Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Heil 11VII

Kirsten Wolf (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Heilagra manna drápa 11’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 880-1.

Anonymous PoemsHeilagra manna drápa

Dýrðarmann kvað dauða verðan
Dómiciánus kóngr af Róma;
Rustícum fyr Jésú ástir
Elutéríum bauð að kvelja.
Lifnaðar smiðr í loganda ofni
leingi stóð og sakaði eingu;
næri hafði níu tigi ára
náðar valdr, er þrautir háði.

Dómiciánus, kóngr af Róma, kvað dýrðarmann dauða verðan; bauð að kvelja Rustícum Elutéríum fyr ástir Jésú. {Smiðr lifnaðar} stóð leingi í loganda ofni og sakaði eingu; {valdr náðar} hafði næri níu tigi ára, er háði þrautir.

Domicianus, king of Rome, declared the glorious man deserving of death; he commanded Rusticus [and] Elutherius to be tormented for their love of Jesus. {The smith of the [good] life} [HOLY MAN = Dionysius] stood for a long time in a burning oven and suffered no harm; {the possessor of mercy} [HOLY MAN = Dionysius] was almost ninety years old, when he engaged in his struggles.

Mss: 720a VI(1v), 399a-bˣ

Readings: [4] Elutéríum: with ‘Elueirtum’ in margin 399a‑bˣ    [7] tigi: ‘t[...]’ 720a VI, tigum 399a‑bˣ    [8] náðar: ‘na[...]ar’ 720a VI, náð 399a‑bˣ;    valdr: hardly visible 720a VI, fullum 399a‑bˣ

Editions: Skj AII, 513, Skj BII, 565, Skald II, 310; Kahle 1898, 93, 112.

Notes: [5] smiðr lifnaðar ‘smith of the [good] life’: The reference is to Dionysius, though LP: lifnaðr identifies the referent of this kenning as Rusticus, while Kahle (1898, 117), who expresses uncertainty, indentifies it as Elutherius. The prose saga, however, states clearly that it was Dionysius who was tortured in a burning oven (þa let greifinn kynda ofn gloanda ok kastadi þangat Dionisio ‘then the count had a burning oven heated and threw Dionysius into it’, Unger 1877, I, 317). Dionysius is also the referent of the second kenning (l. 8), as the saga refers to him on several occasions as enn forni karl ‘the old fellow’. — [8] er háði þrautir ‘when he engaged in his struggles’: That is, when he was martyred. Cf. 9/7-8.


  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. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  4. LP = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1931. Lexicon poeticum antiquæ linguæ septentrionalis: Ordbog over det norsk-islandske skjaldesprog oprindelig forfattet af Sveinbjörn Egilsson. 2nd edn. Copenhagen: Møller.
  5. Kahle, Bernhard, ed. 1898. Isländische geistliche Dichtungen des ausgehenden Mittelalters. Heidelberg: Winter.

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