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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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ÞjóðA Run 1II

Diana Whaley (ed.) 2009, ‘Þjóðólfr Arnórsson, Runhent poem about Haraldr 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. 103-5.

Þjóðólfr ArnórssonRunhent poem about Haraldr

text and translation

Eitt hǫfðusk at,
Eilífr þars sat,
hǫfðingjar tveir;
hamalt fylkðu þeir.
Austr-Vinðum ók
í ǫngvan krók;
vasa Læsum léttr
liðsmanna réttr.

Tveir hǫfðingjar hǫfðusk at eitt, þars Eilífr sat; þeir fylkðu hamalt. Austr-Vinðum ók í ǫngvan krók; réttr liðsmanna vasa léttr Læsum.
‘Two chieftains engaged in a single action, where Eilífr held sway; they lined up their troops in wedge formation. The East Wends were driven into a tight corner; the terms of the liegemen were not easy on the Læsir.

notes and context

After the battle of Stiklestad (Stiklastaðir, 1030), the young Haraldr Sigurðarson makes his way to north-west Russia (Garðaríki), where he is well received by King Jaroslav (Jarizleifr) and put in charge of his defence forces, together with Eilífr, son of Rǫgnvaldr jarl. Flat reports Haraldr’s arrival in Russia, cites Bǫlv Hardr 1 and the second helmingr of the present st., then mentions Haraldr’s position with Jaroslav, with the first helmingr in support.

The integrity of the st. is accepted here, as by previous scholars, and the contrast of two positional images, hamalt ‘wedge formation’ (l. 4) of the victors and í ǫngvan krók ‘into a narrow corner’ (l. 6) of their victims, seems felicitous. On the other hand the switch of focus from two leaders in ll. 1-4 to a sg. or impersonal ók ‘drove’ in l. 5 is slightly disconcerting, added to the fact that Fsk only cites the second helmingr, and that Flat (Flat) separates the two helmingar, with the second first.



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: Þjóðolfr Arnórsson, 2. Runhent digt om Harald hårdråde 1: AI, 368, BI, 338, Skald I, 170-1; Hkr 1893-1901, III, 76, IV, 209, ÍF 28, 70, Hkr 1991, 602 (HSig ch. 2), F 1871, 192, E 1916, 34; Fsk 1902-3, 218 (ch. 43), ÍF 29, 228 (ch. 51); Fms 6, 132 (HSig ch. 2), Fms 12, 140Flat 1860-8, III, 290, 289, Andersson and Gade 2000, 131, 471 (MH).


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