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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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SnSt Ht 66III

Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2017, ‘Snorri Sturluson, Háttatal 66’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 1178.

Snorri SturlusonHáttatal

Eyddi úthlaupsmǫnnum
ítr hertogi spjótum;
sungu stál of stillis
— stóð ylgr í val — dólgum.
Hal margan lét hǫfði
hoddgrimmr jǫfurr skemra;
svá kann rán at refsa
reiðr oddviti þjóðum.

Ítr hertogi eyddi úthlaupsmǫnnum spjótum; stál sungu of dólgum stillis; ylgr stóð í val. Hoddgrimmr jǫfurr lét margan hal hǫfði skemra; svá kann reiðr oddviti at refsa þjóðum rán.

The splendid army-leader destroyed robbers with spears; swords sang above the ruler’s enemies; the she-wolf stood among the fallen. The hoard-grim prince made many a man shorter by a head; thus the angry war-leader punishes people for plundering.

Mss: R(51r), W(148) (SnE); E(150r), F(92va), 42ˣ(105v-106r), 81a(78rb-va), 304ˣ(275v), Flat(168va) (Hák)

Readings: [2] ítr: út E, 42ˣ, 81a;    spjótum: svǫrtum E, 42ˣ, ‘suertum’ 81a, sveitum Flat    [3] stillis: stilli W    [4] dólgum: dyggjum E, dylgjum F, 42ˣ, 81a, Flat    [5] Hal: all‑ 81a;    lét hǫfði: sló hjǫrvi 304ˣ    [6] jǫfurr: jǫfur 304ˣ;    skemra: skemma W, Flat    [7] kann: kannt F, knátt 42ˣ;    rán: rann 81a    [8] reiðr: reið 42ˣ;    þjóðum: skeiðum 81a

Editions: Skj AII, 69-70, Skj BII, 79, Skald II, 44; SnE 1848-87, I, 680-1, III, 128, SnE 1879-81, I, 11, 82, II, 25, SnE 1931, 243, SnE 2007, 28; Konráð Gíslason 1895-7, I, 41-2; E 1916, 509, F 1871, 427, Hák 1910-86, 365, Hák 1977-82, 45-6, Flat 1860-8, III, 46.

Context: This variant is called munnvǫrp ‘mouth-throwings’ (i.e. ‘improvisations’), and it is characterised by a lack of internal rhyme in the odd lines and by skothending in the even lines. In Hák, the stanza commemorates Skúli’s battles against the Ribbungar during the winter of 1221-2 (see sts 63-4 above).

Notes: [All]: This variant is quite common in more informal poetry, and it is the metre used in Bjbp JómsI. See also RvHbreiðm Hl 15-16. — [All]: In Hák the stanza is attributed to Snorri Sturluson in all mss (ms. 42ˣ has ‘St.’), but the title of the poem is not given. This is the last stanza documenting historical events that took place in 1221-2, and it is therefore valuable for establishing a date of composition for the poem. — [2] hertogi ‘army-leader’: For the translation of this word, see Note to st. 40/5 above. — [4] dólgum ‘enemies’: The variant in F, 42ˣ, 81 a and Flat, dylgjum, can be construed as f. dat. pl. of dylgja ‘enmity, fight, struggle’, but it clearly represents individual scribal attempts at restoring what was perceived to be a lack of aðalhending in this line. — [6] skemra ‘shorter’: Skemma ‘shorten’ (so W, Flat and F, the latter by correction) is not possible syntactically (that verb takes the acc. and hǫfði ‘by a head’ (l. 5) is in the dat.).


  1. Bibliography
  2. SnE 1848-87 = Snorri Sturluson. 1848-87. Edda Snorra Sturlusonar: Edda Snorronis Sturlaei. Ed. Jón Sigurðsson et al. 3 vols. Copenhagen: Legatum Arnamagnaeanum. Rpt. Osnabrück: Zeller, 1966.
  3. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  4. 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.
  5. F 1871 = Unger, C. R., ed. 1871. Fríssbók: Codex Frisianus. En samling af norske konge-sagaer. Christiania (Oslo): Malling.
  6. SnE 1931 = Snorri Sturluson. 1931. Edda Snorra Sturlusonar. Ed. Finnur Jónsson. Copenhagen: Gyldendal.
  7. E 1916 = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1916. Eirspennill: AM 47 fol. Nóregs konunga sǫgur: Magnús góði – Hákon gamli. Kristiania (Oslo): Den norske historiske kildeskriftskommission.
  8. Hák 1977-82 = Mundt, Marina, ed. 1977. Hákonar saga Hákonarsonar etter Sth. 8 fol., AM 325VIII, 4° og AM 304, 4°. Oslo: Forlagsentralen. Suppl. by James E. Knirk, Rettelser til Hákonar saga Hákonarsonar etter Sth. 8 fol., AM 325VIII, 4° og AM 304, 4°. Norrøne tekster 2. Oslo: Norsk historisk kjeldeskrift-institutt, 1982.
  9. Konráð Gíslason. 1895-7. Efterladte skrifter. 2 vols. I: Forelæsninger over oldnordiske skjaldekvad. II: Forelæsninger og videnskablige afhandlinger. Copenhagen: Gyldendal.
  10. Hák 1910-86 = Kjær, Albert and Ludvig Holm-Olsen, eds. 1910-86. Det Arnamagnæanske haandskrift 81a fol. (Skálholtsbók yngsta) indeholdende Sverris saga, Bǫglungasǫgur, Hákonar saga Hákonarsonar. Oslo: Den norske historiske kildeskriftkommission and Kjeldeskriftfondet.
  11. SnE 2007 = Snorri Sturluson. 2007. Edda: Háttatal. Ed. Anthony Faulkes. 2nd edn. University College London: Viking Society for Northern Research.
  12. SnE 1879-81 = Möbius, Theodor, ed. 1879-81. Hattatal Snorra Sturlusonar. 2 vols. Halle an de Saale: Verlag der Buchhandlung des Waisenhauses.
  13. Internal references
  14. Kari Ellen Gade 2009, ‘Hákonar saga Hákonarsonar (Hák)’ 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 [check printed volume for citation].
  15. Emily Lethbridge 2012, ‘(Introduction to) Bjarni byskup Kolbeinsson, Jómsvíkingadrápa’ 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. 954.
  16. Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2017, ‘Rǫgnvaldr jarl and Hallr Þórarinsson, Háttalykill 15’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 1022.

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