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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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ÞjóðA Magn 11II

Diana Whaley (ed.) 2009, ‘Þjóðólfr Arnórsson, Stanzas about Magnús Óláfsson in Danaveldi 11’ 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. 98-9.

Þjóðólfr ArnórssonStanzas about Magnús Óláfsson in Danaveldi

Bôrum jôrn at œrnu
ískǫld á lið vísa;
skjótt ríða nú skreyttar
Skônunga lokvánir.
Rauðr leikr of bœ breiðum
bráðr at óru ráði
eldr, en ernir valda
atblásendr því vási.

Bôrum ískǫld jôrn at œrnu á lið vísa; skreyttar lokvánir Skônunga ríða nú skjótt. Rauðr eldr leikr bráðr of breiðum bœ at ráði óru, en ernir atblásendr valda því vási.

We carried ice-cold irons [weapons] in good measure against the prince’s troop; the Skánungar’s fancy hopes for the outcome are now dispersing [lit. riding] swiftly. Red fire sports, hasty, over the broad settlement at our behest, and brisk inflamers bring about that trouble.

Mss: (517v-518r), papp18ˣ(222v), 39(17vb), F(41rb), E(9r), J2ˣ(255r) (Hkr); H(12v), Hr(11ra) (H-Hr)

Readings: [1] Bôrum: Bru Hr;    œrnu: so 39, F, Hr, ‘ǫrnom’ Kˣ, papp18ˣ, ‘ǫrnu’ E, J2ˣ, ‘ærv’ H    [2] á: í F, Hr;    vísa: ‘hvara’ J2ˣ    [3] ríða: so all others, reiða Kˣ, papp18ˣ;    skreyttar: skreyttrar F, skreyttan E, J2ˣ, skeyttar H, Hr    [4] lok‑: ‘lǫk’ E    [5] leikr of bœ: rann bekkr um H, Hr;    breiðum: so 39, F, E, J2ˣ, breiðan Kˣ, papp18ˣ, breiða H, Hr    [7] ernir: ‘ærnir’ 39    [8] ‑blásendr: blásir 39, F

Editions: Skj AI, 378, Skj BI, 348, Skald I, 175, NN §868; Hkr 1893-1901, III, 66, IV, 204, ÍF 28, 60, Hkr 1991, 596 (Mgóð ch. 33), F 1871, 190, E 1916, 31; Fms 6, 87-8 (Mgóð ch. 40), Fms 12, 138-9.

Context: The prose narrative mentions the burning of settlements and flight of the people before citing this st.

Notes: [5] breiðum ‘broad’: The reading of most Hkr mss, and chosen also in ÍF 28. The reading breiðan is equally viable, but it is isolated (though perhaps supported by breiða in H-Hr) and the readings for œrnu (l. 1) and ríða (l. 3) are similarly out of line. In each case papp18ˣ confirms as an accurate reflection of the all-but-lost Kringla. — [7] ernir ‘brisk’: All mss except 39 read ‘ernir’, pointing to the m. nom. pl. of ern ‘brisk, vigorous’ or possibly of errinn ‘brisk, valiant’ (though as ÍF 28 notes this strictly would give errnir), rather than of œrinn ‘plentiful’ as assumed by some eds. — [7-8] atblásendr valda því vási ‘inflamers bring about that trouble’: Blása at ‘blow at/upon’ is used especially of blowing a fire into a blaze, while vás n. is ‘toil, trouble’, especially in the context of hard, wet journeys beset by rain or sea-spray. The image is thus both literal and metaphorical, and has resonances with the storm-blown blaze in st. 6. Finnur Jónsson’s non-literal translation of átblásendr as ‘strife-makers’ (ufredsstiftere) in Hkr 1893-1901, IV and Skj B elicited an indignant response from Kock (NN §868).


  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. 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. Kari Ellen Gade 2009, ‘Heimskringla (Hkr)’ 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 [check printed volume for citation].
  13. Kari Ellen Gade 2009, ‘Hulda and Hrokkinskinna (H-Hr)’ 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 [check printed volume for citation].

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