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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Sturl Hryn 1II

Valgerður Erna Þorvaldsdóttir (ed.) 2009, ‘Sturla Þórðarson, Hrynhenda 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, p. 678.

Sturla ÞórðarsonHrynhenda

Frægjan réð þik Vilhjálmr vígja,
varrbáls hötuðr, kardináli;
engi valdiz jafngóðr hingat
aldar gramr af páfa valdi.
Kórónu lét kristni stýrir,
kynprýddr jöfurr, yðr of skrýdda;
ramri grund hafið, ríkisvandar
reiðivaldr, með frægðum haldit.

Vilhjálmr kardináli réð vígja þik, frægjan, {hötuðr {varrbáls}}; engi jafngóðr valdiz hingat af valdi páfa, {gramr aldar}. {Stýrir kristni} lét yðr, kynprýddr jöfurr, of skrýdda kórónu; {reiðivaldr ríkisvandar}, hafið haldit ramri grund með frægðum.

Cardinal William consecrated you, renowned one, {hater {of the sea-flame}} [GOLD > GENEROUS MAN]; none as good was sent here by the Pope’s power, {ruler of men} [KING]. {The leader of Christianity} [CARDINAL] had you, high-born prince, adorned with a crown; {swinger of the royal sceptre} [KING], you have held the mighty land with renown.

Mss: F(114ra), E(182v), 42ˣ(172r), 81a(113vb), Flat(180va) (Hák)

Readings: [1] Frægjan: Frægan 81a;    réð: lét E    [2] varr‑: ‘vor’ 42ˣ;    hötuðr: hvötuðr E, ‘haurauðr’ 42ˣ    [3] valdiz: vandiz E;    hingat: so all others, þangat F    [5] kristni: kristin E;    stýrir: prýði 42ˣ    [6] ‑prýddr: ‑prúðr 42ˣ, ‑bryddr Flat;    jöfurr: so all others, om. F;    skrýdda: ‘skrdda’ Flat    [7] ramri: gramr í E;    grund: grundu E, 42ˣ, 81a

Editions: Skj AII, 102, Skj BII, 113, Skald II, 60; F 1871, 531, E 1916, 622-3, Hák 1910-86, 598, Flat 1860-8, III, 171.

Context: The st. documents the crowning of King Hákon in Bergen in the summer of 1247.

Notes: [All]: For this event, see also Sturl Hákkv 25-33. — [All]: The st. is attributed to Óláfr hvítaskáld Þórðarson (Ólhv) in Flat (Flat III, 1860-8, 171). — [1] Vilhjálmr ‘William’: Cardinal William of Sabina (Vilhjálmr) was a special emissary of Pope Innocent IV, sent to Norway in 1246 (see Notes to Sturl Hákkv 25/15 and 25/16). Hákon was the illegitimate son of King Hákon Sverrisson and needed the Church’s recognition to secure his claim to the throne. He had been trying to get the Pope’s approval since the 1220s, first through the Norw. bishops, and then by writing directly to Innocent IV. He was the third king of Norway who was crowned by a representative of the Church. The first one was Magnús Erlingsson, who was crowned in 1163 or 1164, the second Sverrir Siguðarson, Hákon’s grandfather, who forced the Norw. bishops to crown him in 1194 (Lunden 1976, 98-9). — [2] varrbáls ‘of the sea-flame’: Vörr means ‘wake of a ship’ or ‘stroke of the oar’, but in the kenning varrbál it means ‘sea’. See also st. 19/4 below. — [5] stýrir kristni ‘leader of Christianity [CARDINAL]’: Sturla could possibly be referring to Pope Innocent IV rather than to Cardinal William, although that seems unlikely. The Pope had given his consent to the crowning, but the Cardinal was present during the ceremony. — [7-8]: Sturla is referring to the fact that when Hákon was crowned he had already been king of Norway for thirty years, since 1217.


  1. Bibliography
  2. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  3. 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.
  4. F 1871 = Unger, C. R., ed. 1871. Fríssbók: Codex Frisianus. En samling af norske konge-sagaer. Christiania (Oslo): Malling.
  5. E 1916 = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1916. Eirspennill: AM 47 fol. Nóregs konunga sǫgur: Magnús góði – Hákon gamli. Kristiania (Oslo): Den norske historiske kildeskriftskommission.
  6. Lunden, Kåre. 1976. Norge under Sverreætten 1177-1319. Norges historie 3. Oslo: Cappelen.
  7. 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.
  8. Internal references
  9. Diana Whaley 2012, ‘Flateyjarbók (Flat)’ 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. clxi-clxii.
  10. Lauren Goetting 2017, ‘(Biography of) Óláfr hvítaskáld Þórðarson’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 301.
  11. Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2009, ‘Sturla Þórðarson, Hákonarkviða 25’ 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. 718.

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