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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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ESk Sigdr I 2II

Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2009, ‘Einarr Skúlason, Sigurðardrápa I 2’ 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. 539.

Einarr SkúlasonSigurðardrápa I

Ok, sás œzt gat ríki,
ól þjóðkonungr, sólar,
ǫnd á Jákóbslandi
annan vetr, und ranni.
Þar frák hilmi herjar
(hjaldrs) lausmæli gjalda
(gramr birti svan svartan
snarlyndr) frǫmum jarli.

Ok þjóðkonungr, sás gat œzt ríki und {ranni sólar}, ól ǫnd annan vetr á Jákóbslandi. Þar frák hilmi herjar gjalda frǫmum jarli lausmæli; snarlyndr gramr birti {svartan svan hjaldrs}.

And the mighty king, who got the highest power under {the hall of the sun} [SKY/HEAVEN], nourished his spirit the next winter in Galicia. There I heard that the protector of the people repaid the outstanding earl for his unreliable words; the keen-spirited ruler cheered {the black swan of battle} [RAVEN].

Mss: (608r), 39(36vb), F(60vb), E(37r), J2ˣ(317v), 42ˣ(17r) (Hkr); H(94v), Hr(64va) (H-Hr)

Readings: [1] sás (‘sa er’): er sá H;    œzt: œztr H, Hr    [2] ‑konungr: ‑konung J2ˣ, Hr    [5] hilmi: ‘hilm’ Hr    [6] hjaldrs: hjaldr 42ˣ, H, Hr    [7] birti: bræddi H, Hr;    svan: svá F, ‘svam’ E, J2ˣ;    svartan: snemma E, J2ˣ, 42ˣ, síma H, Hr    [8] ‑lyndr: ‑lundr 39, E

Editions: Skj AI, 455, Skj BI, 423, Skald I, 209, NN §921; ÍF 28, 240-1 (Msona ch. 4), F 1871, 281, E 1916, 130; Fms 7, 78 (Msona ch. 4).

Context: From England, Sigurðr went to Normandy and then on to Galicia, where he stayed the second winter. The earl who was in command of the district promised to provide the Norwegians with provisions, but supplies ran out around Christmas time. Sigurðr sacked the earl’s castle and furnished his troops with the food they needed.

Notes: [All]: For a similar attack on a castle in Galicia that took place during Jarl Rǫgnvaldr Kali’s crusade, see Orkn (ÍF 34, 212-18), as well as Rv Lv 17-19 and Sigm Lv 1. — [2, 3] ól ǫnd ‘nourished his spirit’: This is usually taken in the meaning ‘stayed’, but in this case it could also have a more spiritual implication because, even at such an early date, Sigurðr would probably have visited the shrine of the Apostle James the Great in Santiago de Compostela, Galicia. For James the Great, see Anon Alpost 5VII. — [3] á Jákóbslandi ‘in Galicia’: A province located in the north-west of the Iberian Peninsula. One of the main cities in Galicia was Santiago de Compostela (‘S. James of Compostela’), which housed the relics of James the Great, hence the ON name for Galicia, Jákóbsland ‘James’s land’. See Note to ll. 2, 3 above. — [6, 7] birti svartan svan hjaldrs ‘cheered the black swan of battle [RAVEN]’: Skj B combines the variants from H, Hr and E, J2ˣ, 42ˣ and reads bræddi svan hjaldrs snimma ‘fed the swan of battle quickly’, but that construction has no support from the ms. witnesses (see NN §921). — [7] birti ‘cheered’: Lit. ‘brightened, made clear’. This weak verb is formed from the adj. bjartr ‘bright, fair, shining’, which could also be used in the figurative sense ‘glad, cheerful’. See LP: bjartr.


  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. 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.
  7. ÍF 34 = Orkneyinga saga. Ed. Finnbogi Guðmundsson. 1965.
  8. ÍF 26-8 = Heimskringla. Ed. Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson. 1941-51.
  9. F 1871 = Unger, C. R., ed. 1871. Fríssbók: Codex Frisianus. En samling af norske konge-sagaer. Christiania (Oslo): Malling.
  10. E 1916 = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1916. Eirspennill: AM 47 fol. Nóregs konunga sǫgur: Magnús góði – Hákon gamli. Kristiania (Oslo): Den norske historiske kildeskriftskommission.
  11. Internal references
  12. Ian McDougall (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Allra postula minnisvísur 5’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 859-60.
  13. Kari Ellen Gade 2009, ‘Orkneyinga saga (Orkn)’ 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. Not published: do not cite (MsonaII)
  15. Judith Jesch (ed.) 2009, ‘Rǫgnvaldr jarl Kali Kolsson, Lausavísur 17’ 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. 595-6.
  16. Judith Jesch (ed.) 2009, ‘Sigmundr ǫngull, Lausavísur 1’ 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. 626-7.

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