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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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ESk Geisl 12VII

Martin Chase (ed.) 2007, ‘Einarr Skúlason, Geisli 12’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 17.

Einarr SkúlasonGeisli
111213

Sigvatr ‘Sigvatr’

Sigvatr (noun m.): Sigvatr

notes

[1] Sigvatr: Sigvatr (or Sighvatr) Þórðarson was one of Óláfr Haraldsson’s favourite and most prolific court poets, composing sts about Óláfr’s battles and journeys, acting as his ambassador on several occasions, and composing an erfidrápa ‘memorial lay’ in honour of the king. He was born c. 1000 in the west of Iceland, the son of a poet, Þórðr Sigvaldaskáld, and the maternal uncle of another, Óttarr svarti (see Note to l. 4 below). Sigvatr also composed poetry for several other Scandinavian rulers. He died c. 1043 (see further Poole 1993a). Sigvatr’s poetry is edited in Volume I of this edn.

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sókn ‘of the battle’

sókn (noun f.; °-ar; -ir): attack, fight < sóknbráðr (adj.): [attack-swift]

[2] sóknbráðs: so Bb, sóknbráðr Flat

notes

[2] sóknbráðs (m. gen. sg.) ‘battle-quick’: The reading of Bb; if Flat’s sóknbráðr were adopted, the only possible referents for it would be Sigvatr and Óttarr. ‘Vehement in battle’ is an unlikely epithet for a skald, and it would be a breach of protocol for the only epithet in the helmingr to refer to a poet rather than to the king.

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bráðs ‘quick’

bráðr (adj.; °compar. -ari, superl. -astr): quick(ly) < sóknbráðr (adj.): [attack-swift]

[2] sóknbráðs: so Bb, sóknbráðr Flat

notes

[2] sóknbráðs (m. gen. sg.) ‘battle-quick’: The reading of Bb; if Flat’s sóknbráðr were adopted, the only possible referents for it would be Sigvatr and Óttarr. ‘Vehement in battle’ is an unlikely epithet for a skald, and it would be a breach of protocol for the only epithet in the helmingr to refer to a poet rather than to the king.

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konungs ‘king’

konungr (noun m.; °dat. -i, -s; -ar): king

[2] konungs: jǫfurs Bb

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hefr ‘have’

hafa (verb): have

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orti ‘composed’

yrkja (verb): compose

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Óttarr ‘Óttarr’

Óttarr (noun m.): Óttarr

notes

[4] Óttarr: Óttarr svarti ‘the black’ was the son of Sigvatr Þórðarson’s sister, and was another of S. Óláfr’s favourite poets. He is cited as a skaldic authority in FGT (c. 1150) and is also quoted frequently by Snorri Sturluson in Skm. See further Guðrún Nordal 2001, 28; Poole 1993b. Óttarr’s poetry is also edited in Volume I.

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um ‘about’

1. um (prep.): about, around

[4] um: of Bb

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dróttar ‘of the court’

1. drótt (noun f.): troop

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hafa ‘have’

hafa (verb): have

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þengils ‘of the lord’

þengill (noun m.): prince, ruler

[5] þengils: so Bb, þengil Flat

kennings

þengils Mœra;
‘of the lord of the Mœrir; ’
   = Óláfr

the lord of the Mœrir; → Óláfr
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Mœra ‘of the Mœrir’

1. Mœrir (noun m.; °; -ir): pl. Mœrir

kennings

þengils Mœra;
‘of the lord of the Mœrir; ’
   = Óláfr

the lord of the Mœrir; → Óláfr
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frama ‘the courage’

frami (noun m.): success

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helgum ‘to the holy’

heilagr (adj.; °helgan; compar. -ari, superl. -astr): holy, sacred

kennings

helgum jǫfri fira.
‘to the holy king of men.’
   = Óláfr

to the holy king of men. → Óláfr
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lýtk ‘I do homage’

lýta (verb): bow down

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fira ‘of men’

firar (noun m.): men

kennings

helgum jǫfri fira.
‘to the holy king of men.’
   = Óláfr

to the holy king of men. → Óláfr
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jǫfri ‘king’

jǫfurr (noun m.): ruler, prince

kennings

helgum jǫfri fira.
‘to the holy king of men.’
   = Óláfr

to the holy king of men. → Óláfr
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Interactive view: tap on words in the text for notes and glosses

[5-8]: Hétu must be understood in its passive sense ‘were called’, and jǫfurr fira ‘king of men’ as an epithet for Óláfr parallel with gram dróttar ‘the king of the court’ (l. 4). For other readings see Finnur Jónsson in Skj B, Kock in Skald, where, following a suggestion of Konráð Gíslason, fira (l. 8) is emended to firar, giving þeir es firar hétu hǫfuðskǫld ‘they whom men called chief poets’.

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