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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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ÞjóðA Sex 2II

Diana Whaley (ed.) 2009, ‘Þjóðólfr Arnórsson, Sexstefja 2’ 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. 113-14.

Þjóðólfr ArnórssonSexstefja

text and translation

Tøgu má tekna segja
(tandrauðs) á Serklandi
(ungr hætti sér) átta
(ormtorgs hǫtuðr) borga,
áðr herskorðuðr harðan
Hildar leik und skildi
Serkjum hættr í sléttri
Sikileyju gekk heyja.

Má segja átta tøgu borga tekna á Serklandi—{ungr hǫtuðr {tandrauðs ormtorgs}} hætti sér—, áðr {herskorðuðr}, hættr Serkjum, gekk heyja {harðan leik Hildar} und skildi í sléttri Sikileyju.
‘One can say that eighty strongholds were captured in the land of the Saracens (Serkland)—the young hater of the flame-red dragon-square [GOLD > RULER] put himself in danger—, before the troop-supporter [WARRIOR], dangerous to the Saracens (Serkir), advanced to wage the harsh sport of Hildr <valkyrie> [BATTLE] behind his shield in level Sicily.

notes and context

The st. is introduced to back up the statement that, in the course of his exploits in the Mediterranean, Haraldr Sigurðarson went to Africa, known as Serkland ‘land of the Saracens’, and conquered eighty strongholds by force or by securing their surrender before proceeding to Sicily. Fsk and Flat claim that the tradition rests on Haraldr’s own account.

For this episode, see also Hharð Gamv 2, Hharð Lv 10, Bǫlv Hardr 4-5 and Valg Har 1. — The linkage and progression between the two helmingar is reinforced by deft echoing of the phrases á Serklandi ‘in the land of the Saracens (Serkland)’ (l. 2) and hætti sér ‘put himself in danger’ (l. 3) in Serkjum hættr ‘dangerous to the Saracens (Serkir)’ (l. 7). See further Whaley 2005, 483-4.



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, 3. Sexstefja 2: AI, 369, BI, 339, Skald I, 171; Hkr 1893-1901, III, 82, IV, 209-10, ÍF 28, 75, Hkr 1991, 605 (HSig ch. 5), F 1871, 195, E 1916, 36; Fsk 1902-3, 222 (ch. 43), ÍF 29, 230 (ch. 51); Fms 6, 138-9 (HSig ch. 5), Fms 12, 141; Flat 1860-8, III, 294, Andersson and Gade 2000, 135-6, 472 (MH).


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