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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Arn Magndr 18II

Diana Whaley (ed.) 2009, ‘Arnórr jarlaskáld Þórðarson, Magnússdrápa 18’ in Kari Ellen Gade (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 2: From c. 1035 to c. 1300. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 2. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 227-8.

Arnórr jarlaskáld ÞórðarsonMagnússdrápa

Enn rauð frôn á Fjóni
— fold sótti gramr dróttar —
— ráns galt herr frá hônum —
hringserks lituðr merki.
Minnisk ǫld, hverr annan
jafnþarfr blôum hrafni
— ert gat hilmir hjarta —
herskyldir tøg fylldi.

Enn rauð {lituðr hringserks} frôn merki á Fjóni; gramr dróttar sótti fold; herr galt ráns frá hônum. Ǫld minnisk, {hverr herskyldir} fylldi annan tøg jafnþarfr blôum hrafni; hilmir gat ert hjarta.

Further, {the painter of the mail-shirt} [WARRIOR] reddened bright banners on Fyn; the retinue’s lord attacked the land; the people paid [dearly] for their robbery of him. Let men recall {which troop-commander} [RULER] has lived out his second decade equally generous to the dark raven; the sovereign was endowed with a spirited heart.

Mss: (518v-519r), 39(18ra), F(41va), E(9v), J2ˣ(255v-256r) (Hkr); FskBˣ(59r), FskAˣ(224) (Fsk); H(12v), Hr(11rb) (H-Hr); Flat(191vb) (Flat)

Readings: [1] Enn: Ek J2ˣ, Næst FskBˣ, FskAˣ, H, Hr, Flat;    rauð: bar E, J2ˣ;    frôn: fram E, J2ˣ, Flat    [2] fold: fram F;    gramr: so all others, gram Kˣ    [3] ráns: þar E, J2ˣ;    frá: firir FskBˣ    [4] lituðr: so 39, F, E, J2ˣ, FskBˣ, H, Hr, Flat, litaðr Kˣ, FskAˣ    [5] Minnisk: minntisk FskBˣ, minnti Flat;    hverr: hvert Flat;    annan: so E, J2ˣ, Hr, annarr Kˣ, 39, F, FskBˣ, H, Flat    [6] ‑þarfr: þarf FskBˣ, ‘þrafn’ Flat    [7] ert: ǫrt F, E, J2ˣ, H, Hr, Flat, snart FskBˣ    [8] ‑skyldir: ‑skyldi Hr;    tøg: tók J2ˣ, taugr Hr

Editions: Skj AI, 343, Skj BI, 315, Skald I, 160, NN §§824, 1134; Hkr 1893-1901, III, 69, ÍF 28, 63, Hkr 1991, 598 (Mgóð ch. 34), F 1871, 190-1, E 1916, 31; Fsk 1902-3, 215-16 (ch. 42), ÍF 29, 225-6 (ch. 50); Fms 6, 89-90 (Mgóð ch. 41), Fms 12, 139; Flat 1860-8, III, 285, Andersson and Gade 2000, 126-7, 471 (MH); Whaley 1998, 215-18.

Context: The prose link-passages merely paraphrase and briefly introduce the st. Flat and Fsk follow the quotation with a remark that the st. refers to Magnús reaching twenty years of age.

