Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Mark Eirdr 7II

Jayne Carroll (ed.) 2009, ‘Markús Skeggjason, Eiríksdrápa 7’ 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, p. 439.

Markús SkeggjasonEiríksdrápa

Hróðigr átti brynþings beiðir
bjartan auð ok frœknligt hjarta
minni gnógt ok manvit annat
mest; fylgðu því hvergi lestir.
Alla hafði ǫðlingr snilli;
ungr nam hann á margar tungur;
Eirekr vas, sás mátti meira,
mestr ofrhugi, jǫfri flestum.

{Hróðigr beiðir {brynþings}} átti bjartan auð ok frœknligt hjarta, gnógt minni ok mest annat manvit; lestir fylgðu hvergi því. Ǫðlingr hafði alla snilli; ungr nam hann á margar tungur; Eirekr, sás mátti meira flestum jǫfri, vas mestr ofrhugi.

{The famed convenor {of the byrnie-meeting}} [BATTLE > WARRIOR] had bright wealth and a brave heart, abundant memory and other common sense to the highest degree; flaws did not accompany that. The ruler had absolute eloquence; when young he learned many languages; Eiríkr, who could do more than most princes, was the most courageous.

Mss: (146), 873ˣ(49r), 20b I(7r), 180b(29v) (Knýtl)

Readings: [1] brynþings: byrðings 180b    [2] frœknligt: ‘frøklikt’ 20b I, ‘freglikt’ 180b    [3] gnógt: ‘nogt’ 20b I    [4] fylgðu: so 20b I, 180b, fylgði JÓ, 873ˣ    [6] á: om. 20b I, 180b

Editions: Skj AI, 446, Skj BI, 415, Skald I, 205; 1741, 146-7, ÍF 35, 217 (ch. 73).

Context: Eiríkr’s personal qualities of intelligence, courage and eloquence.

Notes: [All]: According to Saxo (2005, II, 12, 3, 2-3, pp. 66-9), Eiríkr had a superior intellect, he was very eloquent and an excellent speaker at assemblies. Saxo also emphasises his great stature and physical strength. — [1] brynþings ‘of the byrnie-meeting’: 180b offers the alternative reading byrðings (m. gen. sg.) ‘of the ship’, giving the kenning beiðir byrðings ‘bidder/demander of the ship’, i.e. ‘seafarer’ (cf. Anon Pl 38/7VII). — [6] ungr nam hann á margar tungur ‘when young he learned many languages’: Lit. ‘he learned in many languages’. According to Knýtl (ÍF 35, 219), Eiríkr did not need an interpreter when he travelled abroad. For the ‘foreign language requirement’ in ON literature, see Kalinke 1983.


  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. Kalinke, Marianne E. 1983. ‘The Foreign Language Requirement in Medieval Icelandic Romance’. MLR 78, 850-61.
  6. Internal references
  7. Jonna Louis-Jensen and Tarrin Wills (eds) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Plácitusdrápa 38’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 204-5.

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