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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Bjbp Jóms 34I

Emily Lethbridge (ed.) 2012, ‘Bjarni byskup Kolbeinsson, Jómsvíkingadrápa 34’ 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. 989.

Bjarni byskup KolbeinssonJómsvíkingadrápa
333435

Þar lét Vígfúss verða
vegrœkinn Ásláki
— þann era þǫrf at segja
þátt — helfarar veittar.
Þorleifr of vann þjokkva
þrekstœrðum Hávarði
— hart vá hann með kylfu —
hǫggrammr brotit leggi.

Þar lét vegrœkinn Vígfúss helfarar verða veittar Ásláki; era þǫrf at segja þann þátt. Hǫggrammr Þorleifr of vann brotit þjokkva leggi þrekstœrðum Hávarði; hann vá hart með kylfu.

There, glory-cultivating Vígfúss caused the way to Hel to be granted to Áslákr; there is no need to relate that episode. Þorleifr, powerful with blows, broke the thick legs of the outstandingly strong Hávarðr; he fought hard with a club.

Mss: R(54r); 61(20rb), 53(16vb), 54(16va), Bb(27ra) (ÓT)

Readings: [3] segja: so 61, 53, 54, inna R, seggja Bb    [5] þjokkva: þykkva all others    [7] vá: so all others, lét R    [8] brotit leggi: so all others, ‘b(rotit legg)[...]’(?) R

Editions: Skj AII, 8, Skj BII, 8, Skald II, 5; Fms 11, 172-3, Fms 12, 246, Jvs 1879, 114-15; Fms 1, 177, Fms 12, 44, ÓT 1958-2000, I, 194 (ch. 90), Ólafur Halldórsson 2000, 30, 82. 

Context: The men on Eiríkr jarl’s ship are named and some details about them provided; one is the exceptionally strong Vígfúss Víga-Glúmsson. When Vígfúss sees Áslákr hólmskalli killing many men, he takes up a sharp-pointed anvil in both hands and strikes Áslákr in the head with it, killing him. Simultaneously, Þorleifr skúma beats Hávarðr hǫggvandi with a club until he falls with badly broken bones.

Notes: [1, 4] lét ... helfarar verða veittar ‘caused the way to Hel to be granted’: That is, Vígfúss killed Áslákr. The cpd helfǫr (here acc. pl. ‑farar) is unique. In Old Norse heathen belief, Hel was the realm of the dead and the monstrous daughter of Loki who presided over it, and hence ‘death’ in general; see LP: 1. hel, Hel, and see Turville-Petre (1964, 270-2) on journeys to the world of the dead. It is not clear whether hel in the present context alludes to the heathen belief, or to the Christian Hell, or a more neutral concept of death. — [1] Vígfúss: The Icelander Vígfúss Víga-Glúmsson (Vígf); see his Biography. He fights on the Norwegian side at Hjǫrungavágr (Liavågen), and is credited with Vígf Lv, which anticipates the battle. — [2] Ásláki ‘Áslákr’: A champion, nicknamed hólmskalli, on the side of the Jómsvíkingar; see Note to st. 13/5, 8. — [3] segja ‘relate’: The R reading inna ‘relate, perform’ works equally well in terms of sense, but it produces a skothending with vann in the odd line, which is not usual in Jóms; see Introduction. — [5] Þorleifr: The Icelander Þorleifr skúma Þorkelsson (Þskúm). The nickname skúma is obscure: see his Biography. Þorleifr fights for the Norwegians at Hjǫrungavágr and is credited with a fornyrðislag stanza (Þskúm Lv) in which he anticipates the damage his eikikylfa ‘oaken club’ will do to vikings and Danes. — [6] þrekstœrðum ‘outstandingly strong’: Lit. ‘strength-increased’. — [6] Hávarði ‘Hávarðr’: Another champion of the Jómsvíkingar; see Note to st. 13/5, 8. — [7] ‘fought’: The R reading lét could have arisen from a misunderstanding of the syntax. It would normally be an auxiliary meaning ‘caused’, with a p. p. or inf., and may have been taken with p. p. brotit ‘broken’ in l. 8, but this is governed by vann ‘caused, made’ in l. 5, hence vann brotit ‘broke’.

References

  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. Turville-Petre, Gabriel. 1964. Myth and Religion of the North. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson.
  6. ÓT 1958-2000 = Ólafur Halldórsson, ed. 1958-2000. Saga Óláfs Tryggvasonar en mesta. 3 vols. EA A 1-3. Copenhagen: Munksgaard (Reitzel).
  7. Jvs 1879 = Petersens, Carl af, ed. 1879. Jómsvíkinga saga (efter Cod. AM. 510, 4:to) samt Jómsvíkinga drápa. Lund: Gleerup.
  8. Ólafur Halldórsson. 2000. Danish Kings and the Jomsvikings in the Greatest Saga of Óláfr Tryggvason. London: Viking Society for Northern Research.
  9. Internal references
  10. Diana Whaley 2012, ‘(Biography of) Þorleifr skúma Þorkelsson’ 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. 358.
  11. Diana Whaley 2012, ‘(Biography of) Vígfúss Víga-Glúmsson’ 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. 361.
  12. Emily Lethbridge 2012, ‘(Introduction to) Bjarni byskup Kolbeinsson, Jómsvíkingadrápa’ 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. 954.
  13. Diana Whaley 2012, ‘(Introduction to) Þorleifr skúma Þorkelsson, Lausavísa’ 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. 359.
  14. Diana Whaley 2012, ‘(Introduction to) Vígfúss Víga-Glúmsson, Lausavísa’ 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. 364.
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