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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Þjóð Yt 15I

Edith Marold (ed.) 2012, ‘Þjóðólfr ór Hvini, Ynglingatal 15’ 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. 34.

Þjóðólfr ór HviniYnglingatal
141516

Fell Óttarr
und ara greipar
dugandligr
fyr Dana vôpnum.
Þann hergammr
hrægum fœti
ðs borinn
á Vendli sparn.
Þau frák verk
Vǫtts ok Fasta
sœnskri þjóð
at sǫgum verða,
at eylands
jarlar Fróða
vígfrǫmuð
of veginn hǫfðu.

Dugandligr Óttarr fell und greipar ara fyr vôpnum Dana. {Hergammr} víðs borinn sparn þann hrægum fœti á Vendli. Frák þau verk Vǫtts ok Fasta verða sœnskri þjóð at sǫgum, at jarlar Fróða eylands hǫfðu of veginn {vígfrǫmuð}.

The valiant Óttarr fell beneath the talons of the eagle before the weapons of the Danes. {The battle-vulture} [RAVEN/EAGLE], come from afar, trod him with flesh-hung foot at Vendill. I have learned that these deeds of Vǫttr and Fasti became legends for the Swedish people, that the jarls of Fróði from the island had killed {the inciter of war} [WARRIOR].

Mss: (29v), papp18ˣ(8r), 521ˣ(34), F(5ra), J1ˣ(12v), J2ˣ(16r-v), R685ˣ(16r) (Hkr); 761aˣ(59v-60r)

Readings: [1] Fell Óttarr: ‘feill Ottur’ R685ˣ    [6] fœti: færi J1ˣ, J2ˣ, R685ˣ    [7] ðs: ‘vitz’ Kˣ, papp18ˣ, 521ˣ, J1ˣ, J2ˣ, R685ˣ, 761aˣ, víti F    [8] Vendli: ‘vændli’ J1ˣ, R685ˣ, ‘vandli’ J2ˣ;    sparn: ‘spáro’ F    [10] Vǫtts: ‘vatz’ F    [14] jarlar: so F, jarla Kˣ, papp18ˣ, 521ˣ, 761aˣ, ‘jj’ J1ˣ, R685ˣ, jarlar or jarla J2ˣ    [16] veginn: vegit F, J2ˣ, væg R685ˣ

Editions: Skj AI, 11, Skj BI, 10-11, Skald I, 7, NN §76; Hkr 1893-1901, I, 53-4, IV, 16-17, ÍF 26, 54-5, Hkr 1991, I, 31-2 (Yng ch. 27), F 1871, 20-1; Yng 1912, 35, 64 , Yng 2000, 42; Yt 1914, 9, Yt 1925, 204, 237-8.

Context: Strife arises between Egill’s son and successor Óttarr and the Danish king Fróði over some tribute that Egill had promised in return for Fróði’s support but never paid. Fróði invades Sweden with his troops, doing great damage. The following summer, when Fróði has gone raiding in the Baltic, Óttarr retaliates and invades, devastating Limafjǫrðr (the Limfjorden area). Fróði’s jarls Vǫttr and Fasti stage a defence in the king’s absence, and Óttarr dies in a battle in Vendill. The Danes lay his body on a hill, leaving it to birds and wild animals. They send a wooden crow to Sweden as a taunt about the king, for which reason he is afterwards called vendilkráka ‘Vendel-crow’.

Notes: [All]: This stanza sets the death of Óttarr in Denmark, at a place called Vendill which Þjóðólfr may have associated with Vendsyssel, north of Limfjorden in Jutland. However, this is generally assumed to stem from a misinterpretation of Swedish tradition on Þjóðólfr’s part, which was then taken up by HN and by Snorri in Hkr. According to numerous scholars (e.g. Vikstrand 2004, 379-83), the p. n. Vendill originally designated the region Vendel, north of Uppsala. This identification has been made partly because of the exceptionally large burial mound there, known as Ottarshögen since the second half of the C17th. Although it cannot be proven that the ruler buried there was the Óttarr of Yt, the dating of the Vendel finds corresponds roughly to that of the stanza’s historical background inasmuch as it may be inferred from Beowulf. A further indication that Vendill is the Vendel district in Sweden has been seen in Vendilkráka, the king’s nickname, which appears in Hkr. However, this nickname applies to Egill in HN and Íslb, not to Óttarr. Vendelkråkor is said to have been a comical designation for people from Vendel over a long period (Vikstrand 2004, 380-3). The assumption has been that Snorri transferred Egill’s nickname to his son Óttarr (Bugge 1894, 141; Storm 1899, 109; Krag 1991, 121). If this is correct, the association with the region in Sweden would also apply to Egill. — [1] Óttarr: The linguistic derivation of the name is controversial, cf. Peterson (2007, 177). It corresponds to Ōhthere of Beowulf, named there as son of Ongenþēow, brother of Onela (Yt 16/15 Áli) and father of Ēanmund and Ēadgils (Yt 16/2 Aðils). — [6] hrægum fœti ‘with flesh-hung foot’: Hrægum is dat. sg. of hræugr ‘flesh-hung’, a hap. leg. derived from hræ n. ‘corpse, carrion’. Cf. Þhorn Harkv 3/5 hold loðir í klóum yðr ‘flesh hangs from your claws’. — [7] ðs borinn ‘come from afar’: (a) Following Konráð Gíslason (1881, 232-4), most eds including this one interpret the mss’ ‘vitz’ as an adverbial gen. sg. from víðr ‘wide, far’. (b) Kock (NN §76) takes ‘vitz’ as the gen. sg. vits from vit ‘wits, consciousness’ and explains borinn vits as ‘overcome with respect to consciousness’, i.e. unconscious, lifeless, but his claimed parallels use dat. case and are unconvincing. — [8] Vendli ‘Vendill’: See Notes to [All] and l. 13 eylands. — [13-16] at jarlar Fróða eylands hǫfðu of veginn vígfrǫmuð ‘that the jarls of Fróði from the island had killed the inciter of war [WARRIOR]’: Almost all eds associate eylands with jarlar Fróða ‘jarls of Fróði’. However, their views of the syntactic status of the gen. diverge. (a) Taking eylands with jarlar yields the interpretation ‘the island jarls of Fróði’ (Hkr 1893-1901, IV; Skj B; ÍF 26 and this edn). Jarlar Fróða are thus the jarls installed by Fróði as the defenders and administrators of the island. (b) Taking eylands with Fróða results in ‘the jarls of the island of Fróði’ (Noreen 1912b, 130; Yt 1925). But since Þjóðólfr’s lines characteristically constitute logical unities, it is preferable to assume a collocation of jarlar Fróða. (c) For this reason Åkerlund (1939, 98-100) takes a step further and associates eylands with vígfrǫmuð ‘inciter of war’, taking eylands as gen. object of víg-, hence ‘attackers of the island’ (so also Beyschlag 1950, 24 and Hkr 1991). However, the syntactic kenning-type vígfrǫmuð eylands does not occur in kviðuháttr (Noreen 1921, 41), and the object of víg is normally human. — [13] eylands ‘from the island’: This cannot be identified with certainty. Vendsyssel, the northernmost part of Jutland, which at the time was still separated from the mainland by Limfjorden, is most likely. See further Note to Sigv Knútdr 8/8.

