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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon (StSt) 1VIII (StSt 1)

Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.) 2017, ‘Sturlaugs saga starfsama 1 (Anonymous Lausavísur, Lausavísur from Sturlaugs saga starfsama 1)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 783.

Anonymous LausavísurLausavísur from Sturlaugs saga starfsama

text and translation

Kominn er Sturlaugr         inn starfsami
horn at sækja         ok hringa fjölð.
Hér er í húsi         at höfuðblóti
gull ok gersímar;         grimt er oss í hug.

Sturlaugr inn starfsami er kominn at sækja horn ok fjölð hringa. Gull er hér í húsi ok gersímar at höfuðblóti; grimt er oss í hug.
‘Sturlaugr inn starfsami (‘the Industrious’) has come to fetch the horn and a multitude of rings. Here in the building there is gold and treasures for a major sacrifice; our mood is ugly.

notes and context

Sturlaugr and his party have travelled in Bjarmaland (Permia) and further to the Vína (Dvina) river when they see a gleaming temple (hof allglæsiligt) ahead of them. Sturlaugr and a companion, Hrólfr nefja ‘Beaknose’, enter the temple in quest of an aurochs horn, which Sturlaugr has been charged to fetch by King Haraldr gullmuðr. They see it filled with poison, but gleaming as if golden on a table in front of an icon of the god Þórr. Thirty women inside the temple speak the following threatening kviðlingr ‘snippet of poetry’ when they see Sturlaugr.

The general scenario of a hero questing in an exotic north-eastern European setting (in this case Bjarmaland), together with a pagan temple in which a temple priestess is actively engaged in blót and is hostile to the hero is reminiscent of the Bjálkaland episode of Ǫrv (see Ǫrv 59-70 and the Introduction to those stanzas, as well as Lassen 2009, 268-71).



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. 17. Vers af Fornaldarsagaer: Af Sturlaugs saga starfsama 1: AII, 341-2, BII, 364, Skald II, 196-7; StSt 1694, 50, FSN III, 627-8, FSGJ III, 141-2, StSt 1969, 21, 206, 349.


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