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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Arn Hardr 9II

Diana Whaley (ed.) 2009, ‘Arnórr jarlaskáld Þórðarson, Haraldsdrápa 9’ 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, pp. 270-1.

Arnórr jarlaskáld ÞórðarsonHaraldsdrápa

Gagn fekk gjǫfvinr Sygna
— gekk hildr at mun — vildra,
hinns á hæl fyr mǫnnum
hreinskjaldaðr fór aldri.
Dunðu jarlar undan
— eir fekka lið þeira —
— mannkyn hefr at minnum
morgun þann — til borgar.

{Gjǫfvinr vildra Sygna} fekk gagn, hinns hreinskjaldaðr fór aldri á hæl fyr mǫnnum; hildr gekk at mun. Jarlar dunðu undan til borgar; lið þeira fekka eir; mannkyn hefr þann morgun at minnum.

{The gift-friend of prized Sygnir} [NORWEGIAN KING = Haraldr] gained victory, he who, bright-shielded, never took to his heels before men; the battle went to his wish. The earls thundered away to the stronghold; their troop did not receive mercy; the race of men holds that morning in memory.

Mss: Mork(18v) (Mork); Flat(203va) (Flat); H(74r), Hr(53ra) (H-Hr)

Readings: [1] gjǫf‑: gjaf‑ Flat, H, Hr;    ‑vinr: ‘‑vínnr’ Hr;    Sygna: ‘syggnía’ Flat    [3] hæl: so all others, hel Mork    [4] ‑skjaldaðr: so Hr, skaldar Mork, Flat, H    [5] Dunðu: so Flat, dynðu all others;    undan: so all others, undar Mork    [7] hefr (‘hefir’): so all others, ‘[...]’ Mork    [8] morgun: morgin Hr

Editions: Skj AI, 351, Skj BI, 324, Skald I, 164, NN §1135; Mork 1928-32, 270, Andersson and Gade 2000, 267, 481 (MH); Flat 1860-8, III, 391 (MH); Fms 6, 409 (HSig ch. 115), Fms 12, 164; Whaley 1998, 284-5. 

Context: In Mork and Flat, the st. follows sts 7 and 8 directly. In H-Hr, it is prefaced by a few summary comments about the battle, including the statement that Earl Waltheof (Valþjófr), with the Engl. survivors, fled to the stronghold at York.

Notes: [1, 2] gjǫfvinr vildra Sygna ‘the gift-friend of prized Sygnir [NORWEGIAN KING = Haraldr]’: The variant gjafvinr would be equally acceptable; either reading is a hap. leg. The Sygnir are the people of Sogn, the district around Sognefjorden in western Norway. Skj B takes vildra as a comp. adj. qualifying n. acc. sg. gagn, hence ‘a better victory’, which is possible but assumes a more disjointed w. o. (and see NN §1135) — [4] hreinskjaldaðr ‘bright-shielded’: I.e. equipped with a bright shield. (a) Although a hap. leg., the Hr reading hreinskjaldaðr resembles the phrase hreinir þremir randa ‘shining rims of shields’ (SnSt Ht 8/7, 8III) and the adjectival past participles skjaldaðr and fagrskjaldaðr ‘equipped with a (beautiful) shield’, and makes excellent sense as an epithet qualifying hinn ‘he’, i.e. Haraldr. This reading is adopted here, as in Skj B and Skald. (b) However, it is possible that hreinskjaldaðr is a happy emendation by the scribe of Hr, and that hreinskjaldar ‘of the bright shield’ is the original reading. It is the lectio difficilior, and has the stronger ms. support, but it is difficult to place within the syntax of the helmingr. The possible constructions are gagn hreinskjaldar ‘victory of the bright shield’, hildr hreinskjaldar ‘battle of the bright shield’ and fyr mǫnnum hreinskjaldar ‘before the men of the bright shield’ (presumably ‘warriors’), but none of these expressions can be paralleled. — [5] jarlar ‘the earls’: The Engl. earls are named in the ASC as Morcere and Eadwine (versions C, D and E, s. a. 1066), but in Norse prose sources as Morcere (Mǫrukári) and, erroneously, Waltheof (Valþjófr). — [8] til borgar ‘to the stronghold’: This is York (Jórvík). Fulford, the site of the battle, lies about two miles downriver from the city.


  1. Bibliography
  2. Skj B = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1912-15b. Den norsk-islandske skjaldedigtning. B: Rettet tekst. 2 vols. Copenhagen: Villadsen & Christensen. Rpt. 1973. Copenhagen: Rosenkilde & Bagger.
  3. Fms = Sveinbjörn Egilsson et al., eds. 1825-37. Fornmanna sögur eptir gömlum handritum útgefnar að tilhlutun hins norræna fornfræða fèlags. 12 vols. Copenhagen: Popp.
  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. Andersson, Theodore M. and Kari Ellen Gade, trans. 2000. Morkinskinna: The Earliest Icelandic Chronicle of the Norwegian Kings (1030-1157). Islandica 51. Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press.
  7. Whaley, Diana, ed. and trans. 1998. The Poetry of Arnórr jarlaskáld: An Edition and Study. Westfield Publications in Medieval Studies 8. Turnhout: Brepols.
  8. Flat 1860-8 = Gudbrand Vigfusson [Guðbrandur Vigfússon] and C. R. Unger, eds. 1860-8. Flateyjarbók. En samling af norske konge-sagaer med indskudte mindre fortællinger om begivenheder i og udenfor Norge samt annaler. 3 vols. Christiania (Oslo): Malling.
  9. Mork 1928-32 = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1928-32. Morkinskinna. SUGNL 53. Copenhagen: Jørgensen.
  10. ASC [Anglo-Saxon Chronicle] = Plummer, Charles and John Earle, eds. 1892-9. Two of the Saxon Chronicles Parallel. 2 vols. Oxford: Clarendon. Rpt. 1952.
  11. Internal references
  12. Diana Whaley 2012, ‘Flateyjarbók (Flat)’ 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. clxi-clxii.
  13. Kari Ellen Gade 2009, ‘Hulda and Hrokkinskinna (H-Hr)’ 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. Kari Ellen Gade 2009, ‘Morkinskinna (Mork)’ 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].
  15. Not published: do not cite (HSigII)
  16. Not published: do not cite (MHII)
  17. Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2017, ‘Snorri Sturluson, Háttatal 8’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 1112.

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