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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Mark Eirdr 24II

Jayne Carroll (ed.) 2009, ‘Markús Skeggjason, Eiríksdrápa 24’ 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. 453-4.

Markús SkeggjasonEiríksdrápa
232425

Blíðan ‘the pleasant’

blíðr (adj.; °n. sg. nom. & acc. blítt/blíðt; compar. -ari, superl. -astr): gentle, happy

[1] Blíðan: blíðum 180b

kennings

blíðan hlýra Bjarnar
‘the pleasant brother of Bjǫrn ’
   = Eiríkr

the pleasant brother of Bjǫrn → Eiríkr
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gœddi ‘endowed’

gœða (verb): endow

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Bjarnar ‘of Bjǫrn’

bjǫrn (noun m.; °bjarnar, dat. birni; birnir, acc. bjǫrnu): bear, Bjǫrn

kennings

blíðan hlýra Bjarnar
‘the pleasant brother of Bjǫrn ’
   = Eiríkr

the pleasant brother of Bjǫrn → Eiríkr

notes

[2] hlýri Bjarnar ‘the brother of Bjǫrn [= Eiríkr]’: According to Saxo (2005, II, 12, 3, 6, pp. 70-1), Bjǫrn Sveinsson, Eiríkr’s brother, was murdered at a legal assembly in southern Denmark. For hlýri ‘brother’, see Note to st. 10/1 above.

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hlýra ‘brother’

hlýri (noun m.): brother

kennings

blíðan hlýra Bjarnar
‘the pleasant brother of Bjǫrn ’
   = Eiríkr

the pleasant brother of Bjǫrn → Eiríkr

notes

[2] hlýri Bjarnar ‘the brother of Bjǫrn [= Eiríkr]’: According to Saxo (2005, II, 12, 3, 6, pp. 70-1), Bjǫrn Sveinsson, Eiríkr’s brother, was murdered at a legal assembly in southern Denmark. For hlýri ‘brother’, see Note to st. 10/1 above.

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Frakklands ‘of France’

Frakkland (noun n.): [France]

kennings

Stýrir Frakklands
‘The ruler of France ’
   = Philip I

The ruler of France → Philip I

notes

[2] stýrir Frakklands ‘the ruler of France [= Philip I]’: Philip ruled 1052-1108. Foote (1975, 70-1 and n. 50) equates this ruler with Emperor Henry IV (see Note to l. 4 below). While Foote’s argumentation is persuasive, the Knýtl prose does make a distinction between the two here, and that distinction is maintained in the present edn. Frakkland denoted the kingdom of the Franks, which did not extend as far east as modern France. Foote (1975, 69) defines Frakkland as ‘the territory which to the west and north-west was bordered by Valland (Normandy and the lower Seine region), Flæmingjaland (Flanders), Frísland (Frisia), to the north-east by Saxland and to the south-east by Langbarðaland (Lombardy)’.

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stýrir ‘The ruler’

stýrir (noun m.): ruler, controller

kennings

Stýrir Frakklands
‘The ruler of France ’
   = Philip I

The ruler of France → Philip I

notes

[2] stýrir Frakklands ‘the ruler of France [= Philip I]’: Philip ruled 1052-1108. Foote (1975, 70-1 and n. 50) equates this ruler with Emperor Henry IV (see Note to l. 4 below). While Foote’s argumentation is persuasive, the Knýtl prose does make a distinction between the two here, and that distinction is maintained in the present edn. Frakkland denoted the kingdom of the Franks, which did not extend as far east as modern France. Foote (1975, 69) defines Frakkland as ‘the territory which to the west and north-west was bordered by Valland (Normandy and the lower Seine region), Flæmingjaland (Flanders), Frísland (Frisia), to the north-east by Saxland and to the south-east by Langbarðaland (Lombardy)’.

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stórar ‘the great’

stórr (adj.): large, great

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lét ‘found’

láta (verb): let, have sth done

[3] lét: leit 180b

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randgarðs ‘of the shield-wall’

randgarðr (noun m.): shield-wall

kennings

rýrir randgarðs
‘the diminisher of the shield-wall ’
   = WARRIOR

the diminisher of the shield-wall → WARRIOR

notes

[3] randgarðs ‘of the shield-wall’: See Note to st. 18/1 above.

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rýrir ‘the diminisher’

rýrir (noun m.): diminsher, destroyer

kennings

rýrir randgarðs
‘the diminisher of the shield-wall ’
   = WARRIOR

the diminisher of the shield-wall → WARRIOR
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ríks ‘of the powerful’

ríkr (adj.): mighty, powerful, rich

kennings

ríks keisara.
‘of the powerful emperor. ’
   = Henry IV

the powerful emperor. → Henry IV

notes

[4] ríks keisara ‘of the powerful emperor’: The saga assumes that this emperor is Henry IV, although the poem itself does not make this explicit.