Notes: [2] gramr ‘lord’: The nom. sg. variant, rather than acc. sg. gram as in , is required by the syntax. — [3] ráns ‘robbery’: The precise reference of rán is not clear from the st. nor from the prose accounts. Probably the Danes’ intention to deprive Magnús of rule (and hence of revenue) is meant. — [5] minnisk ‘let (men) recall’: Despite the obscurities of the helmingr, the words hverr herskyldir jafnþarfr hrafni ‘which troop-commander, equally generous to the raven’ (ll. 5, 6, 8) clearly make a claim about Magnús’s superior prowess. In such a comparison (ǫld) minnisk must be subj., ‘let men (see if they can) recall’, though formally the verb could be indic., ‘men recall/will recall’. — [5, 8] fylldi annan tøg ‘lived out his second decade’: Lit. ‘completed (his) second ten’. (a) The reading adopted here, as also in Skj B, is based on annan, which is the lectio difficilior since unlike the variant annarr it does not go with the immediately preceding hverr ‘who, which’. It is supported by the words following the st. in Flat and Fsk (see Context above), which would seem to reflect a traditional explanation that the st. referred to Magnús reaching his twentieth year, although the text as it stands in Flat and Fsk cannot yield that meaning since it has the variant annarr rather than annan. The ‘twenty’ could be battles, but this is not specified, and it seems more likely that the idiom is akin to fylla lífsdaga sína ‘complete the days of one’s life’. Hence the sense is that no other warrior so young had been jafnþarfr blum hrafni ‘equally generous to the dark raven’, i.e. had served the raven so well by making carrion of so many of his foes. The construction is comparable to that in st. 19. (b) The reading annarr has the stronger ms. authority, and is favoured by Kock in Skald. If it were adopted, the construction would be minnisk ǫld, hverr annarr herskyldir, jafnþarfr blum hrafni, fylldi tøg ‘let men recall which other troop-commander has, equally generous to the dark raven, completed ten’. The ‘ten’ would presumably be ten battles, though nothing in the context indicates this, and it is difficult to see why the concordant hverr annarr would have been corrupted to hverr annan. — [7] ert ‘spirited’: (a) The spelling ert occurs again in the text of Arn Hardr 15/5 in mss Mork, H and Hr (with the variant ‘aurtt’, normalised ǫrt, in Flat), but not in any of the very numerous citations listed under ǫrr in LP. The prose lexicons, too, completely lack any record of an adj. err, although the similar forms ern and errinn are known, both meaning ‘brisk, bold’. Err could perhaps be an independent form which, like them, has a different etymology to ǫrr (see AEW on these words), but which has escaped the lexicographers’ notice because it has been ‘normalised’ to ǫrr. (b) The variant ‘avrt’ is n. sg. nom./acc. of the familiar adj. ǫrr ‘ready, bold, generous’, and the collocation with ‘heart’ is matched in Þorm Lv 23a/1V = Lv 23b/1I Ǫrt vas leifs hjarta ‘Bold was Óláfr’s heart’. Ert could simply be a graphic variant of this since <e/ø> and <ø/ǫ> are common doublets, and noun err occurs as a variant of ørr ‘scar’ (Fritzner IV: err).


  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. AEW = Vries, Jan de. 1962. Altnordisches etymologisches Wörterbuch. 2nd rev. edn. Rpt. 1977. Leiden: Brill.
  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. Andersson, Theodore M. and Kari Ellen Gade, trans. 2000. Morkinskinna: The Earliest Icelandic Chronicle of the Norwegian Kings (1030-1157). Islandica 51. Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press.
  9. Whaley, Diana, ed. and trans. 1998. The Poetry of Arnórr jarlaskáld: An Edition and Study. Westfield Publications in Medieval Studies 8. Turnhout: Brepols.
  10. 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.
  11. ÍF 26-8 = Heimskringla. Ed. Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson. 1941-51.
  12. Hkr 1893-1901 = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1893-1901. Heimskringla: Nóregs konunga sǫgur af Snorri Sturluson. 4 vols. SUGNL 23. Copenhagen: Møller.
  13. Hkr 1991 = Bergljót S. Kristjánsdóttir et al., eds. 1991. Heimskringla. 3 vols. Reykjavík: Mál og menning.
  14. F 1871 = Unger, C. R., ed. 1871. Fríssbók: Codex Frisianus. En samling af norske konge-sagaer. Christiania (Oslo): Malling.
  15. Fsk 1902-3 = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1902-3. Fagrskinna: Nóregs kononga tal. SUGNL 30. Copenhagen: Møller.
  16. E 1916 = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1916. Eirspennill: AM 47 fol. Nóregs konunga sǫgur: Magnús góði – Hákon gamli. Kristiania (Oslo): Den norske historiske kildeskriftskommission.
  17. Fritzner IV = Hødnebø, Finn. 1972. Ordbog over det gamle norske sprog af Dr. Johan Fritzner: Rettelser og tillegg. Oslo, Bergen, Tromsø: Universitetsforlaget.
  18. ÍF 29 = Ágrip af Nóregskonunga sǫgum; Fagrskinna—Nóregs konungatal. Ed. Bjarni Einarsson. 1985.
  19. Internal references
  20. Diana Whaley 2012, ‘Flateyjarbók (Flat)’ 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, pp. clxi-clxii.
  21. Diana Whaley 2012, ‘Fagrskinna (Fsk)’ 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, pp. clix-clxi.
  22. Not published: do not cite (MHII)
  23. Diana Whaley (ed.) 2009, ‘Arnórr jarlaskáld Þórðarson, Haraldsdrápa 15’ in Kari Ellen Gade (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 2: From c. 1035 to c. 1300. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 2. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 276-8.
  24. R. D. Fulk (ed.) 2012, ‘Þormóðr Kolbrúnarskáld, Lausavísur 23’ 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. 838.

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