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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Sturl Hákkv 16II

Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2009, ‘Sturla Þórðarson, Hákonarkviða 16’ 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. 711-12.

Sturla ÞórðarsonHákonarkviða

text and translation

Ok inndrótt
elda kyndi
við baug*renni,
svát eggfárs
eisur stukku
of ilflet
Aurnis spjalla.

Ok inndrótt kyndi {elda {böðvar-Týs}} við {baug*renni}, svát {eisur {eggfárs}} stukku of {{Aurnis spjalla} ilflet}.
‘And the retinue kindled the fires of the battle-Týr <god> [= Óðinn > SPEARS] against the ring-advancer [GENEROUS MAN = Skúli], so that the flames of blade-wrath [BATTLE > SPEARS] rushed over the floors of the footsole of Aurnir’s <giant’s> confidant [(lit. ‘footsole-floors of Aurnir’s confidant’) GIANT > SHIELDS].

notes and context

Skúli’s men took their stand in the churchyard of Hallvardskirken where there was an ample supply of rocks. They were hard pressed by Hákon’s army but defended themselves by throwing stones and spears and by shooting arrows.

The weapon-kennings in this st. (‘the fires of the battle-Týr’, ll. 2, 3; ‘the flames of blade-wrath’, ll. 5-6) are all treated as kennings for ‘swords’ in Skj B and LP. However, the prose explicitly mentions that the battle at this point was not a man-to-man combat; rather, the men in the churchyard defended themselves by throwing and shooting. Because words denoting ‘fire’ can also serve as base-words in kennings for ‘spears’ (see Meissner 145-6), that interpretation has been chosen in the present edn.



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: Sturla Þórðarson, 4. Hákonarkviða 19: AII, 113, BII, 122, Skald II, 65; E 1916, 603-4, F 1871, 515, Hák 1910-86, 561, Flat 1860-8, III, 152.


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