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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Mark Eirdr 11II

Jayne Carroll (ed.) 2009, ‘Markús Skeggjason, Eiríksdrápa 11’ 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. 442-3.

Markús SkeggjasonEiríksdrápa

Eirekr náði útan fœra
erkistól of Saxa merki;
hljótum vér, þats hag várn bœtir,
hingat norðr at skjǫldungs orðum.

Eirekr náði fœra útan erkistól of merki Saxa; vér hljótum hingat norðr at orðum skjǫldungs, þats bœtir hag várn.

Eiríkr was able to bring back from abroad an archbishopric over the border of the Saxons; we receive here in the north according to the king’s bidding that which improves our [spiritual] situation.

Mss: (148), 873ˣ(50r), 20b I(7r-v), 180b(29v) (Knýtl)

Readings: [1] útan: útan at 180b    [3] hljótum: so 180b, hljótu JÓ, 873ˣ, 20b I    [4] at: so 20b I, 180b, af JÓ, 873ˣ

Editions: Skj AI, 447, Skj BI, 416, Skald I, 205; 1741, 148-9, ÍF 35, 219 (ch. 74).

Context: This helmingr and the next document Eiríkr’s good relations with Pope Paschalis (but see the Note to l. 2 below) and the Pope granting Eiríkr’s request to establish an archbishopric in Denmark.

Notes: [2] erkistól ‘an archbishopric’: An archbishopric for the Scandinavian countries was established in Lund (now in Sweden, then a part of Denmark) in 1104. Although Knýtl attributes this to Eiríkr’s relations with Pope Paschalis (1099-1118), in fact it was his relations with Pope Urban II (1088-99) that secured among other favours a Dan. archbishopric. Paschalis was merely carrying out the wishes of his predecessor. According to Saxo (2005, II, 12, 5, 2, pp. 72-5), Eiríkr secured the promises of the curia to establish the archbishopric in Denmark before he returned to his native country. — [2] of merki Saxa ‘over the border of the Saxons’: Refers to the transfer of the seat of ecclesiastical power from Hamburg-Bremen (Saxony) to Denmark. In the words of Saxo (2005, II, 12, 5, 2, p. 72): tum etiam patriam ac domestica sacra Saxonica pręlatione liberari petiuit ‘then indeed he pleaded for his native land and local churches to be liberated from Saxon supremacy’. — [4] at orðum skjǫldungs ‘according to the king’s bidding’: Lit. ‘according to the king’s words’. For skjǫldungr, see Note to st. 9/4 above.


  1. Bibliography
  2. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  3. ÍF 35 = Danakonunga sǫgur. Ed. Bjarni Guðnason. 1982.
  4. 1741 = Jón Ólafsson, ed. 1741. Æfi dana-konunga eda Knytlinga saga: Historia Cnutidarum regum Daniæ. Copenhagen: [n. p.].
  5. Internal references

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