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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Hfr ErfÓl 9I

Kate Heslop (ed.) 2012, ‘Hallfreðr vandræðaskáld Óttarsson, Erfidrápa Óláfs Tryggvasonar 9’ 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. 414.

Hallfreðr vandræðaskáld ÓttarssonErfidrápa Óláfs Tryggvasonar

Leitt hykk Leifa brautar
lognôrungum vôru
geirs við gumna stjóra
geigurþing at eiga,
þás fákhlaðendr frœknir
farligs at vin jarla
húfs með hamri þœfðar
hrings skyrtur framm gingu.

Hykk vôru leitt {{{Leifa brautar} log}nôrungum} at eiga {geigurþing geirs} við {stjóra gumna}, þás {frœknir {farligs húfs fák}hlaðendr} gingu framm at {vin jarla} með {skyrtur hrings}, þœfðar hamri.

I think it was hateful {to possessors {of the flame {of the road of Leifi <sea-king>}}} [(lit. ‘flame-possessors of the road of Leifi’) SEA > GOLD > MEN] to hold {the dangerous meeting of the spear} [BATTLE] with {the steerer of men} [RULER], when {bold loaders {of the steed of excellent planking}} [(lit. ‘steed-loaders of planking’) SHIP > SEAFARERS] advanced against {the friend of jarls} [KING] with {shirts of the ring} [MAIL-SHIRTS], beaten with the hammer.

Mss: 54(64rb), Bb(100ra), Flat(64va) (ÓT)

Readings: [1] Leitt: so Flat, ‘Le tít’ 54, ‘Letít id’ Bb    [2] log‑: lǫg‑ Flat;    ‑nôrungum: so Flat, ‘‑tarningum’ 54, ‘‑tręníngum’ Bb    [3] stjóra: stjórar Flat    [4] geigur‑: so Flat, geigr‑ 54, Bb    [5] fák‑: ‘fack’ Bb, frek Flat    [6] farligs: ‘farleggs’ Flat    [7] húfs: úfs Flat;    hamri: harmi Bb;    þœfðar: ‘hefdar’ Flat    [8] hrings: hring Bb, Flat

Editions: Skj AI, 161, Skj BI, 152, Skald I, 83; SHI 2, 306-7, ÓT 1958-2000, II, 270 (ch. 250), Flat 1860-8, I, 484.

Context: The Swedes tire of holding out against Óláfr and his men.

Notes: [2] -nôrungum ‘to possessors’: Here, as with Leitt (l. 1), only Flat’s reading makes sense. Nôrungar, a laudatory epithet only attested in the pl., has a variant form seen in gunnœringar Hávh Lv 14/6V (Háv 15), and is usually glossed ‘nourisher’ from nœra ‘to nourish’ (AEW: nárungar; LP: lognôrungar), but these are probably late developments (Meissner 350), and this ancient word seems instead to stem from the root *ner ‘strong, strength’ (Falk 1928a, 319). — [6] vin jarla ‘the friend of jarls [KING]’: This could, given the context, refer to an ally of Óláfr’s adversary Eiríkr Hákonarson, jarl of Hlaðir (Lade), but it is a conventional king-kenning, and Óláfr may be meant. — [7] þœfðar ‘beaten’: The epithet þœfðr hamri ‘beaten with the hammer’ occurs several times in later poetry (LP: þœfa 2). In Flat, ‘hefdar’ (perhaps hœfðar ‘hit, struck’, SHI 2) may represent a scribal attempt to make good the alliterative stave lost by reading úfs rather than húfs at the beginning of l. 7. — [8] skyrtur hrings ‘shirts of the ring [MAIL-SHIRTS]’: (Hrings skyrtur in Text order.) Hringskyrtur ‘ring-shirts’ in Flat and Bb is equally possible, and is preferred in Skj B and Skald.


  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. Meissner = Meissner, Rudolf. 1921. Die Kenningar der Skalden: Ein Beitrag zur skaldischen Poetik. Rheinische Beiträge und Hülfsbücher zur germanischen Philologie und Volkskunde 1. Bonn and Leipzig: Schroeder. Rpt. 1984. Hildesheim etc.: Olms.
  5. AEW = Vries, Jan de. 1962. Altnordisches etymologisches Wörterbuch. 2nd rev. edn. Rpt. 1977. Leiden: Brill.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. ÓT 1958-2000 = Ólafur Halldórsson, ed. 1958-2000. Saga Óláfs Tryggvasonar en mesta. 3 vols. EA A 1-3. Copenhagen: Munksgaard (Reitzel).
  9. 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.
  10. Falk, Hjalmar. 1928a. ‘Ordstudier I’. ANF 44, 315-24.
  11. Internal references
  12. Not published: do not cite (Hávh Lv 14V (Háv 15))

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