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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Þhorn Gldr 7I

Edith Marold (ed.) 2012, ‘Þorbjǫrn hornklofi, Glymdrápa 7’ 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, p. 87.

Þorbjǫrn hornklofiGlymdrápa

Ríks þreifsk reiddra øxa
rymr — knôttu spjǫr glymja —
— svartskyggð bitu seggi
sverð — þjóðkonungs ferðar,
þás hugfyldra hǫlða
(hlaut andskoti Gauta)
hôr vas sǫngr of svírum
(sigr) flugbeiddra vigra.

Rymr reiddra øxa ferðar ríks þjóðkonungs þreifsk; svartskyggð sverð bitu seggi; spjǫr knôttu glymja, þás sǫngr flugbeiddra vigra vas hôr of svírum hugfyldra hǫlða; {andskoti Gauta} hlaut sigr.

The roar of the swung axes of the mighty king’s army swelled; black-polished swords bit men; spears resounded when the song of flight-driven spears was loud over the necks of courageous men; {the adversary of the Gautar} [= Haraldr] gained victory.

Mss: (61r), F(10va), J1ˣ(34r), J2ˣ(34v) (Hkr); 761aˣ(20r)

Readings: [4] ferðar: ferðir 761aˣ    [7] hôr: so F, J1ˣ, J2ˣ, 761aˣ, ár Kˣ;    sǫngr: sǫng J1ˣ, J2ˣ, 761aˣ    [8] flug‑: ‘flꜹg‑’ J2ˣ

Editions: Skj AI, 23, Skj BI, 21, Skald I, 13, NN §§234, 816 Anm. 2; Hkr 1893-1901, I, 121, IV, 33-4, ÍF 26, 113 (HHárf ch. 16), Hkr 1991, I, 70 (HHárf ch. 17).

Context: The Gautar resist Haraldr with a large force, but finally succumb to him.

Notes: [1-4]: The arrangement of the sentences in this helmingr is guided by Kuhn (1969b, 68), who points out that the verb in the main clause of a helmingr usually occupies the second position. — [1] ríks ‘mighty’: The adj. qualifies þjóðkonungs ‘mighty king’ in l. 4. This creates a tension that spans the entire helmingr and especially emphasizes the power of the king (cf. Engster 1983, 180; Kuhn 1983, 283). — [3, 4] svartskyggð sverð ‘black-polished swords’: As Holtsmark (1927, 42-3) assumes, svartskyggð may refer to the special technique of pattern welding, by which sword blades were forged out of two metals, one harder and one softer, which upon polishing yielded varied patterns and gave the sword additional strength and flexibility (see Ypey 1984; Pedersen 2004, 593). Such swords were extremely valuable and were sometimes acquired from abroad. — [5-8]: Kock proposes to simplify the syntax by conjoining hugfyldra hǫlða (l. 5) and sigr (l. 8), hence either an objective gen. ‘victory over the courageous men’ (so NN §234) or a gen. of the subject ‘victory of the courageous men’ (so NN §816 Anm. 2). Reichardt (1928, 105 n. 69) is correct to oppose either simplification for stylistic reasons. — [6] andskoti Gauta ‘the adversary of the Gautar [= Haraldr]’: As Modéer (1944a, 209) notes, this need not refer to the battle depicted here, and so does not constitute proof that Haraldr attacked Gautland; cf. Note to st. 6/2. — [7, 8] sǫngr flugbeiddra vigra ‘the song of flight-driven spears’: This could be regarded as a kenning, because it fits the pattern ‘song, noise of weapons’ (Meissner 186-9, 196-7). However, the predicative adj. hôr ‘loud’ here favours a literal understanding of the phrase. Flugbeiddr ‘flight-driven, shot’ is lit. ‘flight-demanded’.


  1. Bibliography
  2. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  3. NN = Kock, Ernst Albin. 1923-44. Notationes Norrœnæ: Anteckningar till Edda och skaldediktning. Lunds Universitets årsskrift new ser. 1. 28 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  4. Meissner = Meissner, Rudolf. 1921. Die Kenningar der Skalden: Ein Beitrag zur skaldischen Poetik. Rheinische Beiträge und Hülfsbücher zur germanischen Philologie und Volkskunde 1. Bonn and Leipzig: Schroeder. Rpt. 1984. Hildesheim etc.: Olms.
  5. Engster, Hermann. 1983. Poesie einer Achsenzeit: Der Ursprung der Skaldik im gesellschaftlichen Systemwandel der Wikingerzeit. Europäische Hochschulschriften 667. Frankfurt am Main: Lang.
  6. Kuhn, Hans (1899). 1983. Das Dróttkvætt. Heidelberg: Winter.
  7. ÍF 26-8 = Heimskringla. Ed. Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson. 1941-51.
  8. Hkr 1893-1901 = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1893-1901. Heimskringla: Nóregs konunga sǫgur af Snorri Sturluson. 4 vols. SUGNL 23. Copenhagen: Møller.
  9. Hkr 1991 = Bergljót S. Kristjánsdóttir et al., eds. 1991. Heimskringla. 3 vols. Reykjavík: Mál og menning.
  10. Reichardt, Konstantin. 1928. Studien zu den Skalden des 9. und 10. Jahrhunderts. Palaestra 159. Leipzig: Mayer & Müller.
  11. Kuhn, Hans (1899). 1969b. ‘Die Dróttkvættstrophe als Kunstwerk’. In Gellinek 1969, 63-72. Rpt. in Kuhn (1899) 1969-78, IV, 95-104.
  12. Pedersen, Anne. 2004. ‘Schwert: Karolinger- und Wikingerzeit’. In RGA, 27, 593-7.
  13. Holtsmark, Anne. 1927. Þórbjørn Hornklofes Glymdrápa. Oslo: Aschehoug & Co.
  14. Modéer, Ivar. 1944a. ‘Tre textställen i Heimskringla’. ANF 59, 203-9.
  15. Ypey, J. 1984. ‘Damaszierung’. In RGA, 5, 191-213.
  16. Internal references
  17. Not published: do not cite (HHárfII)

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