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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Glúmr Gráf 15I

Alison Finlay (ed.) 2012, ‘Glúmr Geirason, Gráfeldardrápa 15’ 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. 265.

Glúmr GeirasonGráfeldardrápa

Vígôsu tekr vísa
valfall Haralds alla.

Valfall Haralds tekr {alla vígôsu} vísa.

Haraldr’s death in battle affects {all the battle-gods} [WARRIORS] of the leader.

Mss: Þb106ˣ(30v) (Ldn)

Readings: [1] ‑ôsu: ‘sso’ Þb106ˣ

Editions: Skj AI, 78, Skj BI, 68, Skald I, 42NN §254; Ldn 1843, 233, Ldn 1900, 254Ldn 1921, 123, Ldn 1958, 130, Ldn 1974, 624, ÍF 1, 284 n.

Context: This couplet, said to be the stef ‘refrain’ of Gráfeldardrápa, is added in the seventeenth-century Þórðarbók version of Ldn to an account of the settlement of Glúmr’s father, Geiri, near Mývatn.

Notes: [All]: Any interpretation can only be tentative, since it is unknown whether the couplet preserved is syntactically complete, or whether it originally formed part of a four-line unit (as suggested in Skj B, where it is left untranslated). — [1] vígôsu ‘the battle-gods [WARRIORS]’: (a) The emendation, proposed by Kock (NN §254), makes an interpretation of the couplet possible. The dat. pl. vígôsum in Hskv Útdr 1/3II has been interpreted as ‘battle-gods’ (NN §§964; LP: vígôss) but in that context ôsum is more likely to be from áss ‘beam, plank’, hence ‘protective planking’ (see Note to Útdr 1/3II). (b) Other eds, following Jón Sigurðsson (Ldn 1843), emend to vígeisu ‘battle-fire’, though this does not make sense in the lines as preserved. Finnur Jónsson (LH I, 526) comments on Glúmr’s preference for the word eisa ‘fire’; the parallel compounds rógeisu ‘strife-fire’ (st. 2/5), dolgeisu ‘battle-fire’ (st. 3/1) were presumably the models for Jón’s emendation. — [2] valfall ‘death in battle’: This more usually means ‘slaughter’ applied collectively to a mass of bodies (e.g. Ótt Knútdr 10/5, Arn Hardr 7/4II), but the sense could possibly be extended to the death of an individual, Haraldr. If on the other hand the couplet is syntactically incomplete (cf. Note to [All] above), the word may have had its usual sense.


  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 1 (parts 1 and 2) = Íslendingabók; Landnámabók. Ed. Jakob Benediktsson. 1968. Rpt. as one volume 1986.
  7. LH = Finnur Jónsson. 1920-4. Den oldnorske og oldislandske litteraturs historie. 3 vols. 2nd edn. Copenhagen: Gad.
  8. Ldn 1900 = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1900. Landnámabók I-III. Hauksbók. Sturlubók. Melabók. Udgiven af Det kongelige nordiske oldskrift-selskab. Copenhagen: Thiele.
  9. Ldn 1921 = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1921b. Landnámabók. Melabók AM 106. 112 fol. Copenhagen and Kristiania (Oslo): Gyldendal, Nordisk Forlag.
  10. Ldn 1843 = ‘Landnámabók’. In Íslendinga sögur, udgivne efter gamle Haandskrifter af Det Kongelige Nordiske Oldskrift-selskab 1, ed. Jón Sigurðsson. Copenhagen: Möller.
  11. Ldn 1958 = Jakob Benediktsson, ed. 1958. Landnámabók: Ljósprentun handrita. Reykjavík: Stofnun Árna Magnússonar.
  12. Internal references
  13. Not published: do not cite (LdnIV)
  14. Kari Ellen Gade 2009, ‘(Introduction to) Halldórr skvaldri, Útfarardrápa’ 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. 483-92.
  15. Not published: do not cite (Hást Lv 8IV)
  16. Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2009, ‘Halldórr skvaldri, Útfarardrápa 1’ 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. 484-5.

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