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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Sigv ErfÓl 18I

Judith Jesch (ed.) 2012, ‘Sigvatr Þórðarson, Erfidrápa Óláfs helga 18’ 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. 686.

Sigvatr ÞórðarsonErfidrápa Óláfs helga

text and translation

Bjǫrn frák auk af œrnum
endr stǫllurum kenndu
hug, hvé halda dugði
— hann sótti framm — dróttin.
Fell í her með hollum
hann verðungar mǫnnum;
leyfðrs at hilmis hǫfði
hróðrauðigs sá dauði.

Frák auk Bjǫrn endr kenndu stǫllurum af œrnum hug, hvé dugði halda dróttin; hann sótti framm. Hann fell í her með hollum mǫnnum verðungar; sá dauði at hǫfði hróðrauðigs hilmis [e]s leyfðr.
‘I have heard also how Bjǫrn at that time taught the marshals, with abundant courage, how it was fitting to protect their lord; he pressed forward. He fell in the army with the loyal men of the retinue; that death at the head of the fame-rich leader is praised.

notes and context

The close fighting continues at Stiklastaðir (Stiklestad) between the king with his defenders (including Bjǫrn stallari ‘the Marshal’) and a small group of opponents. Bjǫrn attacks, but is killed by, Þórir hundr. Óláfr is then felled by three different blows and most of his troop also die. BjHall Kálffl 5 is cited as a witness to Kálfr Árnason’s role, then this stanza concerning Bjǫrn.

[5-8]: This helmingr is taken as two independent clauses with relatively natural word order, following Kock (NN §§620, 665). At hǫfði hróðrauðigs hilmis ‘at the head of the fame-rich leader’ is taken here with sá dauði ‘that death’. It could alternatively be taken with hann fell ‘he fell’ in ll. 5-6 (so Skj B; ÍF 27).



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: Sigvatr Þórðarson, 12. Erfidrápa Óláfs helga 18: AI, 261-2, BI, 243, Skald I, 126, NN §§620, 665, 1116, 1121, 1825, 1879, 2478, 2480D; Hkr 1893-1901, II, 494-5, IV, 171, ÍF 27, 386, Hkr 1991, II, 534 (ÓHHkr ch. 228); ÓH 1941, I, 575 (ch. 226), Flat 1860-8, II, 357; Jón Skaptason 1983, 173, 307.


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