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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Sigv Víkv 13I

Judith Jesch (ed.) 2012, ‘Sigvatr Þórðarson, Víkingarvísur 13’ 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. 551.

Sigvatr ÞórðarsonVíkingarvísur

Þrettanda vann Þrœnda
— þat vas flótta bǫl — dróttinn
snjallr í Seljupollum
sunnarla styr kunnan.
Upp lét gramr í gamla
Gunnvaldsborg of morgin
— Geirfiðr hét sá — gǫrva
gengit, jarl of fenginn.

{Snjallr dróttinn Þrœnda} vann þrettanda kunnan styr sunnarla í Seljupollum; þat vas bǫl flótta. Gramr lét gǫrva gengit upp í gamla Gunnvaldsborg of morgin, jarl of fenginn; Geirfiðr hét sá.

{The brave lord of the Þrœndir} [NORWEGIAN KING = Óláfr] won the thirteenth renowned battle south in Seljupollar; that was bad luck to those who fled. The prince had the whole troop go up to old Gunnvaldsborg in the morning, [and had] the jarl captured; he was called Geirfiðr.

Mss: (228v) (Hkr); Holm2(7v), R686ˣ(13v), J2ˣ(123v-124r), 325VI(6vb), 73aˣ(21v), 78aˣ(21r), 68(6v), 61(80rb), 75c(3v), 325V(9rb), 325VII(2v), Bb(127rb), Flat(80va), Tóm(97r) (ÓH)

Readings: [1] vann: vannt 61    [2] þat: þá 68, 61;    flótta: flotna 325V;    bǫl: ból 68, Bb, ‘duol’ Flat, ‘daul’ Tóm;    dróttinn: dróttum Flat, drótta Tóm    [3] Selju‑: Selu‑ 325V, ‘sęlu’ Bb;    ‑pollum: ‘‑follum’ Bb    [4] kunnan: fullan 61, kunni Tóm    [5] lét: om. Flat;    í: á 61    [6] Gunnvalds‑: Gunnvaldr Bb;    ‑borg: om. Tóm    [7] sá: om. 325V, sá er Flat, Tóm;    gǫrva: gotna R686ˣ, J2ˣ, 325VI, 73aˣ, 78aˣ, gauta 325V, gervar 325VII    [8] gengit: gengum R686ˣ, gengis J2ˣ, genginn 68, 61;    of: af 73aˣ, ok 75c, 325VII, Bb, Flat, Tóm;    fenginn: fengum R686ˣ, fengit 75c, 325V, 325VII, Flat, Tóm

Editions: Skj AI, 227, Skj BI, 216, Skald I, 112, NN §2983; Hkr 1893-1901, II, 25, IV, 113, ÍF 27, 24-5, Hkr 1991, I, 266 (ÓHHkr ch. 17); ÓH 1941, I, 49 (ch. 24), Flat 1860-8, II, 22; Fell 1981b, 120-1, Jón Skaptason 1983, 65, 226.

Context: Óláfr heads south to Seljupollar where he captures the castle of Gunnvaldsborg and its ruler Geirfiðr. The inhabitants of the castle ransom their leader for twelve thousand gold shillings.

Notes: [1, 2] dróttinn Þrœnda ‘lord of the Þrœndir [NORWEGIAN KING = Óláfr]’: This kenning, and one in the next stanza (st. 14/1), begin to anticipate the end of the poem, which sees Óláfr’s return to Norway as its ruler. — [3] Seljupollum ‘Seljupollar’: It has been suggested (Johnsen 1916, 17) that this is (Lat.) Cilenorum aqua, now La Guardia (Galician A Guarda), near the mouth of the river Miño, on the north-west coast of Spain. A tributary of the Mino is the river Sil, which could be the element represented by Selju-; and see Note to st. 11/4 for pollr. Spanish sources record the destruction of the nearby episcopal centre Tuy sometime around 1013-16 (Johnsen, loc. cit.) and some connection with Óláfr’s expedition seems likely. — [5, 7-8] lét gǫrva gengit ‘had the whole troop go’: Lit. ‘had completely gone’, i.e. ‘caused completely to go’. This assumes (with Skj B and ÍF 27) that the adv. gǫrva ‘completely’ means that the whole company were ordered into the attack. An alternative suggested in LP: gǫrva is that they went ‘the whole way’. — [6] Gunnvaldsborg: This fortification cannot be identified with certainty. — [7] Geirfiðr: This person is also unidentified. — [8] jarl of fenginn ‘[and had] the jarl captured’: Fenginn ‘captured’ is parallel with gengit, lit. ‘gone’ and both depend on lét ‘had’. Of is the expletive particle, and a conj. ‘and’ is understood. Some mss read ok ‘and’ in place of of, and this reading is adopted in Skj B, but as it is confined to ÓH mss of the C class it seems to be a secondary ‘improvement’.


  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. Fell, Christine E. 1981b. ‘Víkingarvísur’. In Dronke et al. 1981, 106-22.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  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. Hkr 1991 = Bergljót S. Kristjánsdóttir et al., eds. 1991. Heimskringla. 3 vols. Reykjavík: Mál og menning.
  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. Johnsen, Oscar Albert. 1916. Olav Haraldssons ungdom indtil slaget ved Nesjar. Kristiania [Oslo]: Dybwad.
  14. Internal references
  15. Diana Whaley 2012, ‘The Separate Saga of S. Óláfr / Óláfs saga helga in sérstaka (ÓH)’ 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, pp. clxxvi-clxxix.
  16. Not published: do not cite (ÓHHkrI)

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