Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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HSt Rst 10I

Rolf Stavnem (ed.) 2012, ‘Hallar-Steinn, Rekstefja 10’ 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. 908.


Þjóðlǫnd þremja skyndir
þrenn kristnaði ok tvenni;
hildings hǫppum valda
hans ríki frák slíkum.
Mærings mǫnnum skýrisk
merki fremðarverka
eggmóts eigi lítil.
Óláfr und veg sólar.

{Skyndir þremja} kristnaði þrenn ok tvenni þjóðlǫnd; frák ríki hans valda slíkum hǫppum hildings. Eigi lítil merki fremðarverka {eggmóts} skýrisk mǫnnum mærings. Óláfr und {veg sólar} …

{The hastener of swords} [WARRIOR] Christianized three and two countries; I have heard that it was his power that caused such ruler’s luck. Let the not small signs of the remarkable achievements {of the edge-meeting} [BATTLE] be declared to the men of the glorious one. Óláfr under {the path of the sun} [SKY] …

Mss: Bb(111vb) (ÓT)

Readings: [1] þremja: ‘þrennía’ Bb    [2] tvenni: tvenna Bb    [8] sólar: salar Bb

Editions: Skj AI, 545-6, Skj BI, 527, Skald I, 256, NN §§1172-4, 2316C, 2543B; SHI 3, 250-1, CPB II, 297, Wisén 1886-9, I, 47, Finnur Jónsson 1893b, 164, Konráð Gíslason 1895-7, I, 218-21.

Notes: [All]: Óláfr’s Christianization of the Nordic lands is also the subject of Anon Óldr 11-14, and see Note to Anon Óldr 12 [All]. — [1-2]: The present edn follows Konráð Gíslason (1895-7, also followed in Skj B and Skald), in emending tvenna to tvenni ‘two’, n. acc. pl. qualifying þjóðlǫnd ‘countries, nation’s lands’. On tvenni as a variant on tvenn, the n. acc. pl. form of tvennir ‘two’, see ANG §445 Anm. 4. The five lands Christianized by Óláfr are specified in the following stanza. — [1] þremja ‘of swords’: Gen. of þremjar f. pl., which may mean ‘cutters’ (see Þul Sverða 11/1III and Note). The word is used in poetry as the determinant of sword-kennings (cf. st. 21/4), where it appears to refer to part of a sword, but also in battle- and warrior-kennings, where it seems to be a pars pro toto expression for ‘sword’; see LP: þremjar . — [5-7]: This appears to be a self-reflexive comment on the poet’s activity of recounting Óláfr’s achievements, akin to those in st. 23/5-7 or in st. 24/1-3 where the audience are referred to by a kenning for ‘warriors’. More than one construal is possible, however, and the identity of mǫnnum ‘men, people’ is uncertain. (a) This edn follows Kock (NN §1173) in taking mǫnnum ‘men, people’ with mærings ‘of the glorious one, hero’, and eggmóts ‘of the edge-meeting [BATTLE]’ with fremðarverka ‘remarkable achievements’. Eggmóts could have a quasi-adverbial function, ‘in battle’. This gives good sense and straightforward word order. The reference of mǫnnum mærings ‘men/people of the glorious one’ is unclear, though it could be the devotees of Óláfr Tryggvason or conceivably of God, cf. Gamlkan Has 37/6VII firar dróttins ‘men of the Lord [CHRISTIAN PEOPLE]’. (b) This problem is avoided if mǫnnum ‘to men, people’ stands alone and mærings ‘of the glorious one, hero’ is added to the phrase merki fremðarverka mærings eggmóts, hence ‘signs of the hero’s remarkable achievements in battle’; but the phrase is unwieldy and mǫnnum mærings would seem to form a more natural unit. (c) Konráð Gíslason (1895-7) reads mǫnnum eggmóts ‘men of the edge-meeting [BATTLE > WARRIORS]’, but since this does not accord with normal kenning conventions, he suggests that mǫnnum is a corruption of meiðum ‘trees’, which would yield a standard man- or warrior-kenning; this is followed in Skj B and consequentially mærings is combined with fremðar verka, but the emendation is unnecessary. — [8]: For this line of the refrain, see Note to st. 9/8. — [8] Óláfr: This form of the king’s name is indicated by the aðalhending on sólar; see Note to st. 3/8.


  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. ANG = Noreen, Adolf. 1923. Altnordische Grammatik I: Altisländische und altnorwegische Grammatik (Laut- und Flexionslehre) unter Berücksichtigung des Urnordischen. 4th edn. Halle: Niemeyer. 1st edn. 1884. 5th unrev. edn. 1970. Tübingen: Niemeyer.
  7. CPB = Gudbrand Vigfusson [Guðbrandur Vigfússon] and F. York Powell, eds. 1883. Corpus poeticum boreale: The Poetry of the Old Northern Tongue from the Earliest Times to the Thirteenth Century. 2 vols. Oxford: Clarendon. Rpt. 1965, New York: Russell & Russell.
  8. Wisén, Theodor, ed. 1886-9. Carmina Norrœnæ: Ex reliquiis vetustioris norrœnæ poësis selecta, recognita, commentariis et glossario instructa. 2 vols. Lund: Ohlsson.
  9. Finnur Jónsson. 1893b. Carmina Norrœna: Rettet Tekst. Copenhagen: Nielsen & Lydiche.
  10. Konráð Gíslason. 1895-7. Efterladte skrifter. 2 vols. I: Forelæsninger over oldnordiske skjaldekvad. II: Forelæsninger og videnskablige afhandlinger. Copenhagen: Gyldendal.
  11. SHI = Sveinbjörn Egilsson, ed. 1828-46. Scripta historica islandorum de rebus gestis veterum borealium, latine reddita et apparatu critico instructa, curante Societate regia antiquariorum septentrionalium. 12 vols. Copenhagen: Popp etc. and London: John & Arthur Arch.
  12. Internal references
  13. Diana Whaley 2012, ‘(Biography of) Óláfr Tryggvason’ 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. 383.
  14. Kate Heslop (ed.) 2012, ‘Anonymous Poems, Óláfs drápa Tryggvasonar 11’ 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. 1043.
  15. Kate Heslop (ed.) 2012, ‘Anonymous Poems, Óláfs drápa Tryggvasonar 12’ 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. 1044.
  16. Elena Gurevich (ed.) 2017, ‘Anonymous Þulur, Sverða heiti 11’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 809.
  17. Katrina Attwood (ed.) 2007, ‘Gamli kanóki, Harmsól 37’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 105-6.

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