Cookies on our website

We use cookies on this website, mainly to provide a secure browsing experience but also to collect statistics on how the website is used. You can find out more about the cookies we set, the information we store and how we use it on the cookies page.



Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

Menu Search

Ótt Hfl 7I

Matthew Townend (ed.) 2012, ‘Óttarr svarti, Hǫfuðlausn 7’ 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. 749.

Óttarr svartiHǫfuðlausn

text and translation

Gildir, komt at gjaldi
gotneskum her, flotna;
þorðut þér at varða
þjóðlǫnd firar rǫndu.
Rann, en maðr of minna
margr býr of þrek (varga
hungr frák austr) an yngvi,
Eysýslu lið (þeyja).

{Gildir flotna}, komt gotneskum her at gjaldi; firar þorðut at varða þér þjóðlǫnd rǫndu. Lið Eysýslu rann, en margr maðr býr of minna of þrek an yngvi; frák hungr varga þeyja austr.
‘Supporter of seafarers [RULER], you forced the Gotland host to [pay] tribute; the men did not dare to defend the nation’s lands against you with the shield. The people of Saaremaa ran, and many a man possesses less courage than the king; I heard the hunger of the wolves to be diminished in the east.

notes and context

Óláfr proceeds to Gotland and prepares to raid there, but the Gotlanders send a delegation with an offer of tribute which is accepted.

The attack on Eysýsla (Saaremaa), though not on Gotland, is also commemorated in Sigv Víkv 2. — [3-4]: The A-class mss of ÓH read instead þorðut þér at varða | þat land, jǫfurr, brandi ‘they did not dare to defend that land against you, prince, with the sword’. — [5-8]: The Prose order above follows that of ÍF 27. Skj B takes the clause following en ‘and/but’ to be frák ... ‘I heard ...’ rather than margr maðr ... ‘many a man ’. Kock (NN §726) adopts the reading þeysa ‘to make rush’ for þeyja (and hinn for an), and construes hinn yngvi rann lið Eysýslu þeysa, with a proposed meaning ‘the king went to put the people of Eysýsla to flight’ (but see NN §2780 for second thoughts). One problem with this is that it leaves frák … without an inf. (‘I heard about the wolves’ hunger in the east’), and the construction renna ‘run, go’ + þeysa ‘make rush’ does not convince. — [8] Eysýsla ‘Saaremaa’: Lit. ‘Island-district’. The Estonian island known as Ösel in Swedish.



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 6: AI, 291, BI, 269, Skald I, 138, NN §§726, 2780; Hkr 1893-1901, II, 10-11, IV, 106-7, ÍF 27, 9 (ÓHHkr ch. 7); ÓH 1941, I, 39 (ch. 22), Flat 1860-8, II, 17 .


Log in

This service is only available to members of the relevant projects, and to purchasers of the skaldic volumes published by Brepols.
This service uses cookies. By logging in you agree to the use of cookies on your browser.


Stanza/chapter/text segment

Use the buttons at the top of the page to navigate between stanzas in a poem.

Information tab

Interactive tab

The text and translation are given here, with buttons to toggle whether the text is shown in the verse order or prose word order. Clicking on indiviudal words gives dictionary links, variant readings, kennings and notes, where relevant.

Full text tab

This is the text of the edition in a similar format to how the edition appears in the printed volumes.

Chapter/text segment

This view is also used for chapters and other text segments. Not all the headings shown are relevant to such sections.