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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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ÞSkall Valfl 1II

Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2009, ‘Þorkell Skallason, Valþjófsflokkr 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, pp. 382-3.

Þorkell SkallasonValþjófsflokkr
12

text and translation

Hundrað lét í heitum
hirðmenn jǫfurs brenna
sóknar Yggr, en seggjum
sviðukveld vas þat, eldi.
Frétts, at fyrðar knôttu
flagðviggs und kló liggja;
ímleitum fekksk áta
óls blakk við hræ Frakka.

{Yggr sóknar} lét hundrað hirðmenn jǫfurs brenna í heitum eldi, en þat vas seggjum sviðukveld. Frétts, at fyrðar knôttu liggja und kló {flagðviggs}; áta fekksk {ímleitum blakk óls} við hræ Frakka.
 
‘The Yggr <= Óðinn> of battle [WARRIOR = Waltheof] caused a hundred retainers of the ruler [William] to burn in hot fire, and that was a scorching evening for the men. It is known that people lay beneath the claw of the troll-woman’s steed [WOLF]; food was given to the dark-coloured horse of the troll-woman [WOLF] from the carrion of the Normans.

notes and context

After the battle of Hastings and the fall of the Engl. king, Harold Godwineson (14 October 1066), Waltheof, who had escaped from the battlefield, and a unit of his men encountered a hundred of William the Conqueror’s Norman soldiers. The Normans fled into an oak forest, which Waltheof set fire to, killing all of William’s men.

It is not documented in any source that Waltheof fought at the battle of Hastings; rather, it seems that this st. documents a completely different event—the sacking of York on 21 September 1069. On that occasion, Waltheof and other Engl. noblemen joined Danes who had been sent by King Sveinn Úlfsson of Denmark in a revolt against William. The Danes and their Engl. allies, among them Waltheof, attacked York and the forces which William had left behind in the stronghold (see ASC s. a. 1068 ([1069] ‘D’), 1069 (‘E’)). According to Chronicle ‘D’, the rebels demolished the castle. The entire town, including the minster of St. Peter, was destroyed by fire and hundreds of Normans perished. That fire was, however, set by the Normans themselves (on these events, see also Scott 1952, 166-7, 174-81). — This episode is also told in Fsk (ÍF 29, 293-4), but the st. is not cited.

readings

sources

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: Þórkell Skallason, Valþjófsflokkr 1: AI, 414, BI, 338, Skald I, 190-1; ÍF 28, 195 (HSig ch. 96), F 1871, 251, E 1916, 100; Fms 6, 426 (HSig ch. 121).

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