Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Sturl Hryn 13II

Valgerður Erna Þorvaldsdóttir (ed.) 2009, ‘Sturla Þórðarson, Hrynhenda 13’ 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. 690-1.

Sturla ÞórðarsonHrynhenda

Errinn sendi ungan svarra
út í lönd á geima þrútinn;
aldri fréttuð jöfra dróttins
æðri ferð af heimangerðum.
Allir tóku yppiþollar
unnartams fyrir lægi sunnan
ára blakks, sem allvaldr væri
innan lands, við dóttur þinni.

Errinn sendi ungan svarra út í lönd á þrútinn geima; aldri fréttuð æðri ferð af heimangerðum {dróttins jöfra}. {Allir yppiþollar {unnartams blakks ára}} fyrir sunnan lægi tóku við dóttur þinni, sem allvaldr væri innan lands.

The bold one sent the young, proud lady abroad onto the swollen ocean; never did you hear about a more outstanding retinue sent from home {by a lord of princes} [KING]. {All the extolling fir-trees {of the wave-tame horse of the oars}} [SHIP > SEAFARERS] south of the sea received your daughter as if she were a mighty ruler within the land.

Mss: F(118va), E(191r), 81a(119rb), 8(69v), 325X(10ra), Flat(183ra) (Hák)

Readings: [1] Errinn: Ærinn E, 81a, Háttprúðr 325X;    sendi: ‘[…]i’ 325X;    ungan: ungum 81a, sína 325X;    svarra: svanna E, dóttur 325X    [2] út: suðr 325X;    lönd: heim 325X;    geima: om. 325X    [3] fréttuð: frétti E, fréttizt 81a, 8, 325X, Flat;    dróttins: dróttinn Flat    [4] ferð: gerð 325X;    af: ‘[…]’ 325X;    heimangerðum: ‘hęman ferðum’ E, heimangjörðum 8, Flat, ‘[…]íman ferdum’ 325X    [5] yppiþollar: uppiþollar 81a, 8, ‘yppiþol[…]’ 325X    [6] ‑tams: dags 325X    [7] blakks: ‘blags’ 8, ‘blac[…]’ 325X;    all‑: ‘alld‑’ 81a;    væri: færi 81a    [8] lands: borðs 325X;    dóttur: ‘[…]ur’ 325X;    þinni: sinni 8

Editions: Skj AII, 107, Skj BII, 117-18, Skald II, 62; F 1871, 554, E 1916, 650-1, Hák 1910-86, 658, Hák 1977-82, 173, Flat 1860-8, III, 197.

Context: In the summer of 1257, Princess Kristín was sent off with a large retinue to travel south to Spain, where she was to choose one of the Spanish princes as her husband.

Notes: [All]: As mentioned in the Introduction to the poem above, Konráð Gíslason (1895-7, I, 84), Finnur Jónsson (Skj), Kock (Skald) and Fidjestøl (1982, 175) all move this st. back in the poem as st. 18 in Hryn, disregarding the ordering of the sts in the mss. Such a reordering of the sts is, however, not necessary. In 1256, King Alfonso X of Spain sent emissaries to Norway to establish diplomatic relations with the Norw. king. To show his good will, he asked for Princess Kristín’s hand in marriage on behalf of one of his brothers. A year later King Hákon accepted the proposal on behalf of his daughter, provided she would be allowed to choose a husband for herself from among the Spanish princes. By placing this st. here, and breaking off the description of the warfare in Denmark, Sturla poses the question about what the Spanish king had to gain by marrying his brother to a Norw. princess. The answer to that question becomes apparent in the next five sts where Sturla extolls the splendid fleet of King Hákon. Alfonso X wanted to have easy access to the fleet, which was one of the largest in Europe at that time. He intended to attack Morocco on a crusade against the heathens there, and he also wanted Hákon to support him in the election as emperor. As far as content is concerned, this st. would seem to belong together with st. 19. The two sts frame the description of Hákon’s great fleet, which was the main reason for the expansion and glory of the Norw. state under Hákon’s rule. The magnificent fleet, the expansion of the state and friendly relations with other monarchs in Europe are the main themes of the poem, showing Sturla’s vast knowledge of Norw. affairs and the politics of his time. — [1] ungan ‘young’: The scribe of 8 first wrote ‘a’, but corrected the mistake with a dot underneath. — [3] aldri fréttuð ‘never did you hear’: It is rather unusual to mention the travels of young women in skaldic poetry. Kristín is like a personification of the Norw. state, her attire and retinue reflecting the glory and riches of the king himself (cf. ll. 7-8). — [3] fréttuð (2nd pers. pl. pret. indic.) ‘did you hear’: Skj B and Skald give the reading of E, frétti (1st or 3rd pers. sg. pret. indic.). Konráð Gíslason (1895-7, I, 84) chose the reading of F, which has also been adopted in the present edn. — [3] dróttins jöfra ‘by a lord of princes [KING]’: Lit. ‘of a lord of princes’. Finnur Jónsson and Kock (Skj B; Skald) chose the reading of Flat, dróttinn (m. sg. nom.) and construed this with errinn ‘bold’ (l. 1) as the subject of sendi ‘sent’ (l. 1). This edn follows Konráð Gíslason (1895-7, I, 84). — [5-6, 7] yppiþollar unnartams blakks ára ‘extolling fir-trees of the wave-tame horse of the oars [SHIP > SEAFARERS]’: This is the most complex kenning that Sturla uses in the poem and it may be ironic, since the southern seafarers whom he describes in this way were not known for their skills at sea. Sturla construes the elaborate kenning to mock them by using irony in the way his brother Óláfr hvítaskáld (Ólhv) gave an example of in his Málskrúðsfræði (TGT 1884, 113): því at lof er fyrir háð sett ‘for praise is put instead of mockery’. See also Eldj Lv 2.


  1. Bibliography
  2. TGT 1884 = Björn Magnússon Ólsen, ed. 1884. Den tredje og fjærde grammatiske afhandling i Snorres Edda tilligemed de grammatiske afhandlingers prolog og to andre tillæg. SUGNL 12. Copenhagen: Knudtzon.
  3. Skj B = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1912-15b. Den norsk-islandske skjaldedigtning. B: Rettet tekst. 2 vols. Copenhagen: Villadsen & Christensen. Rpt. 1973. Copenhagen: Rosenkilde & Bagger.
  4. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  5. Fidjestøl, Bjarne. 1982. Det norrøne fyrstediktet. Universitet i Bergen Nordisk institutts skriftserie 11. Øvre Ervik: Alvheim & Eide.
  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. Hák 1977-82 = Mundt, Marina, ed. 1977. Hákonar saga Hákonarsonar etter Sth. 8 fol., AM 325VIII, 4° og AM 304, 4°. Oslo: Forlagsentralen. Suppl. by James E. Knirk, Rettelser til Hákonar saga Hákonarsonar etter Sth. 8 fol., AM 325VIII, 4° og AM 304, 4°. Norrøne tekster 2. Oslo: Norsk historisk kjeldeskrift-institutt, 1982.
  10. Konráð Gíslason. 1895-7. Efterladte skrifter. 2 vols. I: Forelæsninger over oldnordiske skjaldekvad. II: Forelæsninger og videnskablige afhandlinger. Copenhagen: Gyldendal.
  11. 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.
  12. Internal references
  13. Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2009, ‘Eldjárn, Lausavísur 2’ 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. 407-8.

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