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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Ótt Hfl 12I

Matthew Townend (ed.) 2012, ‘Óttarr svarti, Hǫfuðlausn 12’ in Diana Whaley (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 1: From Mythical Times to c. 1035. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 1. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 756.

Óttarr svartiHǫfuðlausn

text and translation

Nôðuð ungr at eyða,
ógnteitr jǫfurr, Peitu;
reynduð, ræsir, steinda
rǫnd á Túskalandi.

Ógnteitr jǫfurr, nôðuð ungr at eyða Peitu; ræsir, reynduð steinda rǫnd á Túskalandi.
‘Battle-glad prince, you were able [when] young to lay waste to Poitou; ruler, you tested the stained shield in Touraine.

notes and context

Redirected northwards from Spain by a dream presaging his rule over Norway, Óláfr campaigns in Peita (Poitou).

Óláfr’s battles in Brittany and Spain are detailed in Sigv Víkv 10-13, quoted in ÓH and Hkr between Hfl 11 and 12, and his return to Leira (the Loire) and burning of a town called Varrandi in Peituland (Poitou) are depicted in Víkv 14, quoted immediately after Hfl 12. Snorri (ÍF 27, 27; ÓH 1941, I, 52) tells that after his battles in Poitou Óláfr remained for a while in Normandy, and this appears to be confirmed by William of Jumièges (van Houts 1992-5, II, 24-9), who records his baptism at the court of Duke Richard II; the tradition passed from William to Theodoricus (McDougall and McDougall 1998, 72 n. 102). — [1-4]: The prose order followed here is that of Kock (NN §729) and ÍF 27. Skj B’s proposed syntax is much more complexly interlaced, with ungr ‘young’ qualifying jǫfurr ‘prince’ and ógnteitr ‘battle-glad’ qualifying ræsir ‘ruler’. However, as Kock points out, the syntax and structure of the opening two lines of this stanza have a parallel in st. 3/1-2.



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: Óttarr svarti, 2. Hǫfuðlausn 12: AI, 293, BI, 270, Skald I, 139, NN §729; Hkr 1893-1901, II, 26, IV, 113-14, ÍF 27, 25 (ÓHHkr ch. 19); ÓH 1941, I, 50 (ch. 25), Flat 1860-8, II, 27.


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