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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Gríml Lv 4VIII (GrL 6)

Beatrice La Farge (ed.) 2017, ‘Gríms saga loðinkinna 6 (Grímr loðinkinni, Lausavísur 4)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 296.

Grímr loðinkinniLausavísur


Grímr speaks these two stanzas after he and his supporters have killed the berserk Sørkvir and his eleven berserk companions in an encounter to which Sørkvir challenged Grímr after Grímr’s twelve-year-old daughter Brynhildr has refused to marry him (FSGJ 2, 194-5). Þrǫstr (GrL 6/8) is the name of the man who bears Sørkvir’s shield and holds it in front of him when Grímr strikes the first blow (FSGJ 2, 195-6). The episode is parallel to two similar episodes in Ket (see FSGJ 2, 167-8, 173-81) where Grímr’s father Ketill hœngr does battle against two different unwanted suitors for the hand of his own daughter Hrafnhildr; in GrL 7 below Grímr expressly says that he is following the example of his father. The motif of the twelve berserks as opponents of the hero also appears in Heiðr and in Ǫrv, and there are verbal similarities between GrL 6 and three stanzas transmitted in these two sagas (Ǫrv 10) and the two stanzas named in the note on GrL 6/3-4. Heusler and Ranisch see this as evidence that GrL is borrowing from an older version of Ǫrv, which in turn was used in Heiðr: one of the twelve berserks in Heiðr is the unsuccessful suitor for the hand of a king’s daughter; he challenges the successful suitor Hjálmarr to combat (Heiðr 1924, 4-12; cf. Edd. Min. xxxvii-ix, lviii-ix, lxxxiii-iv). Ǫrvar-Oddr is said to be the son of Grímr (cf. Ket ch. 5, GrL ch. 4, Ǫrv ch. 1, FSGJ 2, 181, 198, 202).

text and translation

Hér höfum fellt         til foldar
tírarlausa         tólf berserki.
Þó var Sørkvir         þróttrammastr
þeira seggja         en Þröstr annarr.

Hér höfum fellt tólf tírarlausa berserki til foldar. Þó var Sørkvir þróttrammastr þeira seggja, en Þröstr annarr.
‘Here we have felled twelve inglorious berserks to the ground. Yet Sørkvir was the most powerful in strength of those men, and Þrǫstr was the second.

notes and context

In 471 this part of the saga is written in a C17th hand on pages inserted into the ms. (cf. Anderson 1990, 71-2, 117 n. 300).



Text is based on reconstruction from the base text and variant apparatus and may contain alternative spellings and other normalisations not visible in the manuscript text. Transcriptions may not have been checked and should not be cited.

editions and texts

Skj: Anonyme digte og vers [XIII], E. 9. Vers af Fornaldarsagaer: Af Gríms saga loðinkinna II 1: AII, 288-9, BII, 309-10, Skald II, 164; FSN 2, 154-5, FSGJ 2, 196, Anderson 1990, 66, 121, 448; Edd. Min. 96.


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