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keisara ‘emperor’

keisari (noun m.; °-a; -ar): emperor

kennings

ríks keisara.
‘of the powerful emperor. ’
   = Henry IV

the powerful emperor. → Henry IV

notes

[4] ríks keisara ‘of the powerful emperor’: The saga assumes that this emperor is Henry IV, although the poem itself does not make this explicit.

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gjafir ‘gifts’

gjǫf (noun f.): gift

notes

[4] gjafir ‘gifts’: So all mss. Inflected as a f. i-stem here (see ANG §375). Other eds emend to gjafar ‘gifts’ (inflected as a f. ō-stem).

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líka ‘pleased with’

2. líka (adv.): likewise, also

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lét ‘gave’

láta (verb): let, have sth done

[5] lét: leit 180b

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hervígs ‘battle’

hervíg (noun n.): warfare

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harra ‘of lords’

1. harri (noun m.; °-a): lord

[6] harra: ‘hara’ 180b

kennings

Spjalli harra
‘The companion of lords ’
   = RULER = Henry IV

The companion of lords → RULER = Henry IV
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spjalli ‘The companion’

spjalli (noun m.): confidant

kennings

Spjalli harra
‘The companion of lords ’
   = RULER = Henry IV

The companion of lords → RULER = Henry IV
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láðmenn ‘guides’

láðmaðr (noun m.): guide

notes

[6] láðmenn ‘guides’: Attested in poetry with certainty only here, and apparantly a loanword from OE lāðmann ‘guide’ (see LP: láðmaðr).

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snjalla ‘brave’

snjallr (adj.): quick, resourceful, bold

[6] snjalla: alla 180b

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alla ‘all’

allr (adj.): all

[7] alla: snjalla 180b

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ǫðlingr ‘the noble leader’

ǫðlingr (noun m.; °; -ar): prince, ruler

kennings

ǫðlingr grundar Jóta
‘the noble leader of the land of the Jótar ’
   = Eiríkr

the land of the Jótar → Denmark
the noble leader of DENMARK → Eiríkr
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Jóta ‘of the Jótar’

jóti (noun m.; °; -ar): one of the Jótar

kennings

ǫðlingr grundar Jóta
‘the noble leader of the land of the Jótar ’
   = Eiríkr

the land of the Jótar → Denmark
the noble leader of DENMARK → Eiríkr
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Jóta ‘of the Jótar’

jóti (noun m.; °; -ar): one of the Jótar

kennings

ǫðlingr grundar Jóta
‘the noble leader of the land of the Jótar ’
   = Eiríkr

the land of the Jótar → Denmark
the noble leader of DENMARK → Eiríkr
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grundar ‘of the land’

grund (noun f.): earth, land

kennings

ǫðlingr grundar Jóta
‘the noble leader of the land of the Jótar ’
   = Eiríkr

the land of the Jótar → Denmark
the noble leader of DENMARK → Eiríkr
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grundar ‘of the land’

grund (noun f.): earth, land

kennings

ǫðlingr grundar Jóta
‘the noble leader of the land of the Jótar ’
   = Eiríkr

the land of the Jótar → Denmark
the noble leader of DENMARK → Eiríkr
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Césars ‘Caesar’

notes

[8] Césars ‘Caesar’: The Byzantine emperor Alexios I Komnenos (r. 1081-1118).

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fundi ‘meet’

fundr (noun m.): discovery, meeting

[8] fundi: ‘fynnde’ 180b

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Interactive view: tap on words in the text for notes and glosses

This st. is cited after the narrative of Eiríkr’s decision to go to Jerusalem, to support the saga’s account of gifts received from the Frankish king and Eiríkr’s renewed good terms with the Saxon emperor Henry IV.

Knýtl (ÍF 35, 232-3) provides no overt motivation for Eiríkr’s decision to embark on a journey to Jerusalem. According to Saxo (2005, II, 12, 6, 1-4, pp. 74-7), Eiríkr, a man of exceptional physical strength, had, at a moment of temporary insanity induced by a lyre-playing minstrel, killed four of his retainers. When he came to his senses, he decided to go on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem to atone for his sins. A veiled reference to the reasons behind Eiríkr’s pilgrimage is provided in st. 26/1-4 below. — [5]: 20b I ends with the first element of the cpd her-.

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