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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Eyv Hál 11I

Russell Poole (ed.) 2012, ‘Eyvindr skáldaspillir Finnsson, Háleygjatal 11’ 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. 210.

Eyvindr skáldaspillir FinnssonHáleygjatal

Þar varð minnstr
ǫndverðan dag
es flota þeystu
at eyðǫndum,
þás sverðalfr
sunnan kníði
lagar stóð
at liði þeira.

Þar varð minnstr fagnafundr {{Yngvi-Freys mein}vinnǫndum} ǫndverðan dag, es {jarðráðendr} þeystu flota at eyðǫndum, þás {sverðalfr} kníði {stóð lagar} sunnan at liði þeira.

There the least welcome meeting came about {for the workers {of the harm of Yngvi-Freyr <god>}} [(lit. ‘harm-workers of Yngvi-Freyr’) BATTLE > WARRIORS] at the break of day, as {the rulers of the land} [RULERS] impelled their fleet against the ravagers, when {the sword-elf} [WARRIOR] drove his {stud-horses of the sea} [SHIPS] from the south against their army.

Mss: (159r), 39(7va), F(26vb), J1ˣ(95v) (Hkr)

Readings: [1] varð: var 39, F, J1ˣ;    minnstr: ‘minnz’ J1ˣ    [3] ‑Freys: ‘‑freyrs’ F    [8] eyðǫndum: ‘eyrinndom’ 39, F, ‘eyðænndvm’ J1ˣ

Editions: Skj AI, 70, Skj BI, 62, Skald I, 38, NN §3209; Hkr 1893-1901, I, 330, IV, 89, ÍF 26, 280-1, Hkr 1991, I, 188 (ÓTHkr ch. 40), F 1871, 122; Krause 1990, 192-7.

Context: Hákon jarl Sigurðarson brings his fleet from the south in haste to meet the Jómsvíkingar, under Sigvaldi jarl, and other opponents, prior to the battle of Hjǫrungavágr (Liavågen).

Notes: [All]: On Hákon jarl Sigurðarson, the battle of Hjǫrungavágr c. 985, and other skaldic poetry associated with it, see ‘Ruler biographies’ in Introduction to this volume. — [All]: This is the sole surviving stanza from what may have been a more extended account (Finnur Jónsson 1910-12, 263). Lines 9-12 are printed as a separate stanza in Skj (but not Hkr 1893-1901), for reasons that are unclear. — [2-3] Yngvi-Freys meinvinnǫndum ‘for the workers of the harm of Yngvi-Freyr <god> [(lit. ‘harm-workers of Yngvi-Freyr’) BATTLE > WARRIORS]’: The warrior-kenning is unusual. Yngvi-Freyr is a name of Freyr (see LP: Yngvifreyr). The word mein ‘harm’ is associated with Freyr in both Lok 43/5 and Gylf (SnE 2005, 31), but its precise significance in this context remains uncertain. A battle-kenning seems most likely as the determinant qualifying vinnǫndum (dat. pl.) ‘workers’, and this is supported by leikr Freys ‘sport of Freyr [BATTLE]’, Þhorn Harkv 6/4 and Note. Although Freyr is not normally a battle-god but a deity presiding over peace and good crops (Gylf, SnE 2005, 24), war could be regarded as a source of harm to him (Hkr 1893-1901, IV; LP: meinvinnandi; cf. ÍF 26). The warriors denoted by the kenning can be identified with the Jómsvíkingar and other adversaries of Hákon jarl and his son, Eiríkr. — [7, 8] jarðráðendr … eyðǫndum ‘the rulers of the land … the ravagers’: The wording here presents difficulties. (a) In this edn the reading of and J1ˣ is retained. Normally in skaldic usage the agentive eyðǫndum ‘ravagers’ would be associated with an object, expressed via an objective gen. or prefixed flexionless noun, but it may be that jarð- ‘land’ in the previous line has a dual role, also providing such an object in a kind of apo koinou (cf. NN §3209; ÍF 26). (b) Against this, Sveinbjörn Egilsson’s emendation Eydǫnum (LP: eyða; cf. Jón Þorkelsson 1884, 55; Hkr 1893-1901; Skj B) is supported by œgir Eydana ‘intimidator of the Island-Danes’, denoting Hákon jarl, in Eyv Hák 3/7. Although Eydanir normally refers to the Danes (LP: ey-Danir), it is possible that the Jómsvíkingar could be thought of as ‘Island-Danes’, especially if, as Finnur Jónsson suggested, they had affiliations with Bornholm (Hkr 1893-1901, IV; but contrast NN §3209). — [9] sverðalfr ‘the sword-elf [WARRIOR]’: Normally taken to be Hákon jarl, following Hkr (see Context), but Finnur Jónsson (Hkr 1893-1901, IV) suggests Sigvaldi jarl, leader of the Jómsvíkingar. — [11] stóð ‘stud-horses’: The word is grammatically sg., with the collective meaning ‘stud, stud-horses’.


  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. NN = Kock, Ernst Albin. 1923-44. Notationes Norrœnæ: Anteckningar till Edda och skaldediktning. Lunds Universitets årsskrift new ser. 1. 28 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  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. ÍF 26-8 = Heimskringla. Ed. Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson. 1941-51.
  7. Hkr 1893-1901 = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1893-1901. Heimskringla: Nóregs konunga sǫgur af Snorri Sturluson. 4 vols. SUGNL 23. Copenhagen: Møller.
  8. Hkr 1991 = Bergljót S. Kristjánsdóttir et al., eds. 1991. Heimskringla. 3 vols. Reykjavík: Mál og menning.
  9. F 1871 = Unger, C. R., ed. 1871. Fríssbók: Codex Frisianus. En samling af norske konge-sagaer. Christiania (Oslo): Malling.
  10. Jón Þorkelsson [J. Thorkelsson]. 1884. ‘Bemærkninger til nogle steder i versene i Heimskringla’. Aftryk af oversigt over det kgl. danske videnskabs selskabs forhandlinger 1884. Copenhagen: Luno.
  11. SnE 2005 = Snorri Sturluson. 2005. Edda: Prologue and Gylfaginning. Ed. Anthony Faulkes. 2nd edn. University College London: Viking Society for Northern Research.
  12. Krause, Arnulf, ed. 1990. Die Dichtung des Eyvindr skáldaspillir: Edition-Kommentar-Untersuchungen. Altnordische Bibliothek 10. Leverkusen: Literaturverlag Norden Mark Reinhardt.
  13. Finnur Jónsson. 1910-12. ‘Jomsvikingerne’. HT(D) 8 ser. 3, 263-74.
  14. Internal references
  15. Kari Ellen Gade 2009, ‘Heimskringla (Hkr)’ 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].
  16. Not published: do not cite (GylfIII)
  17. Not published: do not cite ()
  18. R. D. Fulk (ed.) 2012, ‘Eyvindr skáldaspillir Finnsson, Hákonarmál 3’ 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. 177.
  19. R. D. Fulk (ed.) 2012, ‘Þorbjǫrn hornklofi, Haraldskvæði (Hrafnsmál) 6’ 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. 99.

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