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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Sturl Hákkv 21II

Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2009, ‘Sturla Þórðarson, Hákonarkviða 21’ 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. 715.

Sturla ÞórðarsonHákonarkviða

Ok þar felt
feigum hausi
Gjallar mans
greypri hendi
Fenris nipt
fylkis dólga
í hjörgöll
heiptar blóði.

Ok þar felt {nipt Fenris} feigum hausi dólga fylkis blóði heiptar greypri hendi {mans Gjallar} í {hjörgöll}.

And there {Fenrir’s <mythical wolf’s> sister} [= Hel] hooded the doomed heads of the leader’s enemies with the blood of hatred by the gruesome hand {of Gjǫll’s <river in hell’s> girl} [= Hel] in {the sword-din} [BATTLE].

Mss: E(178r), F(111va), 81a(109vb), Flat(179ra) (Hák)

Readings: [1] felt: fell all    [5] nipt: ‘nípr’ F    [6] dólga: ‘balga’ F

Editions: Skj AII, 114, Skj BII, 123, Skald II, 66, NN §3151; E 1916, 606, F 1871, 518, Hák 1910-86, 567, Flat 1860-8, III, 155.

Context: As st. 20 above.

Notes: [1] felt ‘hooded’: 3rd pers. sg. pret. indic. of falda ‘put on a hood’. Fell ‘fell’ (3rd pers. sg. pret. indic. of falla ‘fall’, so all mss) makes no sense in the context. The emendation is in keeping with earlier eds. — [2] hausi ‘heads’: Lit. ‘head’. — [3] mans Gjallar ‘of Gjǫll’s <river in hell’s> girl [= Hel]’: So NN §3151. Skj B takes this as a reference to Móðguðr, the woman who guards the bridge across the river Gjǫll, the river that separates the world of the living from the world of the dead (see SnE 2005, 47 and Note to st. 24/2 below). This is unlikely, because Hel could hardly hood sby with the hand of sby else. LP: gjǫll 3 leaves both options open. — [5] nipt Fenris ‘Fenrir’s <mythical wolf’s> sister [= Hel]’: Both Fenrir and Hel, who presided over the realm of the dead, were Loki’s offspring (see SnE 1998, I, 20).


  1. Bibliography
  2. Skj B = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1912-15b. Den norsk-islandske skjaldedigtning. B: Rettet tekst. 2 vols. Copenhagen: Villadsen & Christensen. Rpt. 1973. Copenhagen: Rosenkilde & Bagger.
  3. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  4. NN = Kock, Ernst Albin. 1923-44. Notationes Norrœnæ: Anteckningar till Edda och skaldediktning. Lunds Universitets årsskrift new ser. 1. 28 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  5. LP = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1931. Lexicon poeticum antiquæ linguæ septentrionalis: Ordbog over det norsk-islandske skjaldesprog oprindelig forfattet af Sveinbjörn Egilsson. 2nd edn. Copenhagen: Møller.
  6. 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.
  7. F 1871 = Unger, C. R., ed. 1871. Fríssbók: Codex Frisianus. En samling af norske konge-sagaer. Christiania (Oslo): Malling.
  8. E 1916 = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1916. Eirspennill: AM 47 fol. Nóregs konunga sǫgur: Magnús góði – Hákon gamli. Kristiania (Oslo): Den norske historiske kildeskriftskommission.
  9. SnE 1998 = Snorri Sturluson. 1998. Edda: Skáldskaparmál. Ed. Anthony Faulkes. 2 vols. University College London: Viking Society for Northern Research.
  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 2005 = Snorri Sturluson. 2005. Edda: Prologue and Gylfaginning. Ed. Anthony Faulkes. 2nd edn. University College London: Viking Society for Northern Research.

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