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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Gísl Magnkv 8II

Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2009, ‘Gísl Illugason, Erfikvæði about Magnús berfœttr 8’ 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. 421-2.

Gísl IllugasonErfikvæði about Magnús berfœttr
789

Gramr vann gǫrvan,        en glatat þjófum,
kaupmǫnnum frið,        þanns konungr bœtti,
svát í elfi        øxum hlýddi
flaust fagrbúin        í fjǫru skorða.

Gramr vann kaupmǫnnum gǫrvan frið, þanns konungr bœtti, en glatat þjófum, svát í elfi hlýddi skorða fagrbúin flaust øxum í fjǫru.

The ruler achieved complete peace for merchants, which the king had improved, and he destroyed thieves, so that in the river one could buttress the splendidly equipped ships with axes on the shore.

Mss: Mork(22r) (Mork); H(83r), Hr(58rb) (H-Hr)

Readings: [4] þanns: þann Hr    [5] elfi: eyjum Hr    [6] øxum hlýddi: elfi hlýddu Hr    [8] í fjǫru: firum at H, Hr

Editions: Skj AI, 441, Skj BI, 411, Skald I, 202, NN §2269; Mork 1867, 136, Mork 1928-32, 306, Andersson and Gade 2000, 291, 484 (Mberf); Fms 7, 16 (Mberf ch. 8).

Context: As st. 7 above.

Notes: [All]: The st. is omitted in F. — [2] en glatat þjófum ‘and he destroyed thieves’: Lit. ‘and thieves destroyed’. Glatat is the n. acc. sg. of the p. p. of the weak verb glata ‘destroy’, construed with vann ‘achieved’ (l. 1: vann gǫrvan … (vann) glatat). — [4] þanns konungr bœtti ‘which the king had improved’: Skj B translates this cl. as som han gav dem ‘which he gave them’. However, the verb bœta (bœtti, 3rd pers. sg. pret. indic.) means ‘improve’ and not ‘give’ (see NN §2269). The sense of this half-st. is that Magnús had previously established a law for the merchants, which he now finalised. Alternatively, ‘the king’ could refer to Magnús’s cousin, Hákon Magnússon, who promulgated new and improved laws for the people of Trøndelag and Opplandene before he died in 1094 (see ÍF 29, 42 and n. 1, 302; ÍF 28, 211; Mork 1928-32, 297). — [5] í elfi ‘in the river’: Both Skj B and Skald treat this as a p. n. (Skj B: í Elfi translated as i Elven ‘in the River’). Usually Elfr designates the Götaälv in present-day Sweden (as in st. 17), and it is unclear how Magnús could enforce his legislation there at this point. Later he expanded his territory to include districts in Sweden (see st. 17). In the present edn elfr is taken as a common noun, perhaps referring to Nidelven (Nið), the river that flows through the city of Trondheim. — [8] í fjǫru ‘on the shore’: Strictly ‘on the part of the shore not covered by water at ebb tide’. — [8] skorða ‘buttress’: Refers to the practice of supporting beached ships with props or posts (see Falk 1912, 30-1; Jesch 2001a, 171). The sense is that it was so peaceful that axes could be used for things other than fighting.

References

  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. 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.
  7. Jesch, Judith. 2001a. Ships and Men in the Late Viking Age: The Vocabulary of Runic Inscriptions and Skaldic Verse. Woodbridge: Boydell.
  8. Falk, Hjalmar. 1912. Altnordisches Seewesen. Wörter und Sachen 4. Heidelberg: Winter.
  9. Mork 1928-32 = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1928-32. Morkinskinna. SUGNL 53. Copenhagen: Jørgensen.
  10. ÍF 26-8 = Heimskringla. Ed. Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson. 1941-51.
  11. ÍF 29 = Ágrip af Nóregskonunga sǫgum; Fagrskinna—Nóregs konungatal. Ed. Bjarni Einarsson. 1985.
  12. 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.
  13. Internal references
  14. Not published: do not cite (MberfII)
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