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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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ÞjóðA Magnfl 15II

Diana Whaley (ed.) 2009, ‘Þjóðólfr Arnórsson, Magnússflokkr 15’ 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. 82-3.

Þjóðólfr ArnórssonMagnússflokkr

Náði jarl at eyða
jǫfra setr á vetri;
lézt eigi þú lítla
landvǫrn af þér standa.
Máttir, Magnús, hætta,
mildr, í folk und skildi;
nefa Knúts vas þá nýtum
nær sem ráðinn væri.

Jarl náði at eyða setr jǫfra á vetri; þú lézt eigi lítla landvǫrn standa af þér. Mildr Magnús, máttir hætta í folk und skildi; {nýtum nefa Knúts} vas þá nær sem ráðinn væri.

The jarl succeeded in clearing the seat of princes in the winter; you caused no meagre defence of territory to issue from you. Generous Magnús, you were able to venture into battle behind a shield; {for the capable nephew of Knútr} [= Sveinn] it was then almost as though he were destroyed.

Mss: (515v), papp18ˣ(221r), 39(17rb), F(41ra), E(8v), J2ˣ(253r) (Hkr); H(11v), Hr(10va) (H-Hr)

Readings: [5] Máttir: máttið E, J2ˣ, mátti Hr;    hætta: hitta H, Hr    [6] mildr í: mildi E, J2ˣ;    folk: flokk 39, F, H, Hr    [7] nefa: nema E;    þá: þar Hr    [8] sem: so 39, F, Hr, sem hann Kˣ, papp18ˣ, E, J2ˣ, H

Editions: Skj AI, 366, Skj BI, 336, Skald I, 170; Hkr 1893-1901, III, 60, IV, 199-200, ÍF 28, 54, Hkr 1991, 591 (Mgóð ch. 31), F 1871, 187, E 1916, 29; Fms 6, 81 (Mgóð ch. 38), Fms 12, 136.

Context: Sveinn Úlfsson flees to Fyn (Fjón), leaving Magnús to harry Sjælland (Selund, Zealand), then to meet up with him in the autumn.

Notes: [1] náði at eyða ‘succeeded in clearing’: (a) Náði, the reading of all mss, has been retained. If this is a claim of success on the part of Sveinn (the sacking of an enemy stronghold) it is problematic in an encomium on Magnús, and at odds both with the prose contexts and with ll. 3-4, unless the defence described there is taken as the response to the provocation in ll. 1-2. However, if the sense of eyða is rather ‘empty’ or ‘leave, abandon a place’ (Fritzner: eyða 1, 2), the meaning could be instead that Sveinn cleared his own royal residence in Sjælland by fleeing with all his men. In this case náði ‘succeeded’ would have an ironic ring. (b) Finnur Jónsson (Hkr 1893-1901, III, IV and Skj B) and Kock (Skald) emended by adding negative -(a)t), hence náðit ‘did not succeed’. — [6] í folk ‘into battle’: The variant í flokk ‘in a group’ is possible but less apt in context. — [8] ráðinn ‘destroyed’: Ráða can mean ‘betray’ or ‘seal another’s fate’, often by killing, as in GSúrs Lv 21/5, 8V, segja Þorketil ráðinn ‘report that Þorkell has been killed’, and ráða e-n can mean ‘plot sby’s death’ (Fritzner: ráða 7). While no treachery is involved here, the sense of destruction is present. Cf. Note to Arn Þorfdr 20/5.


  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. Fms = Sveinbjörn Egilsson et al., eds. 1825-37. Fornmanna sögur eptir gömlum handritum útgefnar að tilhlutun hins norræna fornfræða fèlags. 12 vols. Copenhagen: Popp.
  4. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  5. Fritzner = Fritzner, Johan. 1883-96. Ordbog over det gamle norske sprog. 3 vols. Kristiania (Oslo): Den norske forlagsforening. 4th edn. Rpt. 1973. Oslo etc.: 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. E 1916 = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1916. Eirspennill: AM 47 fol. Nóregs konunga sǫgur: Magnús góði – Hákon gamli. Kristiania (Oslo): Den norske historiske kildeskriftskommission.
  11. Internal references
  12. Diana Whaley (ed.) 2009, ‘Arnórr jarlaskáld Þórðarson, Þorfinnsdrápa 20’ 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. 253-4.
  13. Not published: do not cite (GSúrs Lv 21V (Gísl 24))

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