Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Þloft Tøgdr 3I

Matthew Townend (ed.) 2012, ‘Þórarinn loftunga, Tøgdrápa 3’ in Diana Whaley (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 1: From Mythical Times to c. 1035. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 1. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 855.

Þórarinn loftungaTøgdrápa

Ok fyr Lista
liðu framm viðir
Hádýrs of haf
hart kolsvartir.
Byggt vas innan
allt brimgaltar
suðr sæskíðum
sund Eikunda.

Ok fyr Lista liðu kolsvartir viðir hart framm of haf Hádýrs. Innan {brimgaltar} vas allt Eikundasund suðr byggt {sæskíðum}.

And off Lista the coal-black ships travelled hard forwards over the sea of Hådyret. On the landward side {of the surf-boar} [SHIP] the entire Eigersund to the south was inhabited {by sea-skis} [SHIPS].

Mss: (428r) (Hkr); Holm2(57r), J2ˣ(206v), Bæb(2va), 68(56v), Holm4(54va), 61(115va), 75c(38v), 325V(67va), 325VII(31r), 325XI 2 g(3rb), Flat(118va), Tóm(145v) (ÓH); DG8(96r) (ÓHLeg); FskAˣ(180) (Fsk)

Readings: [3] Há‑: haf‑ Holm2, 68, 325V, 325XI 2 g, DG8, FskAˣ, hrann‑ Bæb, haf corrected from ‘há’ 325VII, hag Flat, Tóm;    ‑dýrs: ‑gjalfrs Holm4, 325V, 325VII, Flat, Tóm, DG8, ‘gialbrs’ 61, dýr FskAˣ;    of (‘um’): í Bæb, Holm4, 61, 325V, 325VII, Flat, Tóm, FskAˣ    [5] Byggt: lukt FskAˣ    [6] ‑galtar: galta 61, Flat    [7] suðr: sverð 325V, suð DG8;    sæ‑: sær 68, sum 61;    ‑skíðum: skíða J2ˣ, DG8, ‘skridu’ or ‘skidu’ 61    [8] Eikunda: ‘eykund’ 61

Editions: Skj AI, 323, Skj BI, 299, Skald I, 152, NN §§788, 2016; Hkr 1893-1901, II, 398, IV, 152-3, ÍF 27, 309 (ÓHHkr ch. 172); ÓH 1941, I, 475 (ch. 166), Flat 1860-8, II, 306; ÓHLeg 1922, 71-2, ÓHLeg 1982, 168-9; Fsk 1902-3, 172 (ch. 28), ÍF 29, 192-3 (ch. 33).

Context: See Context to st. 1 above.

Notes: [1] Lista ‘Lista’: Modern Lista (ON nom. sg. Listi) is on the coast of Vest-Agder. The p. n. is also used in a representative sense for ‘land’ in Sigv Austv 9/6. — [2] liðu ‘travelled’: Þórarinn uses the verb líða repeatedly in Tøgdr to express movement across the sea (also at sts 4/2 and 5/5); on the verb see further Jesch (2001a, 175). — [2] viðir ‘the ships’: Although viðr means ‘wood’, it can function as a pars pro toto for ‘ship’ (see LP: viðr 5; Jesch 2001a, 134 and n. 30, 144). — [3] Hádýrs ‘of Hådyret’: It is clear from the range of ms. readings that the name caused problems for many scribes. (a) Hádýr is identified here with modern Hådyret, the name of a mountain to the east of Eigersund, Rogaland (so also ÍF 27 and ÍF 29, following Birkeland and Olsen 1913). This gives good sense for the helmingr and is in keeping with the precision over place names which characterises this journey-poem. There are two further possibilities. (b) The cpd could be construed as a ship-kenning hádýr ‘rowlock-animal’ (also found in Refr Frag 5/2III, though there it seems to have an extra determinant, hranna ‘of waves’). This is assumed by Finnur Jónsson in Hkr 1893-1901, IV, who takes hádýrs to qualify viðir, hence ‘the timbers of the rowlock-animal’. This also gives good sense, and the single ship identified would presumably be the same as the king’s ship in l. 6. (c) In Skj B Finnur Jónsson adopts instead the reading hafgjalfrs from several mss (as does Skald), to create a different kenning, viðir hafgjalfrs ‘timbers of the sea-roar [SHIPS]’; in the process this creates samhending ‘identical rhyme’ on haf within the line, a practice not found elsewhere in the poem. — [4] kolsvartir ‘coal-black’: Jesch (2001a, 144) suggests this may be an allusion to the tarring of ships. — [6] brimgaltar (m. gen. sg.) ‘of the surf-boar’: The position and meaning of this cpd within the helmingr is hard to construe, since the remaining words readily fall into place without it. (a) Innan is here taken as a prep., ‘on the inner side of’, with the gen. brimgaltar, so giving the sense that all the sea on the inner (landward) side of Knútr’s ship was filled with his fleet. Three further possibilities have been proposed. (b) Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson in ÍF 27 (followed by ÍF 29) takes Hádýr to be a p. n. (see Note to l. 3), and further proposes that brimgaltar (m. nom. sg. brimgǫltr) is here to be understood as an ofljóst designation for Hádýr: brimgǫltr is a ship-kenning, and hence equivalent to hádýr ‘rowlock-animal’, which is another ship-kenning but is also the p. n. Hádýr (Hådyret), already named in l. 3; thus innan brimgaltar means innan Hádýrs ‘within Hådyret’. However, such abstruse complexity would be uncharacteristic of the poem as a whole. (c) Finnur Jónsson’s solution in Skj B is to take innan sæ ‘in the sea’ as a prepositional phrase, and skíðum brimgaltar ‘skis of the surf-boar’ as a ship-kenning, and in Hkr 1893-1901, IV he points out the parallel between viðir hádýrs ‘the timbers of the rowlock-animal’ and skíð brimgaltar ‘the skis of the surf-boar’. However, as Kock observes (NN §788), the separation of the elements innan and is dubious, and skíð brimgaltar seems unsatisfactory as a kenning: skíð must be the base-word of a ship-kenning, but brimgǫltr ‘surf-boar’ is already a perfectly acceptable ship-kenning without it; see also Meissner 220. (d) Kock therefore emends to dat. pl. brimgǫltum, in apposition with sæskíðum (both kennings for ‘ships’), and with innan standing alone as an adv. ‘within’. However, a solution without recourse to emendation seems preferable.


