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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon (Styrb) 2I

Matthew Townend (ed.) 2012, ‘Anonymous Lausavísur, Lausavísur from Styrbjarnar þáttr Svíakappa 2’ in Diana Whaley (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 1: From Mythical Times to c. 1035. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 1. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 1078.

Anonymous LausavísurLausavísur from Styrbjarnar þáttr Svíakappa

Eigi vildu Jótar
reiða gjald til skeiða,
áðr Styrbjarnar stœði
Strandar dýr á landi.
Nús Danmarkar dróttinn
í drengja lið genginn;
landa vanr ok lýða
lifir ánauðigr auðar.

Jótar vildu eigi reiða gjald til skeiða, áðr {dýr Strandar} Styrbjarnar stœði á landi. Nús {dróttinn Danmarkar} genginn í lið drengja; lifir ánauðigr auðar, vanr landa ok lýða.

The Jótar were not willing to pay tribute for ships before {the beasts of Strǫnd <river>} [SHIPS] of Styrbjǫrn stood by the coast. Now {the lord of Denmark} [DANISH KING = Haraldr] has joined the troop of warriors; he lives oppressed by fate, deprived of lands and people.

Mss: Flat(87rb) (Flat)

Readings: [8] ánauðigr: ánauðr hann Flat

Editions: Skj AI, 186, Skj BI, 176, Skald I, 94, NN §1897; Fms 5, 247-8, Fms 12, 115, Flat 1860-8, II, 71 (Styrb).

Context: Styrbjǫrn sails from Jómsborg to Denmark with 1200 warships and demands Danish assistance in the form of 240 warships under a leader chosen by himself. He chooses King Haraldr Gormsson. The stanza is then introduced with the words, Þa kuodu Danir visu ‘Then the Danes spoke a verse’.

Notes: [4] dýr Strandar ‘the beasts of Strǫnd <river> [SHIPS]’: Strǫnd is given as a river-name in Grí 28/9, and is included (from Grí) in Þul Á 5/7III. It is assumed to be that here (so also Skj B, Skald and LP: strǫnd 2, and see Meissner 214 for this type of ship-kenning). However, since there is no known river of this name it may be that the sense of strǫnd is ‘shore, beach’, cf. perhaps the use in ship-kennings of words referring to onshore features such as hlunnr ‘roller(s), launcher’ or naust ‘boat-house’ (see LP: hlunnr, naust); for another possible example of such a kenning, see Note to Glúmr Gráf 2/1-4, interpretation (a). — [4] dýr ‘the beasts’: This could be either sg. or pl.; stœði could also either be sg. or pl. 3rd pers. pret. subj. — [7] vanr landa ok lýða ‘deprived of lands and people’: The sense here seems to be that Haraldr is now subservient to Styrbjǫrn (see Context). — [8] ánauðigr ‘oppressed’: The ms. reads hann ánauðr. (a) It is assumed here that the original reading was trisyllabic ánauðigr and that, as very frequently in skaldic texts, the pron. hann ‘he’ in the sole ms. is a later addition which can be removed by routine normalisation. (b) Ánauðr is assumed in Fms 12, LP: ánauðr and ONP to be a variant of the more usual adj. ánauðigr. However, this form is unrecorded, and the resulting line is unmetrical, since it would resemble a Type D-line (with resolution on lifir), but would not fit the known fillings of Type D even lines (Gade 1995a, 109-17), while to read it as a Type A-line would be to assume an unstressed first syllable in ánauðr. (c) Kock (NN §1897; Skald), pointing to the construction snauðr at auði ‘bereft, stripped of wealth’ in Anon Pl 13/7VII, emends ánauðr hann auðar to æ snauðr hann auðar ‘always stripped of wealth’. This has the advantage of removing the additional alliteration (of á- : auð-), and Kock may be correct that the line is corrupt. — [8] auðar ‘by fate’: (a) This is taken here (as also in Fms 12, Skj B and LP: 4. auðr) to be the rare poetic word auðr ‘fate, death’ (probably f.; so ONP). (b) It is, however, possible that it is simply the more common m. noun auðr ‘wealth’ (cf. LP: 3. auðr), and that auðar forms, with landa and lýða, the last of a triplet governed by vanr, hence ‘deprived of lands, people and wealth’. This would leave ánauðigr alone to mean ‘oppressed’.


  1. Bibliography
  2. Skj B = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1912-15b. Den norsk-islandske skjaldedigtning. B: Rettet tekst. 2 vols. Copenhagen: Villadsen & Christensen. Rpt. 1973. Copenhagen: Rosenkilde & Bagger.
  3. Fms = Sveinbjörn Egilsson et al., eds. 1825-37. Fornmanna sögur eptir gömlum handritum útgefnar að tilhlutun hins norræna fornfræða fèlags. 12 vols. Copenhagen: Popp.
  4. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  5. NN = Kock, Ernst Albin. 1923-44. Notationes Norrœnæ: Anteckningar till Edda och skaldediktning. Lunds Universitets årsskrift new ser. 1. 28 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  6. Meissner = Meissner, Rudolf. 1921. Die Kenningar der Skalden: Ein Beitrag zur skaldischen Poetik. Rheinische Beiträge und Hülfsbücher zur germanischen Philologie und Volkskunde 1. Bonn and Leipzig: Schroeder. Rpt. 1984. Hildesheim etc.: Olms.
  7. 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.
  8. Gade, Kari Ellen. 1995a. The Structure of Old Norse dróttkvætt Poetry. Islandica 49. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.
  9. Flat 1860-8 = Gudbrand Vigfusson [Guðbrandur Vigfússon] and C. R. Unger, eds. 1860-8. Flateyjarbók. En samling af norske konge-sagaer med indskudte mindre fortællinger om begivenheder i og udenfor Norge samt annaler. 3 vols. Christiania (Oslo): Malling.
  10. ONP = Degnbol, Helle et al., eds. 1989-. A Dictionary of Old Norse Prose / Ordbog over det norrøne prosasprog. 1-. Copenhagen: The Arnamagnæan Commission.
  11. Internal references
  12. Not published: do not cite (StyrbI)
  13. Jonna Louis-Jensen and Tarrin Wills (eds) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Plácitusdrápa 13’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 190.
  14. Elena Gurevich (ed.) 2017, ‘Anonymous Þulur, Á heiti 5’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 847.
  15. Not published: do not cite ()
  16. Diana Whaley (ed.) 2012, ‘Glúmr Geirason, Gráfeldardrápa 2’ in Diana Whaley (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 1: From Mythical Times to c. 1035. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 1. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 249.

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