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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Sigv Víkv 6I

Judith Jesch (ed.) 2012, ‘Sigvatr Þórðarson, Víkingarvísur 6’ 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. 541.

Sigvatr ÞórðarsonVíkingarvísur

text and translation

Rétts, at sókn in sétta,
(snarr þengill bauð Englum
at) þars Ôleifr sótti
(Yggs) Lundúna bryggjur.
Sverð bitu vǫlsk, en vǫrðu
víkingar þar díki;
átti sumt í sléttu
Súðvirki lið búðir.

Rétts, at in sétta sókn, þars Ôleifr sótti bryggjur Lundúna; snarr þengill bauð Englum {at Yggs}. Vǫlsk sverð bitu, en víkingar vǫrðu þar díki; sumt lið átti búðir í sléttu Súðvirki.
‘It is correct that the sixth battle [took place] where Óláfr attacked the wharves of London; the valiant prince offered the English the strife of Yggr <= Óðinn> [BATTLE]. Frankish swords bit, and vikings defended the ditch there; some of the troop had huts in level Southwark.

notes and context

ÓH-Hkr and ÓHLeg have a long description of Óláfr’s battle in London before citing the stanza. According to ÓHLeg he was supporting Knútr inn ríki (Cnut the Great), while according to ÓH-Hkr it was Aðalráðr (the English King Æthelred). In Fsk, it is cited after a very brief introduction of Óláfr Haraldsson and an enumeration of his first five battles. He is then said to have gone west to England where he fought at Lundúnabryggjur (on which, see Note to l. 4, below) against Danes who were launching viking raids.

For the events of Víkv 6-8, see also Ótt Hfl 8-10 and Note to Hfl 8 [All]; the battle at Lundúnabryggjur is commemorated in Hfl 8. Although Óláfr appears to have fought for the English King Aðalráðr (Æthelred) after the death of Sveinn tjúguskegg ‘Fork-beard’ in 1014, Snorri’s claim that Óláfr’s earlier battles were fought in support of him (see Contexts to sts 6, 7) is probably erroneous: see Note to Ótt Hfl 13 [All]. His earlier English campaigns seem rather to have been fought alongside Þorkell inn hávi and the Danes (see Note to Ótt Hfl 8 [All]), and it appears that Óláfr ‘like his friend Þorkell, changed sides and became a supporter of Æthelred’ (A. Campbell 1971, 12). The skaldic stanzas do not in themselves clarify who Óláfr’s allies and opponents were, nor exactly where and when he fought; even when they are considered in conjunction with the English and Norse prose sources much remains uncertain (see A. Campbell 1971, 4, 8-12; Campbell 1998, 73-82). — [5-8]: It is tentatively assumed here that Óláfr and Þorkell’s forces wield Frankish swords and have temporary huts in Southwark, while the English defend the ditch. However, the identifications are far from certain: see Notes to [All] and to ll. 6 and 7 below.



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, 1. Víkingarvísur 6: AI, 224-5, BI, 214, Skald I, 112, NN §2469; Hkr 1893-1901, II, 19, IV, 109-10, ÍF 27, 17-18, Hkr 1991, I, 262 (ÓHHkr ch. 13); ÓH 1941, I, 45 (ch. 23), Flat 1860-8, II, 20; Fsk 1902-3, 141 (ch. 25), ÍF 29, 168 (ch. 27); ÓHLeg 1922, 10, ÓHLeg 1982, 46-7; Fell 1981b, 114-15, Jón Skaptason 1983, 58, 222-3.


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