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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Mey 48VII

Kirsten Wolf (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Heilagra meyja drápa 48’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 920-1.

Anonymous PoemsHeilagra meyja drápa

Kristína fekk kunn að ástum
kaldar þrautir barn að aldri;
faðir hennar liet blindr af bræði
beygja járn að hálsi meyjar.
Harm aukandi hvössum krókum
hvítan bauð hann líkam slíta;
veldu síðan vífið milda
virðar þeir í glóanda eiri.

Kristína, kunn að ástum, fekk kaldar þrautir barn að aldri; blindr af bræði liet hennar faðir beygja járn að hálsi meyjar. Aukandi harm bauð hann hvítan líkam slíta hvössum krókum; síðan veldu þeir virðar vífið milda í glóanda eiri.

Christina, known for her charity, received cruel tortures as a child [lit. a child in age]; blind with rage her father had iron twisted around the neck of the maiden. Increasing the pain he ordered [that] her white body be torn with sharp hooks; later those men boiled the gracious woman in red-hot copper.

Mss: 721(9v), 713(27)

Readings: [3] af: so 713, á 721    [4] beygja: so 713, beyja 721;    járn: menn 713;    meyjar: ‘m[...]jar’ 713    [7] veldu: veldu þeir 721, ‘ve[...]’ 713

Editions: Skj AII, 536, Skj BII, 594, Skald II, 329.

Notes: [All]: S. Christina, celebrated in sts 48-9, seems not to have been the object of a cult in Iceland, though Kristín is recorded as a personal name from C14th (Cormack 1994, 47). The legend of S. Christina is very similar to that of S. Barbara (Wolf 2000, 3-4), both virgins being born of noble families and the objects of many men’s attention, both shut up in towers by sadistic fathers. Christina’s father was named Urbanus. While in the tower Christina was converted to Christianity by the Holy Spirit and, when later she smashed her father’s idols, she was tortured by Urbanus and two judges, Elius and Julianus (cf. st. 49/1).


  1. Bibliography
  2. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  3. Cormack, Margaret. 1994. The Saints in Iceland: Their Veneration from the Conversion to 1400. Studia Hagiographica 78. Brussels: Société des Bollandistes.
  4. Wolf, Kirsten, ed. 2000. The Old Norse-Icelandic legend of Saint Barbara. Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies: Studies and Texts 134. Toronto: Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies.

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