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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Sturl Hryn 5II

Valgerður Erna Þorvaldsdóttir (ed.) 2009, ‘Sturla Þórðarson, Hrynhenda 5’ 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. 681-2.

Sturla ÞórðarsonHrynhenda

Eigi sátuð, jöfra hneitir
ættumgóðr, at rofnar sættir
— stirðan bjoggu hirðmenn harðir
herskips streng — í kyrðum lengi.
Mætum helt fyrir Elfi útan
— auðit léztu flotnum dauða —
— nauða vissu nýjar súðir —
Norðmanna gramr fýriborðum.

Eigi sátuð lengi í kyrðum, {ættumgóðr hneitir jöfra}, at rofnar sættir; harðir hirðmenn bjoggu stirðan streng herskips. {Gramr Norðmanna} helt mætum fýriborðum fyrir útan Elfi; léztu flotnum auðit dauða; nýjar súðir vissu nauða.

You did not sit long in quiet, {high-born striker of princes} [RULER], with the truces broken; the tough retainers readied the hard anchor rope of the warship. {The ruler of the Norwegians} [= Hákon] directed the splendid fir-planks off the Götaälv; you decreed death for the men; the new plankings experienced hardship.

Mss: F(117va), E(189r), 81a(118ra), 304ˣ(346v), Flat(182va) (Hák)

Readings: [1] sátuð: láttu 81a    [2] at rofnar: rofna 81a    [3] stirðan: stirðir E, stríðar 81a, stirðar 304ˣ, Flat    [4] streng: stengr E, 81a, Flat    [5] helt: helzt 304ˣ;    fyrir: frá Flat    [7] nauða: nauðir Flat    [8] fýriborðum: so E, 304ˣ, borðum þannig F, fyri skeiðar borðum 81a, þar fyri borðum Flat

Editions: Skj AII, 103, Skj BII, 114, Skald II, 60, NN §3148; F 1871, 549, E 1916, 645, Hák 1910-86, 646, Hák 1977-82, 162-3, Flat 1860-8, III, 191.

Context: By 1256 the Danes had not yet paid the compensation they had promised for the attack on the Norw. ships in 1247. King Hákon summoned his troops again and led his fleet, 300 ships, to Halland. The st. describes the launching of the fleet and the voyage to Halland.

Notes: [1, 2, 4] eigi sátuð lengi í kyrðum at rofnar sættir ‘you did not sit long in quiet with the truces broken’: Sturla is referring to the settlement that Hákon made with the Dan. king in 1253 for the attack on the Norw. ships (see Note to st. 3/5-6), and the fact that the Danes had still not paid the compensation they had promised. — [1] hneitir ‘striker’: The verb hneita means ‘strike, defeat’. Hneitir was the name of S. Óláfr’s sword, lit. ‘striker’ or ‘cutter’. See also ESk Geisl 43/1VII. — [3-4] harðir hirðmenn bjoggu stirðan streng herskips ‘the tough retainers readied the stiff anchor rope of the warship’: Ms. E has the variant readings stirðir (adj. m. nom. pl.) ‘stiff’ (which can qualify harðir hirðmenn m. nom. pl. ‘tough retainers’ (l. 3)) and stengr (f. acc. pl.; nom. stǫng) ‘poles’. Flat and 304ˣ have the readings stirðar (adj. f. acc. pl.) ‘stiff’ (81a has stríðar f. acc. pl. ‘tough’) and stengr (304ˣ has streng). Harðir hirðmenn bjoggu stirðar stengr ‘the tough retainers readied the stiff poles’ (so Skj B; Skald) also makes good sense, because poles bearing the banners of the king must have been on board the ships. — [7] súðir ‘plankings’: This could be pars pro toto for ‘ships’ (see also Note to Hharð Gamv 2/2). — [8] gramr Norðmanna ‘the ruler of the Norwegians [= Hákon]’: Kock regarded this as an apostrophe (NN §3148). — [8] fýriborðum ‘fir-planks’: The reading fyri in E, 81a, 304ˣ and Flat is abbreviated so it could be expanded as fyrir ‘before, off’, which would be hard to fit into the prose w. o., but fýriborð ‘fir-planks’ is certainly a likely reading, as Konráð Gíslason (1895-7, I, 71-2) pointed out, and it has been adopted by both Finnur Jónsson and Kock (Skj B; Skald). The variant in F, þannig borðum ‘thus the planks’, gives the following reading of ll. 5, 8: Gramr Norðmanna helt þannig mætum borðum fyrir útan Elfi ‘The ruler of the Norwegians directed thus the splendid planks off the Götaälv’. That reading produces an extra internal rhyme on two stressed syllables: Norð- : borð- and manna : þannig, and the other ms. witnesses show that it is secondary (lectio facilior). The scribe of 81a adds skeiðar ‘warship’s’ but this makes the l. hypermetrical.


  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. 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.
  6. F 1871 = Unger, C. R., ed. 1871. Fríssbók: Codex Frisianus. En samling af norske konge-sagaer. Christiania (Oslo): Malling.
  7. E 1916 = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1916. Eirspennill: AM 47 fol. Nóregs konunga sǫgur: Magnús góði – Hákon gamli. Kristiania (Oslo): Den norske historiske kildeskriftskommission.
  8. Konráð Gíslason. 1895-7. Efterladte skrifter. 2 vols. I: Forelæsninger over oldnordiske skjaldekvad. II: Forelæsninger og videnskablige afhandlinger. Copenhagen: Gyldendal.
  9. 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.
  10. Internal references
  11. Martin Chase (ed.) 2007, ‘Einarr Skúlason, Geisli 43’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 42-3.
  12. Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2009, ‘Haraldr harðráði Sigurðarson, Gamanvísur 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. 36-7.

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