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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Arn Magndr 9II

Diana Whaley (ed.) 2009, ‘Arnórr jarlaskáld Þórðarson, Magnússdrápa 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, p. 218.

Arnórr jarlaskáld ÞórðarsonMagnússdrápa

Fúss lét á Ré ræsir
rammþing háit Glamma;
valska rauð fyr víðu
Vestlandi gramr branda.

Ræsir lét fúss {rammþing Glamma} háit á Ré; gramr rauð valska branda fyr víðu Vestlandi.

The ruler, eager, caused {a mighty encounter of Glammi <sea-king>} [BATTLE] to be held at Rügen; the sovereign reddened Frankish blades off broad Vestland.

Mss: (512v), 39(16vb), F(40rb), E(8r), J2ˣ(251r) (Hkr); H(7r), H(10r), Hr(7vb), Hr(10ra) (H-Hr); Flat(190vb) (Flat)

Readings: [1] Ré: ‘ræ’ Hr(7vb), Flat;    ræsir: ‘hræsir’ H(7r)    [2] ramm‑: rym‑ H(10r), Hr(10ra);    ‑þing: ‑þings F;    háit: so 39, F, H(7r), Hr(10ra), hátt Kˣ, E, J2ˣ, H(10r), Hr(7vb), Flat;    Glamma: gamma 39, F, glymja H(10r), Hr(10ra), gamla Flat    [3] valska rauð: virðum rautt H(7r), Flat, ‘valska hraunn’ H(10r), Hr(10ra), virðum rauð Hr(7vb);    víðu: om. F, riðu Flat    [4] Vestlandi: Vindlandi H(7r), Vinlandi Hr(7vb), Flat, veldi Hr(10ra)

Editions: Skj AI, 340, Skj BI, 313, Skald I, 159; Hkr 1893-1901, III, 51, ÍF 28, 46, Hkr 1991, 586 (Mgóð ch. 29), F 1871, 184, E 1916, 26; Fms 6, 55, 75 (Mgóð chs 28, 37), Fms 12, 133; Flat 1860-8, III, 275, Andersson and Gade 2000, 115, 469 (MH); Whaley 1998, 199-201. 

Context: In Hkr and the second citation in H-Hr, it is said that the st. refers to a battle between Magnús, the victor of Lyrskovshede (Hlýrskógsheiðr), and Sveinn Úlfsson. They engage fyrir Vestlandi á Ré ‘off Vestland on Rügen’ (Hkr) or fyrir vestan Aren ‘west of Aren’ (H-Hr). After the battle Sveinn flees to Skåne (Skáney) and Magnús returns to Jylland. In Flat and the first citation in H-Hr, the setting is quite different: a chance encounter in which Magnús, returning to Denmark from Wollin (Jóm) before the battle of Lyrskovshede triumphs over a large Viking fleet fyrir Ré á Vestlandi ‘off Rügen in Vestland’ (H) or fyrir Vestland ‘off Vestland’ (Hr).

Notes: [All]: H-Hr represents two textual traditions here. In the first instance, H-Hr (and Flat) copies Mork (Mork has a lacuna here) and in the second instance, H-Hr copies Hkr. — [1] ‘Rügen’: The phrase á Ré suggests that the fighting was on land. The tradition of a sea-battle recorded in Flat and H-Hr (Fms 6, 55) may rest on a false assumption that fyr ... Vestlandi ‘off Vestland’ in ll. 3-4 refers to the fighting rather than to the island of Rügen (see Note to st. 9/4 below). On the other hand, the account of the occasion of the battle in these two sources (above) is, because of the location of Rügen, more plausible than that in Hkr and H-Hr (Fms 6, 75); see Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson, ÍF 28, 46 n. — [2] háit ‘caused to be held’: Háit is the older, and hátt the younger, form of the n. sg. p. p. from the verb heyja. The disyllabic háit is required by the metre. The use of the verb with the battle-kenning rammþing Glamma ‘a mighty assembly of Glammi’ plays on the legal phrase heyja þing ‘hold an assembly’; there are precedents for this in the work of Sigvatr Þórðarson and others. — [3] valska ‘Frankish’: Or perhaps more broadly ‘southern, foreign’ (see Falk 1914, 40). The variant virðum (m. dat. pl.) ‘men’ would also give good sense: ‘the ruler reddened blades on men’. — [4] Vestlandi ‘Vestland’: This is, judging from LP, a unique record of this p. n. The prep. fyr ‘off, before’ is compatible with the surmise that Vestland is a coastal area, either on the island of Rügen, as assumed in LP, or on the mainland opposite (modern western Pomerania), as assumed by Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson, index to ÍF 28. The epithet víðr ‘broad’ (here dat. sg. víðu) is somewhat conventional (see LP entry, also for breiðr), but if it has literal significance here and if the battle was fought on land, it would point to Vestland having been on the mainland rather than on the small island of Rügen.


  1. Bibliography
  2. Fms = Sveinbjörn Egilsson et al., eds. 1825-37. Fornmanna sögur eptir gömlum handritum útgefnar að tilhlutun hins norræna fornfræða fèlags. 12 vols. Copenhagen: Popp.
  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. 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.
  6. Whaley, Diana, ed. and trans. 1998. The Poetry of Arnórr jarlaskáld: An Edition and Study. Westfield Publications in Medieval Studies 8. Turnhout: Brepols.
  7. Falk, Hjalmar, ed. 1914a. Sólarljóð. Videnskapsselskapets skrifter II. Hist.-filos. kl. 7. 2 vols. Kristiania (Oslo): Dybwad.
  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. ÍF 26-8 = Heimskringla. Ed. Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson. 1941-51.
  10. Hkr 1893-1901 = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1893-1901. Heimskringla: Nóregs konunga sǫgur af Snorri Sturluson. 4 vols. SUGNL 23. Copenhagen: Møller.
  11. Hkr 1991 = Bergljót S. Kristjánsdóttir et al., eds. 1991. Heimskringla. 3 vols. Reykjavík: Mál og menning.
  12. F 1871 = Unger, C. R., ed. 1871. Fríssbók: Codex Frisianus. En samling af norske konge-sagaer. Christiania (Oslo): Malling.
  13. E 1916 = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1916. Eirspennill: AM 47 fol. Nóregs konunga sǫgur: Magnús góði – Hákon gamli. Kristiania (Oslo): Den norske historiske kildeskriftskommission.
  14. Internal references
  15. 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].
  16. 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.
  17. 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].
  18. 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].
  19. Not published: do not cite (MHII)
  20. Judith Jesch 2017, ‘(Biography of) Sigvatr Þórðarson’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 347.

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