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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Útsteinn Útkv 4VIII (Hálf 44)

Hubert Seelow (ed.) 2017, ‘Hálfs saga ok Hálfsrekka 44 (Útsteinn Gunnlaðarson, Útsteinskviða 4)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 339.

Útsteinn GunnlaðarsonÚtsteinskviða

Þótti ekki Hrókum         né Hálfdani
raun at berjaz         við ragmenni,
þá er vér fjórir         falla létum
átta jarla         fyrir Ann*snesi.

Þótti ekki Hrókum né Hálfdani raun at berjaz við ragmenni, þá er vér fjórir létum átta jarla falla fyrir Ann*snesi.

It did not seem a trial to either the Hrókar or Hálfdan to fight against cowardly wretches, when we four slew eight jarls off Annsnes.

Mss: 2845(37v) (Hálf)

Readings: [8] Ann*snesi: ‘annis nesi’ 2845

Editions: Skj AII, 263-4, Skj BII, 285, Skald II, 149; Hálf 1864, 28-9, Hálf 1909, 116, FSGJ 2, 121, Hálf 1981, 128, 188; Edd. Min. 72.

Notes: [All]: This stanza follows a format frequently found in the mannjafnaðr; the speaker refers to his own or his companions’ bravery, implying that it is much greater than that of their cowardly opponents. Frequently a place, often legendary, is mentioned as the site of the battle.  The information that the four Hálfsrekkar slew eight jarls implies that Úlfr’s eight sons do not stand a chance either. — [1] Hrókum ‘the Hrókar’: Two brothers, members of the Hálfsrekkar, Hrókr inn svarti ‘Rook the Black’ and Hrókr inn hvíti ‘Rook the White’. Cf. Hálf 26/1 and Note there. — [2] Hálfdani ‘Hálfdan’: The name of another of the Hálfsrekkar (cf. Hálf 1981, 177). — [4] ragmenni ‘cowardly wretches’: Like dritmenni in l. 7 of the previous stanza, ragmenni is a hap. leg., but is self-evidently formed from the adj. ragr ‘cowardly, unmanly’ plus the n. noun menni ‘people, men’. — [8] fyrir Ann*snesi ‘off Annsnes’: The ms. has ‘annis nesi’, which cannot be accommodated into a metrical line without resorting to tmesis. It is uncertain whether this word is a common noun andnes, annes ‘headland, promontory’ (cf. LP: andnes, and as in Anon Vǫls 1/3I) or a p. n., though the context suggests the latter.


  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. FSGJ = Guðni Jónsson, ed. 1954. Fornaldar sögur norðurlanda. 4 vols. [Reykjavík]: Íslendingasagnaútgáfan.
  5. Edd. Min. = Heusler, Andreas and Wilhelm Ranisch, eds. 1903. Eddica Minora: Dichtungen eddischer Art aus den Fornaldarsögur und anderen Prosawerken. Dortmund: Ruhfus. Rpt. Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft.
  6. Hálf 1981 = Seelow, Hubert, ed. 1981. Hálfs saga ok Hálfsrekka. RSÁM 20. Reykjavík: Stofnun Árna Magnússonar.
  7. Hálf 1864 = Bugge, Sophus, ed. 1864. Saga af Hálfi ok Hálfsrekkum. Norrøne Skrifter af sagnhistorisk Indhold 1. Christiania (Oslo): Det Nordiske Oldskriftselskab.
  8. Hálf 1909 = Andrews, A. Le Roy, ed. 1909. Hálfs saga ok Hálfsrekka. ASB 14. Halle: Niemeyer.
  9. Internal references
  10. Not published: do not cite (HróksvVIII)
  11. Hubert Seelow (ed.) 2017, ‘Hálfs saga ok Hálfsrekka 26 (Innsteinn Gunnlaðarson, Innsteinskviða 7)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 325.
  12. Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.) 2017, ‘Vǫlsunga saga 1 (Anonymous Lausavísur, Lausavísur from Vǫlsunga saga 1)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 792.

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