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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Ótt Knútdr 10I

Matthew Townend (ed.) 2012, ‘Óttarr svarti, Knútsdrápa 10’ 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. 779.

Óttarr svartiKnútsdrápa

text and translation

Skjǫldungr, vannt und skildi
skœru verk, inn sterki;
fekk blóðtrani bráðir
brúnar Assatúnum.
Vátt, en valfall þótti
verðung, jǫfurr, sverði,
nær fyr norðan stóru
nafn gnógt Danaskóga.

Inn sterki Skjǫldungr, vannt verk skœru und skildi; {blóðtrani} fekk brúnar bráðir Assatúnum. Jǫfurr, vátt gnógt nafn stóru sverði nær fyr norðan Danaskóga, en þótti verðung valfall.
‘Strong Skjǫldungr, you performed a feat of battle under the shield; the blood-crane [RAVEN/EAGLE] received dark morsels at Ashingdon. Prince, you won by fighting a great enough name with a mighty sword nearby to the north of the Forest of Dean, and it seemed a slaughter to the retinue.

notes and context

The stanza follows a brief notice of the great battle of Assatún (Ashingdon).

For the sequencing of sts 8-10 in this edn, see Introduction. — [1-4]: The syntax can be construed in two ways: (a) The helmingr splits into two clauses of two lines each, with Assatúnum ‘at Ashingdon’ qualifying the ‘raven/eagle’ clause; this construal is adopted here as being more in keeping with Óttarr’s couplet-based syntax in this poem. (b) Assatúnum ‘at Ashingdon’ could be taken with ll. 1-2 so that the focus on Knútr’s activities spans the helmingr and fekk blóðtrani brúnar bráðir ‘the blood-crane [RAVEN/EAGLE] received dark morsels’ is an intercalary clause (so previous eds). — [5-8]: On the geography and chronology of this second helmingr, see Poole (1987, 275-6). Following the battle of Ashingdon, Knútr and Eadmund came to terms at Alney in Gloucestershire (ASC s. a. 1016), but English sources (unlike Óttarr: see Note to l. 8 Danaskóga) do not record any further fighting in that region.



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, 3. Knútsdrápa 8: AI, 297-8, BI, 274, Skald I, 140, NN §738; Fms 11, 195, Fms 12, 249, SHI 11, 183, Knýtl 1919-25, 43, ÍF 35, 112-13 (ch. 12).


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