  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. NN = Kock, Ernst Albin. 1923-44. Notationes Norrœnæ: Anteckningar till Edda och skaldediktning. Lunds Universitets årsskrift new ser. 1. 28 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  5. Meissner = Meissner, Rudolf. 1921. Die Kenningar der Skalden: Ein Beitrag zur skaldischen Poetik. Rheinische Beiträge und Hülfsbücher zur germanischen Philologie und Volkskunde 1. Bonn and Leipzig: Schroeder. Rpt. 1984. Hildesheim etc.: Olms.
  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. Jesch, Judith. 2001a. Ships and Men in the Late Viking Age: The Vocabulary of Runic Inscriptions and Skaldic Verse. Woodbridge: Boydell.
  8. 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.
  9. ÓH 1941 = Johnsen, Oscar Albert and Jón Helgason, eds. 1941. Saga Óláfs konungs hins helga: Den store saga om Olav den hellige efter pergamenthåndskrift i Kungliga biblioteket i Stockholm nr. 2 4to med varianter fra andre håndskrifter. 2 vols. Det norske historiske kildeskriftfond skrifter 53. Oslo: Dybwad.
  10. ÓHLeg 1982 = Heinrichs, Anne et al., eds and trans. 1982. Olafs saga hins helga: Die ‘Legendarische Saga’ über Olaf den Heiligen (Hs. Delagard. saml. nr. 8II). Heidelberg: Winter.
  11. ÍF 26-8 = Heimskringla. Ed. Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson. 1941-51.
  12. Hkr 1893-1901 = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1893-1901. Heimskringla: Nóregs konunga sǫgur af Snorri Sturluson. 4 vols. SUGNL 23. Copenhagen: Møller.
  13. Fsk 1902-3 = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1902-3. Fagrskinna: Nóregs kononga tal. SUGNL 30. Copenhagen: Møller.
  14. ÍF 29 = Ágrip af Nóregskonunga sǫgum; Fagrskinna—Nóregs konungatal. Ed. Bjarni Einarsson. 1985.
  15. ÓHLeg 1922 = Johnsen, Oscar Albert, ed. 1922. Olafs saga hins helga efter pergamenthåndskrift i Uppsala Universitetsbibliotek, Delagardieske samling nr. 8II. Det norske historiske kildeskriftfond skrifter 47. Kristiania (Oslo): Dybwad.
  16. Birkeland, G. and Magnus Olsen. 1913. ‘Fjeldnavnet Hádýr, Haadyret’. MM, 157-9.
  17. Internal references
  18. Not published: do not cite (ÓHHkrI)
  19. Matthew Townend 2012, ‘(Introduction to) Þórarinn loftunga, Tøgdrápa’ in Diana Whaley (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 1: From Mythical Times to c. 1035. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 1. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 851.
  20. Edith Marold (ed.) 2017, ‘Hofgarða-Refr Gestsson, Fragments 5’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 264.
  21. R. D. Fulk (ed.) 2012, ‘Sigvatr Þórðarson, Austrfararvísur 9’ in Diana Whaley (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 1: From Mythical Times to c. 1035. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 1. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 596.

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