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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Valg Har 4II

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.

Valgarðr á VelliPoem about Haraldr harðráði
345

Helmingi bautt hanga,
hilmis kundr, af stundu;
skipt hafið ér, svát eptir
eru Væringjar færi.

{Kundr hilmis}, bautt helmingi hanga af stundu; ér hafið skipt, svát færi Væringjar eru eptir.

{Descendant of a ruler} [RULER = Haraldr], you ordered the unit to be hanged at once; you have acted in such a way that fewer Varangians are left.

Mss: FskBˣ(63v), FskAˣ(240) (Fsk)

Readings: [1] bautt (‘bauð þú’): ‘bouttu’ FskAˣ    [4] færi: so FskAˣ, ‘færre’ FskBˣ

Editions: Skj AI, 391, Skj BI, 361, Skald I, 180; ÍF 29, 236 (ch. 51).

Context: After escaping from his incarceration in Constantinople, Haraldr joined the uprising against the Byzantine emperor Michael V Kalaphates (on 20-1 April 1042). Accompanied by his men, he broke into the emperor’s palace and ordered some of the Varangians guarding the emperor to be killed.

Notes: [All]: For these events, see also ÞjóðA Sex 7-8, ÞSkegg Hardr and Sigfús Blöndal 1978, 94-5. Sigfús Blöndal (1978, 94) believes that the hanging took place after the blinding of Emperor Michael on 21 April, and that Haraldr had been ordered to punish those Varangians who had remained loyal to the emperor. — [1] helmingi (m. dat. sg.) ‘unit’: Lit. ‘half’. Used in poetry to refer to a military unit (see ÍF 29, 236 n.; Jesch 2001a, 202-3). — [1] bautt hanga ‘ordered to be hanged’: For the construction bjóða plus inf., see LP: bjóða 3. — [2] kundr hilmis ‘descendant of a ruler [RULER = Haraldr]’: The identity of this ruler is unclear, but it could be Haraldr hárfagri. Kundr ‘descendant’ can also mean ‘son’ (see LP: kundr 1), but ‘the ruler’ can hardly refer to Sigurðr sýr, Haraldr’s father, who was a petty king of the district Opplandene (Upplǫnd) in Norway. — [4] Væringjar ‘Varangians’: Norsemen in the service of the Byzantine emperor. See Sigfús Blöndal 1978, 4-7.

References

  1. Bibliography
  2. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  3. 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.
  4. Jesch, Judith. 2001a. Ships and Men in the Late Viking Age: The Vocabulary of Runic Inscriptions and Skaldic Verse. Woodbridge: Boydell.
  5. ÍF 29 = Ágrip af Nóregskonunga sǫgum; Fagrskinna—Nóregs konungatal. Ed. Bjarni Einarsson. 1985.
  6. Sigfús Blöndal. 1978. The Varangians of Byzantium: An Aspect of Byzantine Military History. Trans. and rev. Benedikt S. Benedikz. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. First published 1954 as Væringja saga. Reykjavík: Ísafoldarprentsmiðja.
  7. Internal references
  8. Kari Ellen Gade 2009, ‘(Introduction to) Þórarinn Skeggjason, Haraldsdrápa’ 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. 294-5.
  9. Diana Whaley (ed.) 2009, ‘Þjóðólfr Arnórsson, Sexstefja 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. 118-19.
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