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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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ÞjóðA Lv 9II

Diana Whaley (ed.) 2009, ‘Þjóðólfr Arnórsson, Lausavísur 9’ 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. 173-4.

Þjóðólfr ArnórssonLausavísur

Ǫld es, sús jarli skyldi
ógnteitum lið veita,
— sterkr olli því stillir —
Steinkels gefin helju.
En, þvít illa reynðisk
aflsvôn þaðan hônum,
fyrir lét Hôkon hǫrfa,
hvat segr, hinns þat fegrir.

Ǫld Steinkels es gefin helju, sús skyldi veita lið ógnteitum jarli; sterkr stillir olli því. En, þvít aflsvôn þaðan reynðisk hônum illa, lét Hôkon hǫrfa fyrir, hvat segr, hinns fegrir þat.

Steinkell’s men have been handed over to death’s realm, those who should have given support to the battle-joyous jarl; the mighty ruler [Haraldr] caused that. But, because the expectation of support from there turned out badly for him, Hákon effected a retreat, whatever anyone says who puts a gloss on it.

Mss: (569v), 39(29ra), F(50va), E(23v), J2ˣ(289r) (Hkr); Mork(15r) (Mork); Flat(201vb) (Flat); H(60r), Hr(44ra) (H-Hr)

Readings: [1] es (‘er’): om. 39, H, var E, Flat;    sús (‘su er’): sú J2ˣ, Mork;    skyldi: vildi Mork, H, om. Hr    [2] ‑teitum: ‘tieittum’ Flat    [3] sterkr: styrkr H;    því: þar 39, styr Mork    [4] helju (‘hælio’): ‘elio’ 39    [5] þvít (‘þvi at’): þat Flat;    illa: om. Hr;    reynðisk: reyndusk Mork    [6] afls: alfs E, afl‑ Mork, Flat, H, alf Hr    [7] fyrir: fyrr Flat    [8] hvat: ‘hua’ E, hvatt Flat;    segr: segir F, E, J2ˣ, Flat, Hr;    þat: þar E, om. H, Hr;    fegrir: ‘fegir’ H, Hr

Editions: Skj AI, 383, Skj BI, 352-3, Skald I, 177; Hkr 1893-1901, III, 181, IV, 233-4, ÍF 28, 164, Hkr 1991, 668 (HSig ch. 72), F 1871, 237, E 1916, 84; Mork 1928-32, 231, Andersson and Gade 2000, 241, 478 (MH); Flat 1860-8, III, 375 (MH); Fms 6, 336 (HSig ch. 89), Fms 12, 159.

Context: Hákon jarl Ívarsson, commissioned by King Steinkell to defend Götaland (Gautland) against Haraldr’s attacks, fights well along with his Dan. forces, but their standard is captured and they are forced to flee.

Notes: [4] helju ‘death’s realm’: Cf. Note to ÞjóðA Sex 16/8 and Valg Har 8/6. — [8] hvat ‘whatever’: The interpretation here follows Andersson and Gade. Hvat is slightly elliptical, lacking a rel. particle (e)s. Previous eds read hvatt and take it with the previous cl., hence Hkon lét hǫrfa fyrir hvatt ‘Hákon effected a retreat swiftly’, but this virtually amounts to an emendation since only Flat reads hvatt, and all other mss but one have hvat. — [8] segr ‘says’: I.e. 3rd pers. sg. pres. of segja. The usual form, segir, is seen in five mss but segr may be an authentic older variant (cf. 1st pers. sg. pres. seg rather than segi, ANG §532.6). — [8] fegrir ‘puts a gloss on it’: Fegra is the causative verb from fagr ‘beautiful’, hence the informant literally ‘beautifies’ the narrative of the retreat.


  1. Bibliography
  2. Fms = Sveinbjörn Egilsson et al., eds. 1825-37. Fornmanna sögur eptir gömlum handritum útgefnar að tilhlutun hins norræna fornfræða fèlags. 12 vols. Copenhagen: Popp.
  3. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  4. Andersson, Theodore M. and Kari Ellen Gade, trans. 2000. Morkinskinna: The Earliest Icelandic Chronicle of the Norwegian Kings (1030-1157). Islandica 51. Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press.
  5. 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.
  6. Flat 1860-8 = Gudbrand Vigfusson [Guðbrandur Vigfússon] and C. R. Unger, eds. 1860-8. Flateyjarbók. En samling af norske konge-sagaer med indskudte mindre fortællinger om begivenheder i og udenfor Norge samt annaler. 3 vols. Christiania (Oslo): Malling.
  7. Mork 1928-32 = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1928-32. Morkinskinna. SUGNL 53. Copenhagen: Jørgensen.
  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. Hkr 1991 = Bergljót S. Kristjánsdóttir et al., eds. 1991. Heimskringla. 3 vols. Reykjavík: Mál og menning.
  11. F 1871 = Unger, C. R., ed. 1871. Fríssbók: Codex Frisianus. En samling af norske konge-sagaer. Christiania (Oslo): Malling.
  12. E 1916 = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1916. Eirspennill: AM 47 fol. Nóregs konunga sǫgur: Magnús góði – Hákon gamli. Kristiania (Oslo): Den norske historiske kildeskriftskommission.
  13. Internal references
  14. Not published: do not cite (HSigII)
  15. Not published: do not cite (MHII)
  16. Diana Whaley (ed.) 2009, ‘Þjóðólfr Arnórsson, Sexstefja 16’ 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. 129-30.
  17. Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2009, ‘Valgarðr á Velli, Poem about Haraldr harðráði 8’ 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. 307.

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