Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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ÞjóðA Har 7II

Diana Whaley (ed.) 2009, ‘Þjóðólfr Arnórsson, Stanzas about Haraldr Sigurðarson’s leiðangr 7’ 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. 157-8.

Þjóðólfr ArnórssonStanzas about Haraldr Sigurðarson’s leiðangr

Haraldr þeysti nú hraustla
helming sinn at Elfi;
náttar Nóregs dróttinn
nær at landamæri.
Gramr á þing við Þumla;
þars eindagaðr Sveini
hrafni skyldr, nema haldi,
hans fundr, Danir undan.

Haraldr þeysti nú helming sinn hraustla at Elfi; {dróttinn Nóregs} náttar nær at landamæri. Gramr á þing við Þumla; þars fundr hans, skyldr hrafni, eindagaðr Sveini, nema Danir haldi undan.

Haraldr has now rushed his troop boldly towards the Götaälv (Elfr); {the lord of Norway} [= Haraldr] overnights close to the lands’ boundary. The prince holds an assembly off Þumli; there a meeting with him, owed to the raven, is appointed for Sveinn, unless the Danes head away.

Mss: (559r), F(48va), E(20v), J2ˣ(281v-282r) (Hkr); H(55r), Hr(40rb) (H-Hr)

Readings: [1] þeysti: þrýstir H, Hr    [3] náttar: náttið H, Hr    [6] eindagaðr: eindagat F, H, ‘eindat’ E, eindagr Hr    [7] hrafni: hrǫfnum F, E, H, Hr;    skyldr: skyld F, skuld E, skyldan H, Hr;    nema haldi: en halda F, E, halda H, Hr    [8] fundr: fund F, E, H, Hr

Editions: Skj AI, 382-3, Skj BI, 352, Skald I, 177, NN §3089; Hkr 1893-1901, III, 158, IV, 226, ÍF 28, 144-5 (HSig ch. 60), F 1871, 226-7, E 1916, 73; Fms 6, 311 (HSig ch. 76), Fms 12, 155.

Context: Now with a favourable wind (cf. previous Context), Haraldr takes his fleet east to the Götaälv (Elfr).

Notes: [1] þeysti ‘has rushed’: The minority variant þrýstir ‘presses’ would normally be either intransitive or would govern the dat. case, and therefore does not fit the present context. — [2] helming ‘troop’: (a) The mss have helming, and this is the usual normalisation of the word (see also Valg Har 4/1). In retaining it, the present edn follows Kock, who prints helming in Skald and in NN §3089 argues for a rhyme of first consonant only, here [l], as also in l. 5 gramr : Þumla. (b) The form helfing may be suggested by the aðalhending on Elf-, and this is adopted in Skj B; see also ANG §237.2. Kock, however, describes helfing as non-occurring, while helfningr and helningr do occur, and Bjarni Aðalbjarnason in ÍF 28 prints helfning. — [5-8]: Only and J2ˣ have the readings which produce the prose w. o. and translation above, and it is possible that they are the result of scribal improvement. The reading eindagat in F, H and perhaps E (though miswritten there) would agree with n. acc. sg. þing ‘assembly’ and hence perhaps have þing as its antecedent: þars eindagat Sveini ‘where an assembly has been appointed for Sveinn’, and in ll. 7-8 the F, E readings would give en Danir halda undan fund hans ‘but the Danes head away from a meeting with him’. However, halda undan ‘head away, escape’ does not elsewhere take an acc. object, and this analysis would leave skyldr hrafni ‘owed to the raven’ (and similarly skyldan hrǫfnum in H, Hr) unaccounted for. — [5] Þumla ‘Þumli’: This seems to refer to the southern part of the island of Hisingen at the mouth of the Götaälv, but whether it is acc. sg. of a p. n. Þumli or acc. pl. of the ethnic name Þumlar is unclear. It is taken here as a p. n., equivalent to Tumlahede/Tumlehed (following Skj B and ÍF 28). The folk-name is slightly favoured in LP: Þumli. — [7] skyldr hrafni ‘owed to the raven’: This helps to define the ominous fundr ‘meeting’ as a military encounter which will provide food for the traditional birds of battle. The pl. variant hrǫfnum ‘ravens’ is also possible.


  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. NN = Kock, Ernst Albin. 1923-44. Notationes Norrœnæ: Anteckningar till Edda och skaldediktning. Lunds Universitets årsskrift new ser. 1. 28 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  6. LP = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1931. Lexicon poeticum antiquæ linguæ septentrionalis: Ordbog over det norsk-islandske skjaldesprog oprindelig forfattet af Sveinbjörn Egilsson. 2nd edn. Copenhagen: Møller.
  7. ANG = Noreen, Adolf. 1923. Altnordische Grammatik I: Altisländische und altnorwegische Grammatik (Laut- und Flexionslehre) unter Berücksichtigung des Urnordischen. 4th edn. Halle: Niemeyer. 1st edn. 1884. 5th unrev. edn. 1970. Tübingen: Niemeyer.
  8. ÍF 26-8 = Heimskringla. Ed. Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson. 1941-51.
  9. Hkr 1893-1901 = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1893-1901. Heimskringla: Nóregs konunga sǫgur af Snorri Sturluson. 4 vols. SUGNL 23. Copenhagen: Møller.
  10. F 1871 = Unger, C. R., ed. 1871. Fríssbók: Codex Frisianus. En samling af norske konge-sagaer. Christiania (Oslo): Malling.
  11. E 1916 = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1916. Eirspennill: AM 47 fol. Nóregs konunga sǫgur: Magnús góði – Hákon gamli. Kristiania (Oslo): Den norske historiske kildeskriftskommission.
  12. Internal references
  13. Not published: do not cite (HSigII)
  14. Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2009, ‘Valgarðr á Velli, Poem about Haraldr harðráði 4’ 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, p. 303.

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