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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Gsind Hákdr 3I

Russell Poole (ed.) 2012, ‘Guthormr sindri, Hákonardrápa 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. 161.

Guthormr sindriHákonardrápa

text and translation

Selund náði þá síðan
sóknheggr und sik leggja
vals ok Vinða frelsi
víð Skáneyjar síðu.

{Sóknheggr} náði þá síðan leggja und sik Selund, víð frelsi vals ok Vinða, síðu Skáneyjar.
‘The attack-cherry-tree [WARRIOR = Hákon] then afterwards succeeded in placing under himself Zealand, the broad sanctuaries against slaughter and the Wends, [and] the coast of Skåne.

notes and context

Hákon continues with extensive raids around Selund (Zealand), encountering no resistance. After citation of the stanza it is mentioned that Hákon follows up on these successes by moving east, raiding the coast of Skáney (Skåne) and attacking Danish and Wendish vikings.

The interpretation of the helmingr is uncertain because of the difficulty of l. 3 and the variation in the ms. readings. (a) In this edn, frelsi vals ok Vinða is tentatively taken as ‘sanctuaries against slaughter and the Wends’ (see Note to l. 3 below). The phrase could either be in apposition to Selund, characterising Zealand, or the two phrases could refer to different places, so that the helmingr lists three places (so Kock, NN §1930, and cf. Kock 1936, 1-2; Toyne 1948, 69 n.). In ll. 3-4, asyndeton, the omission of a explicit conj. ‘and’, is assumed. This overall solution accounts for the range of readings. Original víð Skáneyjar síðu, with collocation of what appears to be a f. nom. sg. adj. víð with a f. acc. sg. noun síðu, evidently confused the redactors, who attempted to solve the apparent difficulty in two different ways: (1) changing the acc. to nom. (Skáneyjar) síða to achieve case agreement; (2) changing the adj. to a prep. (viðr ‘by’) and retaining the case of the noun (acc. (Skáneyjar) síðu). (b) Finnur Jónsson (Hkr 1893-1901, IV; Skj B; cf. ÍF 26) construes the helmingr differently. He treats Skáneyjarsíðu as a combined object with Selund (linked by ok ‘and’ in l. 3), and interprets Vinða ‘of Wends’ as governing vals ‘choice’, taken in the sense of ‘elite’: thus Selund ok Skáneyjarsíðu, víð frelsi vals Vinða ‘Zealand and the coast of Skåne, widely-spread sanctuaries of the elite of the Wends’. But the placing of ok makes this unlikely and it is hard to see why an elite of Wends would be specified. — [3] frelsi vals ok Vinða ‘sanctuaries against slaughter and the Wends’: (a) The f. pl. noun frelsi (often ‘freedom’) is taken here to mean ‘sanctuary, refuge’ (so LP (1860): frelsi and Finnur Jónsson, Note to [All], interpretation (b), above) and construed as taking the double gen., vals ‘of slaughter’ and Vinda ‘of the Wends’, forming a phrase meaning that these areas became safe after Hákon took over. (b) Interpreting vals as gen. sg. of valr ‘falcon’ and vinda as gen. pl. of vindr ‘wind’ would give ‘freedom of the falcon and of the winds’, which could conceivably be a poetic description of a tract of sea and/or land, but its reference would be elusive and it would be unparalleled in skaldic poetry.



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: Goþþormr sindri, Hákonardrápa 3: AI, 62, BI, 55, Skald I, 34, NN §§1930, 2910A; Hkr 1893-1901, I, 177, IV, 47, ÍF 26, 159-60, Hkr 1991, I, 101 (HákGóð ch. 8), F 1871, 68; Fms 1, 28, Fms 12, 26, ÓT 1958-2000, I, 27 (ch. 18), Flat 1860-8, I, 53 .


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