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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Eyv Hák 1I

R. D. Fulk (ed.) 2012, ‘Eyvindr skáldaspillir Finnsson, Hákonarmál 1’ 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. 174.

Eyvindr skáldaspillir FinnssonHákonarmál

text and translation

Gǫndul ok Skǫgul         sendi Gautatýr
        at kjósa of konunga,
hverr Yngva ættar         skyldi með Óðni fara
        ok í Valhǫll vesa.

{Gautatýr} sendi Gǫndul ok Skǫgul at kjósa of konunga, hverr ættar Yngva skyldi fara með Óðni ok vesa í Valhǫll.
‘The god of the Gautar [= Óðinn] sent Gǫndul and Skǫgul to choose among kings, which of the kin of Yngvi should go with Óðinn and live in Valhǫll.

notes and context

In Hkr, the poem is presented at the close of HákGóð after a description of Hákon’s obsequies. In Fsk, the prose that precedes the first three stanzas describes how before the battle of Fitjar the king donned his war-gear and drew up his forces. In SnE, Snorri quotes this stanza in a collection of stanzas illustrating references to Óðinn (mostly kennings).

Fsk introduces sts 1-3, sem Eyvindr segir í kvæði því, er hann orti eptir fall Hákonar, ok setti hann þat eptir því sem Gunnhildr hafði látit yrkja um Eirík sem Óðinn byði hónum heim til Valhallar, ok segir hann marga atburði í kvæðinu frá orrostunni, ok hefr svá ‘as Eyvindr says in the poem that he composed after Hákon’s fall, and he modelled it after the one that Gunnhildr had had composed about Eiríkr, as if Óðinn were inviting him home to Valhǫll, and in the poem he narrates many events from the battle, and it begins thus’. — [1] Gǫndul ok Skǫgul ‘Gǫndul and Skǫgul’: These are two of the valkyrjur (etymologically ‘choosers of the slain’), female beings associated with Óðinn who, as here, determine the outcome of battles, selecting warriors slain in battle for Valhǫll, the hall of the slain. The valkyries’ warrior equipment is described in st. 12. Gǫndul and Skǫgul (Geir-Skǫgul in st. 12/2) are named in Vsp 30, and Skǫgul is among thirteen valkyries named in Grí 36. On valkyries in Scandinavian mythology, see further Ström (1954, 70-9); Andersen (1993); Simek (1993, 349); Zimmermann (2007); Quinn (forthcoming).



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: Eyvindr Finnsson skáldaspillir, 1. Hákonarmál 1: AI, 64, BI, 57, Skald I, 35; Hkr 1893-1901, I, 219, IV, 59, ÍF 26, 193, Hkr 1991, I, 124 (HákGóð ch. 31/32), F 1871, 84; Fsk 1902-3, 38-9 (ch. 11), ÍF 29, 86 (ch. 12); SnE 1848-87, I, 234-5, II, 303, 518, SnE 1931, 89, SnE 1998, I, 8; Möbius 1860, 232, Jón Helgason 1968, 25, Krause 1990, 36-9.


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