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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Ív Sig 10II

Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2009, ‘Ívarr Ingimundarson, Sigurðarbálkr 10’ 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. 507-8.

Ívarr IngimundarsonSigurðarbálkr

text and translation

Gerðu skírslu        of skjǫldungs kyn
fimm byskupar,        þeirs framarst þóttu.
Svá bar raunir,        at ríks konungs
þess vas inn mildi        Magnús faðir.

Fimm byskupar, þeirs þóttu framarst, gerðu skírslu of kyn skjǫldungs. Svá bar raunir, at inn mildi Magnús vas faðir þess ríks konungs.
‘Five bishops, who were deemed most distinguished, conducted the ordeal concerning the lord’s kinship. Proofs were given that the generous Magnús was the father of that mighty king.

notes and context

Five bishops witnessed the ordeal which Sigurðr underwent to prove his paternity. According to Fsk, Hkr and H-Hr, this took place in Denmark and was reported back in Norway by Sigurðr and his men. Mork places the ordeal in Palestine, citing this st., and later adds a second ordeal in Denmark with prose similar to that of the other versions but without the st. (Mork 1928-32, 412).

For ordeals in medieval Scandinavia, see ‘Gudsdom’ in KLNM 5, 545-55 and the references to legal sections in NGL V: járn 3; járnburðr; skírsl. Such ordeals were finally prohibited in all the Scandinavian countries in 1247 in connection with the visit of the papal legate William of Sabina. Several Norw. kings and noblemen of dubious paternity are said to have undergone ordeals. Haraldr gilli walked barefoot on nine red-hot ploughshares (Hkr, ÍF 28, 266 and n. 4) and the half-brother of Sverrir Sigurðarson, Jarl Eiríkr, carried red-hot iron (Sv, ÍF 30, 92-3), as did Erlingr steinveggr ‘Stonewall’, the son of Magnús Erlingsson (Bǫgl 1988, II, 23). The mother of Hákon Hákonarson, Inga of Varteig, was the last to carry glowing iron to prove the paternity of her son (Hák, E 1916, 496-8; Hákon was elected king of Norway in 1217). — [6-8]: The variant reading in the other mss can be construed as follows: at Magnús vas faðir þess ríks konungs ins milda ‘that Magnús was the father of that mighty, generous king’. However, this adjectival construction is extremely awkward (see NN §1154). It could well be that the variant entered Hkr and H-Hr from Fsk, perhaps caused by the similar wording in st. 13 (see also st. 36).



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: Ívarr Ingimundarson, Sigurðarbǫlkr 12: AI, 497, BI, 469, Skald I, 230, NN §1154; Mork 1867, 203, Mork 1928-32, 408, Andersson and Gade 2000, 368-9, 491 (Sslemb); ÍF 29, 326-7 (ch. 96); ÍF 28, 298 (MbHg ch. 13), F 1871, 322, E 1916, 178-9; Fms 7, 200 (MbHg ch. 17).


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