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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Sturl Hákkv 19II

Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2009, ‘Sturla Þórðarson, Hákonarkviða 19’ 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. 713-14.

Sturla ÞórðarsonHákonarkviða

text and translation

Þar baugsegl
í brimis vindi
branda byrr
blása knátti,
en hrælögr
af hjarar borðum
glymjandi fell.

Þar knátti {byrr branda} blása {baugsegl} í {vindi brimis}, en {geigurligr hrælögr} fell glymjandi af {borðum hjarar}.
‘There the fair breeze of swords [BATTLE] blew at shield-boss sails [SHIELDS] in the wind of the sword [BATTLE], and the frightful corpse-sea [BLOOD] fell foaming from the planks of the sword [SHIELDS].

notes and context

The Birkibeinar pulled down the fence surrounding the churchyard with ropes made from walrus hide. Then they stormed in and killed most of Skúli’s men who were trapped on the other side of the fallen fence.

Sturla uses nautical imagery to depict the violent encounter.



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 22: AII, 114, BII, 122, Skald II, 66; E 1916, 606, F 1871, 518, Hák 1910-86, 566-7, Hák 1977-82, 130, Flat 1860-8, III, 155.


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