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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Mey 44VII

Kirsten Wolf (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Heilagra meyja drápa 44’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 918-19.

Anonymous PoemsHeilagra meyja drápa

text and translation

Júliána fekk hrein og heilög
hatr og mein af greifa einum;
læstu þeir að meyju mæstri
myrkvarann í fjötrum styrkum.
Sendiz þangað hinn svikli fjandi
svíkjandi með eingils líki;
kúgaðr var hann af fljóði fögru
fagnaðarlauss til margra sagna.

Hrein og heilög Júliána fekk hatr og mein af einum greifa; þeir læstu mæstri meyju í styrkum fjötrum að myrkvarann. Hinn svikli fjandi sendiz þangað svíkjandi með líki eingils; fagnaðarlauss var hann kúgaðr af fögru fljóði til margra sagna.
‘The pure and holy Juliana incurred the hatred and torture of a count; they locked the most precious maiden in strong fetters in a dungeon. The deceitful devil was sent there, deceiving [her] in the shape of an angel; joyless he was forced by the fair woman to tell much [lit. forced to many stories].

notes and context

S. Juliana appears not to have been popular in Iceland, even though she was well known in other parts of medieval Western Europe. According to legend she was the daughter of Affricanus of Nicomedia, who betrothed her at the age of nine to one Eleusis, a senator. When she reached eighteen, Eleusis became keen to marry her but by then she had converted to Christianity, and refused to marry a pagan. To break her will, Eleusis had Juliana tortured and thrown into prison, where the devil appeared to her in the shape of an angel. They engaged in debate, and Juliana forced him to confess many of his crimes. After many tortures, Juliana was eventually beheaded.



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 XIV], [B. 12]. Af heilogum meyjum 44: AI, 535, BII, 593, Skald II, 328, NN §2971A.


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