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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Sigv Erlfl 9I

Judith Jesch (ed.) 2012, ‘Sigvatr Þórðarson, Flokkr about Erlingr Skjálgsson 9’ 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. 640.

Sigvatr ÞórðarsonFlokkr about Erlingr Skjálgsson
8910

Erlingr vas svá at jarla
ôtt, es skjǫldungr máttit,
Ôleifs mágr, svát œgði,
aldyggs sonar Tryggva.
Næst gaf sína systur
snarr búþegna harri
(Ulfs feðr vas þat) aðra
(aldrgipta) Rǫgnvaldi.

Erlingr, mágr Ôleifs, aldyggs sonar Tryggva, vas svá at ôtt jarla, svát œgði, es skjǫldungr máttit. Næst gaf {snarr harri búþegna} aðra systur sína Rǫgnvaldi; þat vas aldrgipta {feðr Ulfs}.

Erlingr, brother-in-law of Óláfr, the very worthy son of Tryggvi, behaved in such a way against the kin of the jarls, that he terrified [them], which the king [Óláfr Tryggvason] could not. Next {the keen chief of landowners} [RULER = Óláfr] gave his other sister to Rǫgn valdr; that was the luck of his life for {Úlfr’s father} [= Rǫgnvaldr].

Mss: (230v) (Hkr); Holm2(8v), R686ˣ(16r), J1ˣ(146r), J2ˣ(126v), 321ˣ(38), 325VI(7ra), 73aˣ(25r), 78aˣ(25r), 68(8r), 61(81va-b), 75c(6r), 325V(11ra-b), Bb(130va), Tóm(98r-v) (ÓH); 61(70rb), 53(67ra), 54(68va), 325VIII 2 g(2va), Bb(104ra), Flat(71vb) (ÓT)

Readings: [1] Erlingr vas svá at: ‘[…]ling[…]’ Tóm;    Erlingr: Eiríkr R686ˣ;    svá at: svá 53;    jarla: jarlar 321ˣ, 73aˣ, 78aˣ, jarli 68    [2] ôtt: ‘att’ corrected from ‘eatt’ Holm2, ‘fatt’ Tóm;    es (‘er’): erat J1ˣ, J2ˣ, om. 321ˣ, 325VI, 73aˣ, 78aˣ, 61(81va), 325V, sér Tóm;    skjǫldungr: skjǫldunga 321ˣ, 325VI, 73aˣ, 78aˣ, 61(81va), 325V, skjǫldr Tóm;    máttit: mátti 321ˣ, 325VI, 73aˣ, 78aˣ    [3] svát (‘sva at’): ok 73aˣ, at 68, 61(81va), Flat, svá 53;    œgði: œgðit R686ˣ, 61(70rb), 54, 325VIII 2 g, Bb(104ra), ‘ægðr’ J1ˣ, œgja 321ˣ, 325VI, 73aˣ, 78aˣ, ‘egþi’ 68, ‘ęgðirr’ 53    [4] ‑dyggs: ‘‑dugs’ 75c, Bb(130va), ‑dýrs 54, 325VIII 2 g, Bb(104ra);    Tryggva: ‘trygg(i)a’(?) 325VI, om. 78aˣ, ‘tryggia’ 54    [6] harri: ‘harr⸜i⸝a’ 325V, hjarri 54    [7] Ulfs feðr vas þat: Ulfs varat æðra 61(81va), ulfseðjandi Bb(130va), ‘vlfs uaradar’ Tóm, þat var yðr en 61(70rb), 53, 54, 325VIII 2 g, Bb(104ra);    Ulfs: ‘evlfs’ Flat;    feðr: om. Holm2, 68, 325V, son R686ˣ, J1ˣ, J2ˣ, nið 321ˣ, 325VI, 73aˣ, 78aˣ;    vas þat (‘var þat’): var þar J2ˣ, var þat enn 68, varðaðar 325V, Flat;    aðra: arfa 61(81va), æðra Bb(104ra)    [8] Rǫgnvaldi: Ragnhildi 325V, Tóm

Editions: Skj AI, 246, Skj BI, 230, Skald I, 119-20, NN §§643, 644, 1853D, 1854B; Hkr 1893-1901, II, 29, IV, 114, ÍF 27, 28, Hkr 1991, I, 268-9 (ÓHHkr ch. 22); ÓH 1941, I, 60 (ch. 30), Flat 1860-8, I, 537; ÓT 1958-2000, II, 302 (ch. 261); Jón Skaptason 1983, 121, 266-7.

Context: Erlingr Skjálgsson continues to exact land-tax from the territory in Rogaland awarded him by King Óláfr Tryggvason, despite competition from Eiríkr jarl Hákonarson.

