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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Sigv ErfÓl 8I

Judith Jesch (ed.) 2012, ‘Sigvatr Þórðarson, Erfidrápa Óláfs helga 8’ 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. 674.

Sigvatr ÞórðarsonErfidrápa Óláfs helga

text and translation

Ǫld vann Ôleifr fellda
(ǫflgan sigr) inn digri
(gekk sóknþorinn sœkja
synjór framm í brynju).
En, þeirs austan nenna,
— óx hildr — með gram mildum
— mart segik bert — í bjarta
blóðrǫst Svíar óðu.

Ôleifr inn digri vann fellda ǫld; sóknþorinn synjór gekk framm í brynju sœkja ǫflgan sigr. En Svíar, þeirs nenna austan, óðu í bjarta blóðrǫst með mildum gram; hildr óx; segik mart bert.
‘Óláfr inn digri (‘the Stout’) cut down men; the battle-daring seigneur advanced in his mail-shirt to seek a powerful victory. And the Swedes, who travel from the east, waded into the bright current of blood alongside the gracious prince; battle intensified; I say much plainly.

notes and context

King Óláfr’s armour and weapons at the battle of Stiklastaðir (Stiklestad) are described.

[1-4]: (a) The present edn (with ÍF 27 and Hkr 1991) retains the version of l. 2 found in the main ms. and all other mss but one. This entails taking sœkja ǫflgan sigr ‘seek a powerful victory’ together, although it would be natural to read sœkja framm as an intransitive phrase meaning ‘advance’. (b) Finnur Jónsson (Skj B) and Kock (Skald; NN §660) prefer the reading opt vann sigr ‘he often won victory’ in l. 2, but since this is found only in 61 it is clearly secondary, and the repetition of vann from l. 1 may indicate corruption. Despite this common starting-point, the two eds construe the lines differently. Finnur Jónsson takes sóknþorinn ‘(the) battle-daring (one)’ (l. 3) as the subject of vann ‘won’ (l. 2). Kock argues that the helmingr consists of three end-stopped sentences (l. 1, l. 2, and ll. 3-4), with inn digri ‘the Stout (one)’ (l. 2) as the subject of vann, but there are no parallels to Óláfr being referred to by his epithet alone.



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 8: AI, 259, BI, 241, Skald I, 125, NN §660; Hkr 1893-1901, II, 470, IV, 166, ÍF 27, 367-8, Hkr 1991, II, 520-1 (ÓHHkr ch. 213); ÓH 1941, I, 554 (ch. 210), Flat 1860-8, II, 346; Jón Skaptason 1983, 163, 303.


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