Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Gísl Magnkv 14II

Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2009, ‘Gísl Illugason, Erfikvæði about Magnús berfœttr 14’ 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. 426.

Gísl IllugasonErfikvæði about Magnús berfœttr

Hǫfðu seggir        — þá vas sókn lokit —
heimfǫr þegit        at hǫfuðsmanni.
Landsmenn litu        of liði gǫfgu
segl sædrifin        sett við húna.

Seggir hǫfðu þegit heimfǫr at hǫfuðsmanni; þá vas sókn lokit. Landsmenn litu sædrifin segl, sett við húna, of gǫfgu liði.

The men had obtained leave from the leader to return home; then the battle had ended. The countrymen saw foam-sprayed sails, secured to the mast-tops, above the splendid troop.

Mss: Mork(23v) (Mork); H(89v), Hr(62ra) (H-Hr); F(58vb)

Readings: [4] at: af H, Hr    [6] of: yfir H, Hr    [8] húna: so H, Hr, húnu Mork, F

Editions: Skj AI, 442-3, Skj BI, 412, Skald I, 203; Mork 1867, 146, Mork 1928-32, 322, Andersson and Gade 2000, 302, 486 (Mberf); Fms 7, 49 (Mberf ch. 24); F 1871, 272 (Mberf).

Context: Stanzas 14-16 describe Magnús’s fleet returning to Norway from the Hebrides in 1099. In Mork and F, the sts are cited without intervening prose. In H and Hr they are incorporated into a prose narrative which is taken from MberfHkr (ÍF 28, 224-5), Orkn (ÍF 34, 100-1) or created from the content of the poetry.

Notes: [8] sett við húna ‘secured to the mast-tops’: Húnu (so Mork, F) is ungrammatical, unless the húnn ‘mast-top’ follows the declension of a m. u-stem. Húnn was a cube-shaped wooden piece fastened to the mast-top, with a hole in it through which the halyard passed (see Falk 1912, 59; Jesch 2001a, 160-1).


  1. Bibliography
  2. Fms = Sveinbjörn Egilsson et al., eds. 1825-37. Fornmanna sögur eptir gömlum handritum útgefnar að tilhlutun hins norræna fornfræða fèlags. 12 vols. Copenhagen: Popp.
  3. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  4. Andersson, Theodore M. and Kari Ellen Gade, trans. 2000. Morkinskinna: The Earliest Icelandic Chronicle of the Norwegian Kings (1030-1157). Islandica 51. Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press.
  5. Jesch, Judith. 2001a. Ships and Men in the Late Viking Age: The Vocabulary of Runic Inscriptions and Skaldic Verse. Woodbridge: Boydell.
  6. Falk, Hjalmar. 1912. Altnordisches Seewesen. Wörter und Sachen 4. Heidelberg: Winter.
  7. Mork 1928-32 = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1928-32. Morkinskinna. SUGNL 53. Copenhagen: Jørgensen.
  8. ÍF 34 = Orkneyinga saga. Ed. Finnbogi Guðmundsson. 1965.
  9. ÍF 26-8 = Heimskringla. Ed. Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson. 1941-51.
  10. F 1871 = Unger, C. R., ed. 1871. Fríssbók: Codex Frisianus. En samling af norske konge-sagaer. Christiania (Oslo): Malling.
  11. Mork 1867 = Unger, C. R., ed. 1867. Morkinskinna: Pergamentsbog fra første halvdel af det trettende aarhundrede. Indeholdende en af de ældste optegnelser af norske kongesagaer. Oslo: Bentzen.
  12. Internal references
  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 (MberfII)

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