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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Sigv Knútdr 8I

Matthew Townend (ed.) 2012, ‘Sigvatr Þórðarson, Knútsdrápa 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. 659.

Sigvatr ÞórðarsonKnútsdrápa

Ok bôru í byr
blô segl við rô
— dýr vas dǫglings fǫr —
drekar landreka.
En, þeirs kómu,
kilir, vestan til,
of leið liðu
Limafjarðar brim.

Ok drekar landreka bôru blô segl við rô í byr; fǫr dǫglings vas dýr. En kilir, þeirs kómu til vestan, liðu brim Limafjarðar of leið.

And the dragon-ships of the land-ruler [Knútr] carried dark sails against the yard in the favouring wind; the sovereign’s journey was glorious. And the keels which arrived there from the west travelled the surf of Limfjorden on their way.

Mss: (407r), 325XI 1(3va) (Hkr); Holm2(51r), J2ˣ(195v), 321ˣ(182), 73aˣ(158r-v), 68(49r), Holm4(45va), 61(111va), 325V(57va), Bb(180vb), Flat(114vb), Tóm(137v) (ÓH); FskBˣ(46r) (Fsk); DG8(92r) (ÓHLeg)

Readings: [2] blô: blô var 321ˣ    [3] dýr: ‘dy’ Holm2;    vas: om. Flat;    fǫr: ‘[…]or’ 325XI 1    [4] drekar: dreka 73aˣ, 68, 325V, Bb, Flat;    land‑: ‘lan‑’ 325V;    ‑reka: rekar Tóm, DG8    [5] En: ok FskBˣ, DG8;    þeirs (‘þeir er’): þeir J2ˣ, 321ˣ, þá 73aˣ, ‘þieir er’ FskBˣ, þar DG8    [7] of (‘vm’): ok um Holm4, vôru Flat;    leið: ‘[…]eið’ 325XI 1    [8] brim: brimi 61, til DG8

Editions: Skj AI, 250, Skj BI, 233-4, Skald I, 121, NN §650; Hkr 1893-1901, II, 353, IV, 145, ÍF 27, 274 (ÓHHkr ch. 147); ÓH 1941, I, 428 (ch. 137), Flat 1860-8, II, 277; Fsk 1902-3, 162 (ch. 27), ÍF 29, 183-4 (ch. 32); ÓHLeg 1922, 59-60, ÓHLeg 1982, 142-3.

Context: See Context to st. 7 above. 

Notes: [3] vas dýr ‘was glorious’: Here as elsewhere Skald reads pres. tense es ‘is’ and elides (dýr’s), in order to preserve a strictly four-syllable line, but there is no ms. authority for this. — [4] drekar ‘the dragon-ships’: Ships with dragons’ heads carved on their prows, for which there is archaeological evidence. Jesch (2001a, 127-8) sees dreki as a poetic term (of which this appears to be the earliest skaldic example) rather than a technical term referring to a particular type of warship. — [6] til ‘there’: The fact that til ‘to’ is stressed here suggests that it has an adverbial function, hence kómu til ‘arrived there’, rather than being a prep. governing Limafjarðar ‘Limfjorden’. — [8] Limafjarðar ‘of Limfjorden’: Limfjorden is a major fjord in the north of Jutland, running approximately west-east from the North Sea to the Kattegat, between Vendsyssel and the rest of Jutland. It had silted up from the west by Saxo Grammaticus’s day (Saxo 2005, II, 11, 13, 5, pp. 48-9), but from evidence including the present stanza and Þloft Tøgdr 1/5, 6 it appears to have been fully navigable in the eleventh century (ÍF 28, 140 n.) — [8] brim Limafjarðar ‘the surf of Limfjorden’: Finnur Jónsson (Skj B, followed by ÓHLeg 1982) assumes tmesis, taking brim and leið (l. 7) together to form a cpd brimleið, hence ‘(travelled on) the surf-way, sea’. Kock (NN §650) takes leið Limafjarðar together, hence ‘on the Limfjorden-way’.


  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. Jesch, Judith. 2001a. Ships and Men in the Late Viking Age: The Vocabulary of Runic Inscriptions and Skaldic Verse. Woodbridge: Boydell.
  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. ÓHLeg 1982 = Heinrichs, Anne et al., eds and trans. 1982. Olafs saga hins helga: Die ‘Legendarische Saga’ über Olaf den Heiligen (Hs. Delagard. saml. nr. 8II). Heidelberg: Winter.
  9. ÍF 26-8 = Heimskringla. Ed. Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson. 1941-51.
  10. Hkr 1893-1901 = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1893-1901. Heimskringla: Nóregs konunga sǫgur af Snorri Sturluson. 4 vols. SUGNL 23. Copenhagen: Møller.
  11. Fsk 1902-3 = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1902-3. Fagrskinna: Nóregs kononga tal. SUGNL 30. Copenhagen: Møller.
  12. ÍF 29 = Ágrip af Nóregskonunga sǫgum; Fagrskinna—Nóregs konungatal. Ed. Bjarni Einarsson. 1985.
  13. ÓHLeg 1922 = Johnsen, Oscar Albert, ed. 1922. Olafs saga hins helga efter pergamenthåndskrift i Uppsala Universitetsbibliotek, Delagardieske samling nr. 8II. Det norske historiske kildeskriftfond skrifter 47. Kristiania (Oslo): Dybwad.
  14. Saxo 2005 = Friis-Jensen, Karsten, ed. 2005. Saxo Grammaticus: Gesta Danorum / Danmarkshistorien. Trans. Peter Zeeberg. 2 vols. Copenhagen: Det danske sprog- og litteraturselskab & Gads forlag.
  15. Internal references
  16. Not published: do not cite (ÓHHkrI)
  17. Matthew Townend (ed.) 2012, ‘Þórarinn loftunga, Tøgdrápa 1’ 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. 852.

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