk hann það með frægð og lukku,
að Frakkar sneruz til drottins þakka.

Eg læt* prísað Díonísíum, guðs vin, verðan dásemd dýrðar; hinn hæsti Paulus gerði hann heilagan af einum villumanni. Clémens páfi bauð {geymi guðspjalls} að kristna alla Gallíam; með frægð og lukku fekk hann það, að Frakkar sneruz til þakka drottins.

I praise Dionysius, God’s friend, to be [who is] a marvel of glory; the highest Paul turned him into a holy man from a heretic. Pope Clement asked {the guardian of the Gospel} [HOLY MAN] to convert all of Gaul to Christianity; with fame and luck he brought it about that the Franks turned to thanks to [lit. of] the Lord.

Mss: 720a VI(1v), 399a-bˣ

Readings: [1] læt* eg: lætr 720a VI    [5] geymi: so 399a‑bˣ, geymir 720a VI    [6] Gallíam: so 399a‑bˣ, Gallam 720a VI    [8] þakka: ‘[...] kka’ 720a VI, (þa)kka 399a‑bˣ

Editions: Skj AII, 513, Skj BII, 565, Skald II, 309, NN §§1767, 1770, 2889; Kahle 1898, 92, 112.

Notes: [All]: Sts 10-13 celebrate S. Dionysius (Denis or Denys), bishop of Paris, d. c. 250, for a long time regarded as the patron saint of France. According to Gregory of Tours (Krusch 1937, 23) he is supposed to have been sent into Gaul as a missionary by Pope Clement I (active c. 96 AD; on his cult in Scandinavia see Hofmann 1997 and Carron 2005) and to have been beheaded a few years later at Montmartre, along with a priest named Rusticus and a deacon, Eleutherius. Two fragments of a Dionysius saga are preserved in late ON mss (Unger 1877, I, 312-22, Widding, Bekker-Nielsen and Shook 1963, 307; Foote 1962, 22). S. Dionysius was co-patron of churches at Engey (C14th) and Reykholt, and co-patron of the altar at Viðey monastery (Cormack 1994, 93). — [1] Eg læt* ‘I praise’: Lætr (so 720a VI) is 3rd pers. sg. and a 1st pers. verb (as also in sts 4, 5 and 25) is required here. The emendation proposed by Skj B is followed here. Verðan in l. 1 qualifies Díonísíum (l. 2) and dásemd agrees with them in case (acc.) and gender. — [3-4] hinn hæsti Paulus gerði hann heilagan af einum villumanni ‘the highest Paul turned him into a holy man from a heretic’: Cf. Acts XVII.34, where there is a reference to S. Paul converting various sceptics, including Dionysius the Areopagite, who was confused in medieval hagiography with Dionysius of Paris. — [8] (inf. marker) ‘to’: See Note to st. 6/6.


  1. Bibliography
  2. Unger, C. R., ed. 1877. Heilagra manna søgur. Fortællinger og legender om hellige mænd og kvinder. 2 vols. Christiania (Oslo): Bentzen.
  3. Skj B = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1912-15b. Den norsk-islandske skjaldedigtning. B: Rettet tekst. 2 vols. Copenhagen: Villadsen & Christensen. Rpt. 1973. Copenhagen: Rosenkilde & Bagger.
  4. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  5. NN = Kock, Ernst Albin. 1923-44. Notationes Norrœnæ: Anteckningar till Edda och skaldediktning. Lunds Universitets årsskrift new ser. 1. 28 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  6. Carron, Helen, ed. and trans. 2005. Clemens saga: The Life of St Clement of Rome. University College London: Viking Society for Northern Research.
  7. Cormack, Margaret. 1994. The Saints in Iceland: Their Veneration from the Conversion to 1400. Studia Hagiographica 78. Brussels: Société des Bollandistes.
  8. Foote, Peter G., ed. 1962. Lives of Saints. Perg. fol. nr. 2 in the Royal Library, Stockholm. EIM 4.
  9. Kahle, Bernhard, ed. 1898. Isländische geistliche Dichtungen des ausgehenden Mittelalters. Heidelberg: Winter.
  10. Krusch, Bruno, ed. 1937. Gregorii Episcopi Turonensis Historiarum Libri X. Monumenta Germaniae Historica, Scriptores Rerum Merovingicarum Vol. I. Part I, Fasc. 1. Hannover: Hahn.

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