Notes: [All]: The stanza stands apart from the preceding ones, which narrate Erlingr’s last stand and death; see Introduction. Jón Helgason (1936) made a compelling argument for regarding this stanza as containing two helmingar from two originally different stanzas. He suggested that ll. 1-4 originally belonged to a stanza about Erlingr, in which the (now lost) second helmingr recorded that Sveinn jarl married his daughter to Erlingr’s son Áslákr, while ll. 5-8 belonged to a stanza about Óláfr Tryggvason and were preceded by a helmingr about Óláfr marrying his sister to Erlingr Skjálgsson. However, they have been kept here as a single stanza since they are considered as such in the sagas of both Óláfr Tryggvason and Óláfr helgi, across a wide range of mss. Arguably, too, the two helmingar are sufficiently connected by the theme of marriage alliances made by Óláfr Tryggvason, which has the effect of assigning the same prestige to Erlingr as to Rǫgnvaldr Úlfsson (on whom, see Note to ll. 7, 8 below). The stanza summarises two of the salient reasons for Erlingr’s enormous power and influence, his political alliances and the force of his personality, and was interpreted as such by Snorri (ÍF 27, 28-9), who notes that Eiríkr jarl made no effort to fight Erlingr because he had many important relatives and was powerful and popular. — [1-4]: This rather convoluted statement is interpreted, following Jón Helgason (1936, 317) and Kock (NN §643), to mean that Erlingr was able to intimidate the jarls of Hlaðir (Lade), here Eiríkr in particular, even though they had been sufficiently powerful to overcome Óláfr Tryggvason. The verb máttit ‘could not’ (l. 2, inf. mega) could be used absolutely (LP: mega) in the sense ‘to have power or capacity’, but it is more likely to refer to vas svá ‘behaved in such a way’ (l. 1) or œgði ‘terrified’ (l. 3), or indeed both, giving the sense that Óláfr Tryggvason could not deal with the jarls in the way that Erlingr did. The main alternative construal (Skj B) involves a highly artificial word order that is heavily criticised by Kock (NN §643). — [1]: The line is metrically unusual: a Type A-line with ‑lingr unstressed and neutralisation of svá at in the dip, but there is no reason to suspect corruption. — [6] búþegna ‘of landowners’: Sigvatr uses the phrase bú þegna in Berv 11/2II, where it most likely means ‘livestock of your subjects’, though a cpd meaning ‘farmers’ is also a possible reading. Here, the cpd is the only possible reading and the word þegn implies not so much their agricultural role as their relationship, for both good and ill, with the growing royal power in C11th Norway (Jesch 1993a, 167-9; Syrett 2000, 263-5). — [7] feðr Ulfs ‘Úlfr’s father [= Rǫgnvaldr]’: Rǫgnvaldr Úlfsson, jarl of Gautland (Götaland), seemingly visited by Sigvatr on the journey described in Sigv Austv. Rǫgnvaldr was married to Ingibjǫrg, sister of Óláfr Tryggvason (see ÍF 27, 85). The Úlfr named in Austv 19/8, 20/1 is probably his son (see Notes).

References

  1. Bibliography
  2. Skj B = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1912-15b. Den norsk-islandske skjaldedigtning. B: Rettet tekst. 2 vols. Copenhagen: Villadsen & Christensen. Rpt. 1973. Copenhagen: Rosenkilde & Bagger.
  3. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  4. NN = Kock, Ernst Albin. 1923-44. Notationes Norrœnæ: Anteckningar till Edda och skaldediktning. Lunds Universitets årsskrift new ser. 1. 28 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  5. LP = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1931. Lexicon poeticum antiquæ linguæ septentrionalis: Ordbog over det norsk-islandske skjaldesprog oprindelig forfattet af Sveinbjörn Egilsson. 2nd edn. Copenhagen: Møller.
  6. Flat 1860-8 = Gudbrand Vigfusson [Guðbrandur Vigfússon] and C. R. Unger, eds. 1860-8. Flateyjarbók. En samling af norske konge-sagaer med indskudte mindre fortællinger om begivenheder i og udenfor Norge samt annaler. 3 vols. Christiania (Oslo): Malling.
  7. ÓH 1941 = Johnsen, Oscar Albert and Jón Helgason, eds. 1941. Saga Óláfs konungs hins helga: Den store saga om Olav den hellige efter pergamenthåndskrift i Kungliga biblioteket i Stockholm nr. 2 4to med varianter fra andre håndskrifter. 2 vols. Det norske historiske kildeskriftfond skrifter 53. Oslo: Dybwad.
  8. ÍF 26-8 = Heimskringla. Ed. Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson. 1941-51.
  9. Hkr 1893-1901 = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1893-1901. Heimskringla: Nóregs konunga sǫgur af Snorri Sturluson. 4 vols. SUGNL 23. Copenhagen: Møller.
  10. Hkr 1991 = Bergljót S. Kristjánsdóttir et al., eds. 1991. Heimskringla. 3 vols. Reykjavík: Mál og menning.
  11. Jesch, Judith. 1993a. ‘Skaldic Verse and Viking Semantics’. In Faulkes et al. 1993, 160-71.
  12. Jón Skaptason. 1983. ‘Material for an Edition and Translation of the Poems of Sigvat Þórðarson, skáld’. Ph.D. thesis. State University of New York at Stony Brook. DAI 44: 3681A.
  13. ÓT 1958-2000 = Ólafur Halldórsson, ed. 1958-2000. Saga Óláfs Tryggvasonar en mesta. 3 vols. EA A 1-3. Copenhagen: Munksgaard (Reitzel).
  14. Jón Helgason. 1936. ‘En vers i Heimskringla’. In Bidrag til nordisk filologi tillägnade Emil Olson den 9 juni 1936. Lund: Gleerup, 316-18.
  15. Syrett, Martin. 2000. ‘Drengs and Thegns Again’. SBVS 25, 243-71.
  16. Internal references
  17. Diana Whaley 2012, ‘(Biography of) Óláfr Tryggvason’ 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. 383.
  18. Not published: do not cite (ÓHHkrI)
  19. R. D. Fulk 2012, ‘(Introduction to) Sigvatr Þórðarson, Austrfararvísur’ 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. 578.
  20. R. D. Fulk (ed.) 2012, ‘Sigvatr Þórðarson, Austrfararvísur 19’ 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. 609.
  21. Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2009, ‘Sigvatr Þórðarson, Bersǫglisvísur 11’ in Kari Ellen Gade (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 2: From c. 1035 to c. 1300. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 2. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 22-3.
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