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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Steinn Óldr 1II

Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2009, ‘Steinn Herdísarson, Óláfsdrápa 1’ 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. 368-9.

Steinn HerdísarsonÓláfsdrápa
12

Þjóð fórsk mǫrg í móðu;
menn drukknuðu sukknir;
drengr lá ár of ungan
ófár Mǫrukára.
Fila dróttinn rak flótta
framr; tók herr á ramri
rôs fyr rǫskum vísa.
Ríklundaðr veit undir.

Mǫrg þjóð fórsk í móðu; sukknir menn drukknuðu; ófár drengr lá ár of ungan Mǫrukára. {Framr dróttinn Fila} rak flótta; herr tók á ramri rôs fyr rǫskum vísa. Ríklundaðr veit undir….

Many people died in the river; submerged men drowned; not a few warriors soon lay [dead] around young Morcere. {The outstanding lord of the Filir} [NORWEGIAN KING = Óláfr] pursued those who fled; the army broke into a frantic run before the bold ruler. Proud-minded knows beneath [the sun]….

Mss: Mork(18v) (Mork); Flat(203va) (Flat); H(74r), Hr(53ra) (H-Hr); Kˣ(577v-578r), 39(31ra), F(52rb), E(26r), J2ˣ(294v) (Hkr); FskAˣ(296) (Fsk)

Readings: [2] sukknir: sokknir Mork, Flat, H, Hr, Kˣ, 39, F, J2ˣ, FskAˣ, ‘sæknir’ E    [5] Fila: fira H, Kˣ, 39, F, E, J2ˣ, FskAˣ    [6] framr: fram H, Hr, F;    ramri: ‘ramer’ Flat    [8] ‑lundaðr: ‑lundar Flat;    veit undir: veik undan Flat, E, vítt undan H, Hr, vatt undir Kˣ, 39, J2ˣ, vátt undir F, helt undan FskAˣ

Editions: Skj AI, 410, Skj BI, 379, Skald I, 189; Mork 1867, 113, Mork 1928-32, 268, Andersson and Gade 2000, 265, 480-1 (MH); Flat 1860-8, III, 390 (MH); Fms 6, 408 (HSig ch. 115); ÍF 28, 180-1 (HSig ch. 85), F 1871, 244, E 1916, 93; ÍF 29, 279 (ch. 63).

Context: Sts 1-3 describe the battle of Fulford near the River Ouse in Northumbria (20 September 1066) between the Norw. army under the leadership of Óláfr’s father, Haraldr harðráði Sigurðarson, and the Engl. troops of Earls Morcere (Mǫrukári) and Waltheof (Valþjófr) recte Edwin.

Notes: [All]: The battle of Fulford is also commemorated in Arn Hardr 7-9 and Anon Harst. Fulford is located two miles downstream from York, on the River Ouse. — [1] mǫrg þjóð fórsk í móðu ‘many people died in the river’: Both Engl. sources and Anon Harst mention that people died in a river or marsh. See also Jones 2007, 173-95. The brook that now runs through the battlefield, the Germany Beck, certainly does not fit the description of a river in which people could have drowned (even allowing for topographical change since 1066), and Jones (2007, 193) suggests that high tide could have brought surges of muddy water from the Ouse up to the ford after the battle, thus creating a spectacle of fallen bodies pressed into the mud appearing to have drowned. — [4] Mǫrukára ‘Morcere’: Earl of Northumbria and the son of Earl Ælfgar of Mercia. He and his brother, Edwin, Earl of Mercia, opposed the Norw. troops at the battle of Fulford. All prose versions (incorrectly) infer from this st. that Morcar (still alive 1087) was killed in that battle. — [5]: The l. echoes Grani Har 1/5. — [5] dróttinn Fila ‘lord of the Filir [NORWEGIAN KING = Óláfr]’: Dróttinn fira ‘lord of men’ (so H, , 39, F, E, J2ˣ, FskAˣ) is possible, but less likely in view of the fact that, throughout the poem (sts 5/4, 6/3, 8/1, 12/1), Steinn identifies Óláfr as ‘lord of’ plus an ethnic name, and dróttinn Fila ‘lord of the Filir’ is also attested in st. 8/6. For the ethnic name, see Note to Grani Har 1/5. — [8] ríklundaðr veit undir ... ‘proud-minded knows beneath [the sun] ...’: This l. is part of a klofastef (‘split refrain’), which is completed or repeated in the final ll. of sts 4-6, 8, 12-14. The entire refrain reads as follows: ríklundaðr veit undir | sik beztan gram miklu | Óláfr borinn sólu, i.e. ríklundaðr Óláfr veit sik borinn miklu beztan gram undir sólu ‘proud-minded Óláfr knows himself to be the very best ruler born beneath the sun’. The scribes of the mss of Hkr, H-Hr and Fsk evidently did not understand the l. and tried to make syntactic sense of it in different ways.

References

  1. Bibliography
  2. Fms = Sveinbjörn Egilsson et al., eds. 1825-37. Fornmanna sögur eptir gömlum handritum útgefnar að tilhlutun hins norræna fornfræða fèlags. 12 vols. Copenhagen: Popp.
  3. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  4. Andersson, Theodore M. and Kari Ellen Gade, trans. 2000. Morkinskinna: The Earliest Icelandic Chronicle of the Norwegian Kings (1030-1157). Islandica 51. Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press.
  5. 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.
  6. Mork 1928-32 = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1928-32. Morkinskinna. SUGNL 53. Copenhagen: Jørgensen.
  7. ÍF 26-8 = Heimskringla. Ed. Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson. 1941-51.
  8. F 1871 = Unger, C. R., ed. 1871. Fríssbók: Codex Frisianus. En samling af norske konge-sagaer. Christiania (Oslo): Malling.
  9. E 1916 = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1916. Eirspennill: AM 47 fol. Nóregs konunga sǫgur: Magnús góði – Hákon gamli. Kristiania (Oslo): Den norske historiske kildeskriftskommission.
  10. Jones, Charles. 2007. The Forgotten Battle of 1066: Fulford. 2nd edn. Stroud: Tempus.
  11. ÍF 29 = Ágrip af Nóregskonunga sǫgum; Fagrskinna—Nóregs konungatal. Ed. Bjarni Einarsson. 1985.
  12. Mork 1867 = Unger, C. R., ed. 1867. Morkinskinna: Pergamentsbog fra første halvdel af det trettende aarhundrede. Indeholdende en af de ældste optegnelser af norske kongesagaer. Oslo: Bentzen.
  13. Internal references
  14. Kari Ellen Gade 2009, ‘Heimskringla (Hkr)’ 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. Diana Whaley 2012, ‘Fagrskinna (Fsk)’ 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. clix-clxi.
  16. 2017, ‘(Introduction to) Anonymous, Ragnars saga loðbrókar’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 616.
  17. Kari Ellen Gade 2009, ‘Hulda and Hrokkinskinna (H-Hr)’ 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].
  18. Kari Ellen Gade 2009, ‘(Biography of) Haraldr harðráði Sigurðarson’ 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. 35-56.
  19. Not published: do not cite (HSigII)
  20. Not published: do not cite (MHII)
  21. Matthew Townend 2009, ‘(Introduction to) Anonymous, Haraldsstikki’ 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. 807-8.
  22. Diana Whaley (ed.) 2009, ‘Arnórr jarlaskáld Þórðarson, Haraldsdrápa 7’ 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, p. 268.
  23. Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2009, ‘Grani skáld, Poem about Haraldr harðráði 1’ 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. 296-7.
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