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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Þjóð Yt 27I

Edith Marold (ed.) 2012, ‘Þjóðólfr ór Hvini, Ynglingatal 27’ 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. 58.

Þjóðólfr ór HviniYnglingatal

text and translation

Þat veitk bazt
und blôum himni
svát konungr eigi,
es Rǫgnvaldr,
reiðar stjóri,
of heitinn es.
Ok mildgeðr
markar dróttinn

Veitk þat kenninafn bazt und blôum himni, svát konungr eigi, es Rǫgnvaldr, {stjóri reiðar}, es of heitinn heiðumhôr. Ok mildgeðr dróttinn markar...
‘I know that nickname to be the best under the blue sky that a king might have, that Rǫgnvaldr, the steerer of the carriage [RULER], is called ‘High with Honours’. And the generous-minded lord of the forest...

notes and context

Rǫgnvaldr was king in Vestfold after his father Óláfr Geirstaðaálfr. Þjóðólfr composed Yt in his honour.

In its praise of a ruler, the stanza differs decidedly from the other stanzas, and it clearly indicates that the poem was composed for Rǫgnvaldr. According to Yng (ÍF 26, 83, and Context above) Rǫgnvaldr was a son of Óláfr Geirstaðaálfr and hence, like Haraldr hárfagri, a grandson of Guðrøðr. This would find some support in the fact that Haraldr named one of his sons Rǫgnvaldr, possibly following the custom of naming a child after a recently deceased kinsman (Nerman 1914; Marold 1987, 83 n. 3). No trace of Rǫgnvaldr remains in other historical traditions, however, and this has led to diverse speculations. (a) Bugge (1894, 134-5) argues that Rǫgnvaldr was unrelated to Haraldr hárfagri. Believing that Yt was composed in Northumbria or in Ireland, he attempts to identify several kings who fell in those places as Rǫgnvaldr. (b) Wadstein (1895a, 80-2) attempts to show that the last stanza was composed for Haraldr hárfagri (already suggested by Guðbrandur Vigfússon in CPB I, 243). He takes rǫgnvaldr to be a noun meaning ‘the powerful ruler’ and views heiðumhárr as equivalent to hárfagri (‘Fair-hair’), which Bugge (1894, 163) convincingly refutes. (c) According to Bergsveinn Birgisson (2008, 410), Rǫgnvaldr may have been Reginfridus, son of the Danish king Godefridus. — [9-10]: The last two lines are only attested in F and 761aˣ and are syntactically incomplete. It is possible that they are a fragment of a lost stanza (Konráð Gíslason 1881, 185-6; Bugge 1894, 137), and they are omitted in some eds (Hkr 1893-1901; Yng 1912; Skald; ÍF 26; cf. also Åkerlund 1939, 123-4; NN §1014A).



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: Þjóðólfr ór Hvini, enn hvinverski, 1. Ynglingatal 37: AI, 15, BI, 14, Skald I, 9, NN §1014A; Hkr 1893-1901, I, 85, IV, 28, ÍF 26, 83, Hkr 1991, I, 49 (Yng ch. 50), F 1871, 33; Yng 1912, 54, 70, Yng 2000, 71; Yt 1914, 18-19, Yt 1925, 210, 253.


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