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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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ESk Geisl 50VII

Martin Chase (ed.) 2007, ‘Einarr Skúlason, Geisli 50’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 48.

Einarr SkúlasonGeisli

text and translation

Môs frák jarðar eisu
alls vald fyr hjǫr gjalda,
(sléttik óð) þanns átti
Óláfr (bragar tólum).
Yfirskjǫldungr lét jǫfra
oddhríðar þar síðan
garðs of golli vǫrðu
grand altári standa.

Frák {vald alls} gjalda {eisu {môs jarðar}} fyr hjǫr, þanns Óláfr átti; sléttik óð {tólum bragar}. {Yfirskjǫldungr jǫfra} lét síðan {grand {garðs {oddhríðar}}} standa þar of altári vǫrðu golli.
‘I heard [that] the ruler of all [= Byzantine emperor] paid with the fire of the gull’s land [SEA > GOLD] for the sword which Óláfr had owned; I smooth [my] poem with the tools of poetry [ORGANS OF SPEECH]. The supreme king of princes [= Byzantine emperor] then caused the harm of the yard of the point-storm [BATTLE > SHIELD > SWORD] to stand there over the altar adorned with gold.

notes and context

[1-4]: Bb’s readings have been followed here for the most part; Flat’s allvalds (l. 2) would have to be taken with hjǫr ‘(for the) sword of the all-ruler’, and that would then make the rel. cl. þanns Óláfr átti ‘which Óláfr owned’ (ll. 3, 4) redundant. — [5-8]: These ll. refer to the Byzantine emperor’s purchase of Óláfr’s sword for a high price and his causing it to be hung over the altar of a church the Varangians had dedicated to Óláfr (see Chase 2005, 42 and references for the possible identity of this church).



Text is based on reconstruction from the base text and variant apparatus and may contain alternative spellings and other normalisations not visible in the manuscript text. Transcriptions may not have been checked and should not be cited.

editions and texts

Skj: Einarr Skúlason, 6. Geisli 50: AI, 468, BI, 439, Skald I, 216; Flat 1860-8, I, 5, Cederschiöld 1873, 7, Chase 2005, 100, 157.


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