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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Hfr ErfÓl 11I

Kate Heslop (ed.) 2012, ‘Hallfreðr vandræðaskáld Óttarsson, Erfidrápa Óláfs 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. 417.

Hallfreðr vandræðaskáld ÓttarssonErfidrápa Óláfs Tryggvasonar

Eigi látask ýtar
enn, þeirs víðast nenna,
fremra mann of finna
folkreifum Ôleifi.

Ýtar, þeirs nenna víðast, látask eigi of finna enn fremra mann folkreifum Ôleifi.

Men, those who travel most widely, say they cannot find an even more outstanding man than battle-joyful Óláfr.

Mss: 61(68ra), 54(65ra), Bb(100vb), Flat(65ra) (ÓT)

Readings: [1] látask: láta Flat    [2] víðast: so 54, Bb, Flat, víða 61;    nenna: renna 54, Bb, Flat    [3] fremra: frægra 54, Bb;    finna: finnask 54, Bb

Editions: Skj AI, 161, Skj BI, 152, Skald I, 83; SHI 2, 315, ÓT 1958-2000, II, 275-6 (ch. 252), Flat 1860-8, I, 487.

Context: Óláfr stands all day on the raised after-deck of Ormr inn langi, shooting arrows and hurling spears. Both friends and enemies declare they have never known such valiant fighting.

Notes: [All]: Unusually, the variant readings in this helmingr, especially víðast nenna ‘travel most widely’ / víða renna ‘run widely’ (l. 2) and fremra ‘more outstanding’ / frægra ‘more famous’ (l. 3), are all plausible, and none affects the overall meaning. This may suggest oral transmission of different versions of the present stanza, as has been postulated for another isolated helmingr, st. 26a and its alternative version (Krijn 1931, 121). — [2] þeirs víðast nenna ‘those who travel most widely’: Óláfr’s significance in the larger scheme of things is emphasised. — [4] folkreifum ‘battle-joyful’: That is, glorying in battle. On the meaning of folk see Richardson (1975).


  1. Bibliography
  2. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  3. Flat 1860-8 = Gudbrand Vigfusson [Guðbrandur Vigfússon] and C. R. Unger, eds. 1860-8. Flateyjarbók. En samling af norske konge-sagaer med indskudte mindre fortællinger om begivenheder i og udenfor Norge samt annaler. 3 vols. Christiania (Oslo): Malling.
  4. ÓT 1958-2000 = Ólafur Halldórsson, ed. 1958-2000. Saga Óláfs Tryggvasonar en mesta. 3 vols. EA A 1-3. Copenhagen: Munksgaard (Reitzel).
  5. 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.
  6. Krijn, S. A. 1931. ‘Halfred Vandraedaskald’. Neophilologus 16, 46-55, 121-31.
  7. Richardson, Peter. 1975. ‘On the Meaning of Old Icelandic folk’. Semasia 2, 261-70.

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