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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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ÞjóðA Magnfl 3II

Diana Whaley (ed.) 2009, ‘Þjóðólfr Arnórsson, Magnússflokkr 3’ 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. 67-8.

Þjóðólfr ArnórssonMagnússflokkr

Aur spornuðuð, arnar
ilrjóðr, af Svíþjóðu;
herr fylgði þér, harri,
hraustr í Nóreg austan.
Flýði Sveinn enn síðan
sannráðinn frá láði;
erlendis frák undan
Alfífu son drífa.

Spornuðuð aur, {ilrjóðr arnar}, af Svíþjóðu; hraustr herr fylgði þér, harri, austan í Nóreg. Enn síðan flýði Sveinn, sannráðinn, frá láði; frák {son Alfífu} drífa undan erlendis.

You trod the soil, {sole-reddener of the eagle} [WARRIOR], on the way from Sweden; a valiant army followed you, prince, from the east into Norway. Later again Sveinn fled, truly betrayed, from the land; I learned that {Ælfgifu’s son} [= Sveinn] dashed away abroad.

Mss: (497v), papp18ˣ(205v), 39(12vb-13ra), F(37vb), E(3v), J2ˣ(240v) (Hkr)

Readings: [1] Aur: ‘Ar’ E, J2ˣ;    spornuðuð: spornuðu 39, F, ‘spunno þer’ E, ‘spurno þeir’ J2ˣ    [3] herr: so all others, ‘her’ Kˣ    [4] hraustr: hraust F;    í Nóreg: af Svíþjóð F    [5] enn: om. J2ˣ    [7] frák (‘fra ek’): lét E, J2ˣ    [8] son: ‘[...]’ 39

Editions: Skj AI, 361, Skj BI, 332-3, Skald I, 168; Hkr 1893-1901, III, 12-13, IV, 181, ÍF 28, 11-12, Hkr 1991, 559-60 (Mgóð ch. 5), F 1871, 171, E 1916, 10.

Context: Learning of the arrival of Magnús Óláfsson and his adoption as king over the territories his father Óláfr had held, Sveinn Álfífuson musters the farmers of southern Hordaland (Hǫrðaland), but, failing to gain their support, makes a supposedly strategic retreat to Denmark (chs 3-4). Magnús is acclaimed (ch. 5).

Notes: [All]: The st. is introduced, Þjóðólfr kvað [variant segir] svá um Magnús konung ‘Þjóðólfr spoke [says] thus about King Magnús’. — [1] aur ‘soil’: Strictly aurr m. is ‘clay, loam’, but here it seems to refer rather generally to the earth. — [1] spornuðuð ‘you (pl.) trod’: Although this is the reading of the K transcripts alone, it is also the only one that is syntactically possible in the absence of a 3rd pl. subject for the main alternative, spornuðu ‘they trod’. — [1-2] ilrjóðr arnar ‘sole-reddener of the eagle [WARRIOR]’: The warrior spills his enemies’ blood, so attracting the birds of the battlefield. — [4] hraustr ‘valiant’: The adj. is here taken with herr ‘army’ (as in the prose w. o. above and in ÍF 28 and Hkr 1991), cf. the prúðir hirðmenn ‘splendid retainers’ in st. 2. It could equally well qualify harri ‘prince’ (so Skj B and Skald). — [5] enn síðan ‘later again’: Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson in ÍF 28 takes flýði Sveinn ‘Sveinn fled’ as a separate cl., and reads en ‘and/but’ as introducing the remainder of the helmingr. — [6] sannráðinn ‘truly betrayed’: This cpd otherwise only occurs in Am 1/8, where it clearly denotes betrayal, cf. ráðinn in Akv 15/5, referring to the same situation as Am 1 (NK 248 and 243, respectively). Another possibility is to take it more closely with frá landi ‘from the land’ in the sense ‘truly deprived (of the realm)’ (virkelig berøvet landet, Skj B, sviptur ríki ÍF 28), or ‘rightfully driven from the land’ (rekin með réttu úr landi, Hkr 1991, which also offers sviptur ‘deprived’). — [8] son Alfífu ‘Ælfgifu’s son’: Sveinn was the son of Knútr inn ríki and his Engl. concubine Ælfgifu (Álfífa). See, e.g. Knýtl ch. 16 (ÍF 35, 121 and n.); also Anon Nkt 32.


  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. NK = Neckel, Gustav and Hans Kuhn (1899), eds. 1983. Edda: Die Lieder des Codex Regius nebst verwandten Denkmälern. 2 vols. I: Text. 5th edn. Heidelberg: Winter.
  5. ÍF 26-8 = Heimskringla. Ed. Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson. 1941-51.
  6. ÍF 35 = Danakonunga sǫgur. Ed. Bjarni Guðnason. 1982.
  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. Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2009, ‘Anonymous Poems, Nóregs konungatal 32’ 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. 781-2.
  13. Not published: do not cite ()
  14. Not published: do not cite ()

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