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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Eskál Vell 20I

Edith Marold (ed.) 2012, ‘Einarr skálaglamm Helgason, Vellekla 20’ 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. 307.

Einarr skálaglamm HelgasonVellekla

Búinn lézk valdr, ef vildi
valmey konungr heyja,
haulda morðs at halda
— herr fell of gram — velli.

{Valdr {morðs haulda}} lézk búinn at halda velli, ef konungr vildi heyja {valmey}; herr fell of gram.

{The controller {of the killing of men}} [BATTLE > RULER = Hákon jarl] declared himself ready to hold the field, if the king [Ragnfrøðr] wanted to wage {the maiden of the battle-slain} [VALKYRIE = Hildr (hildr ‘battle’)]; the host fell around the ruler.

Mss: FskBˣ(20v), 51ˣ(18r), 302ˣ(28r), FskAˣ(80), 52ˣ(31v), 301ˣ(28v-29r) (Fsk)

Readings: [3] morðs: so FskAˣ, 52ˣ, 301ˣ, njǫrðr FskBˣ, 51ˣ, 302ˣ;    at: ok 51ˣ, 302ˣ, FskAˣ, 52ˣ, 301ˣ

Editions: Skj AI, 127, Skj BI, 120, Skald I, 67; Fsk 1902-3, 72 (ch. 14), ÍF 29, 114 (ch. 16).

Context: See st. 19 above.

Notes: [2] valmey ‘the maiden of the battle-slain [VALKYRIE = Hildr (hildr “battle”)]’: This cpd is the object of heyja ‘wage, hold, carry out’, and the sense ‘battle’ is produced by ofljóst, since a famous valkyrie is Hildr, whose name is also a common noun meaning ‘battle’. See further Notes to Eyv Hál 7/2, ÞjóðA Mfl 8/5, 6II. — [2] konungr ‘the king’: Ragnfrøðr Eiríksson. His designation as king is somewhat unexpected, but could be explained by his ambition for power (see Context to st. 18), his royal descent (as a grandson of Haraldr hárfagri), and the fact that he was holding several regions south of Trondheim (see Context to st. 21). — [3] haulda ‘of men’: See Note to st. 10/5. — [3] morðs haulda ‘of the killing of men [BATTLE]’: For this unusual battle-kenning see Meissner 177. — [3, 4] halda velli ‘hold the field’: The phrase is interpreted either as waiting for the opponent in battle formation (Konráð Gíslason 1895-7, I, 138) or holding the field, resisting (Skj B; LP: halda 2). Cf. also Eyv Hák 12/5.


  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. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  4. Meissner = Meissner, Rudolf. 1921. Die Kenningar der Skalden: Ein Beitrag zur skaldischen Poetik. Rheinische Beiträge und Hülfsbücher zur germanischen Philologie und Volkskunde 1. Bonn and Leipzig: Schroeder. Rpt. 1984. Hildesheim etc.: Olms.
  5. 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.
  6. Fsk 1902-3 = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1902-3. Fagrskinna: Nóregs kononga tal. SUGNL 30. Copenhagen: Møller.
  7. ÍF 29 = Ágrip af Nóregskonunga sǫgum; Fagrskinna—Nóregs konungatal. Ed. Bjarni Einarsson. 1985.
  8. Konráð Gíslason. 1895-7. Efterladte skrifter. 2 vols. I: Forelæsninger over oldnordiske skjaldekvad. II: Forelæsninger og videnskablige afhandlinger. Copenhagen: Gyldendal.
  9. Internal references
  10. Kari Ellen Gade 2017, ‘(Introduction to) Anonymous, Máríuflokkr’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 507.
  11. Russell Poole (ed.) 2012, ‘Eyvindr skáldaspillir Finnsson, Háleygjatal 7’ 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. 205.
  12. R. D. Fulk (ed.) 2012, ‘Eyvindr skáldaspillir Finnsson, Hákonarmál 12’ 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. 186.

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