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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Ív Sig 42II

Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2009, ‘Ívarr Ingimundarson, Sigurðarbálkr 42’ 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. 525-6.

Ívarr IngimundarsonSigurðarbálkr

text and translation

Varð á vatni        víkingr tekinn,
sás manna vas        mestr fullhugi.

Víkingr, sás vas mestr fullhugi manna, varð tekinn á vatni.
‘The viking, who was the most high-mettled of men, was captured in the water.

notes and context

After having jumped overboard, Sigurðr swam underwater and hid beneath a shield floating on the sea. There were many shields floating around, and his enemies did not know where he was. Finally they captured one of Sigurðr’s men who was also in the water and forced him to tell them under which shield Sigurðr was hiding.

Saxo (2005, II, 29, 3, pp. 314-15) also gives a vivid description of Sigurðr’s attempt to foil his enemies. According to him, Sigurðr jumped into the ocean and pulled off his clothes while under water. He tried to stay under as long as possible to make his enemies believe that he had drowned, but he finally had to come up for air. Exhausted from the cold, he was clinging to the rudder of a ship when he was discovered and captured.


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 43: AI, 502, BI, 475, Skald I, 233; Mork 1867, 220, Mork 1928-32, 435, Andersson and Gade 2000, 386, 494 (Sslemb).


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