References

  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. Krag, Claus. 1991. Ynglingatal og Ynglingesaga. En studie i historiske Kilder. Studia Humaniora 2. Oslo: Universitetsforlaget.
  6. ÍF 26-8 = Heimskringla. Ed. Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson. 1941-51.
  7. Hkr 1893-1901 = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1893-1901. Heimskringla: Nóregs konunga sǫgur af Snorri Sturluson. 4 vols. SUGNL 23. Copenhagen: Møller.
  8. Hkr 1991 = Bergljót S. Kristjánsdóttir et al., eds. 1991. Heimskringla. 3 vols. Reykjavík: Mál og menning.
  9. F 1871 = Unger, C. R., ed. 1871. Fríssbók: Codex Frisianus. En samling af norske konge-sagaer. Christiania (Oslo): Malling.
  10. HN = Historia Norwegiæ. In MHN 69-124.
  11. Noreen, Erik. 1921. Studier i fornvästnordisk diktning. Uppsala: Akademiska bokhandeln.
  12. Konráð Gíslason. 1881. ‘Nogle bemærkninger angående Ynglingatal’. ÅNOH, 185-251.
  13. Yng 2000 = Jørgensen, Jon Gunnar, ed. 2000b. Ynglinga saga etter Kringla (AM 35 fol). Series of Dissertations submitted to the Faculty of Arts, University of Oslo 80. Oslo: Unipub forlag.
  14. Yt 1914 = Grape, Anders and Birger Nerman, eds. 1914. Ynglingatal I-IV. Meddelanden från Nordiska Seminariet 3. Uppsala: Berling.
  15. Yng 1912 = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1912. Ynglingasaga. Copenhagen: Gad.
  16. Yt 1925 = Noreen, Adolf, ed. 1925. Ynglingatal: Text, översättning och kommentar. Stockholm: Lagerström.
  17. Beyschlag, Siegfried. 1950. Konungasögur: Untersuchungen zur Königssaga bis Snorri. Die älteren Übersichtswerke samt Ynglingasaga. Copenhagen: Munksgaard.
  18. Bugge, Sophus. 1894. Bidrag til den ældste skaldedigtnings historie. Christiania (Oslo): Aschehoug.
  19. Noreen, Adolf. 1912b. ‘Forsök till en rekonstruktion af Ynglingatal jämte øfversättning’. In Studier tillägnade Karl Warburg på hans sextioårsdag af vänner och lärjungar. Stockholm: Norstedt, 125-35.
  20. Peterson, Lena. 2007. Nordiskt runnamnslexikon. 5th edn. Uppsala: Institutet för språk och folkminnen.
  21. Storm, Gustav. 1899. ‘Ynglingatal, dets forfatter og forfattelsestid’. ANF 15, 107-41.
  22. Vikstrand, Per. 2004. ‘Skúta and Vendil. Two Place Names in Ynglingatal’. In Nahl et al. 2004, 372-87.
  23. Åkerlund, Walter. 1939. Studier över Ynglingatal. Skrifta utgivna av Vetenskaps-Societeten i Lund 23. Lund: Gleerup.
  24. Internal references
  25. Kari Ellen Gade 2009, ‘Heimskringla (Hkr)’ 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 [check printed volume for citation].
  26. Not published: do not cite (ÍslbIV)
  27. Not published: do not cite (YngII)
  28. Edith Marold with the assistance of Vivian Busch, Jana Krüger, Ann-Dörte Kyas and Katharina Seidel, translated from German by John Foulks 2012, ‘(Introduction to) Þjóðólfr ór Hvini, Ynglingatal’ 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. 3.
  29. Matthew Townend (ed.) 2012, ‘Sigvatr Þórðarson, Knútsdrápa 8’ 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. 659.
  30. R. D. Fulk (ed.) 2012, ‘Þorbjǫrn hornklofi, Haraldskvæði (Hrafnsmál) 3’ 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. 97.
  31. Edith Marold (ed.) 2012, ‘Þjóðólfr ór Hvini, Ynglingatal 16’ 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. 36.
  32. Not published: do not cite ()
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