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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Andr 2VII

Ian McDougall (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Andréasdrápa 2’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 847-8.

Anonymous PoemsAndréasdrápa

Yfirpostulinn ástar
Andréas var með bandi
festr á * kross og Kristi
kærr miðviku næri.
Lífið liet með gæfu
ljóss á helgum krossi
föstudag, sá er fýstiz
fagnaðar guðs af magni.

Yfirpostulinn ástar, Andréas, og kærr Kristi, var festr með bandi á * kross næri miðviku. Ljóss, sá er fýstiz af magni fagnaðar guðs, liet lífið föstudag með gæfu á helgum krossi.

The chief Apostle of love, Andrew, and dear to Christ, was tied with a bond on a cross near midweek. The bright one, who yearned mightily for the joy of God, gave up his life on a Friday with good fortune on the holy cross.

Mss: 194 8°(36v), 669cˣ(1r)

Readings: [2] með: nú 669cˣ    [3] festr á *: festr á með 194 8°, ‘festr ꜳ med’ 669cˣ    [5] liet: om. 194 8°, ‘[let]’ 669cˣ

Editions: Skj AII, 508, Skj BII, 558, Skald II, 306, NN §1756; Konráð Gíslason 1860, 558.

Notes: [1] yfirpostulinn ástar ‘the chief apostle of love’: The poet seems to apply to Andrew an epithet usually reserved for John, who is regularly referred to as the ‘Apostle of love’ on account of his teachings on brotherly love (cf. 1 John IV.7-20), or because of his identification as ‘the beloved disciple’ (John XIII.23; cf. Note to Alpost 4/1). — [2] með bandi ‘with a bond’: Accounts of Andrew’s crucifixion generally agree that he was bound, rather than nailed, to his cross (see Cross 1979, 170). There is a detailed description in the Passio Sancti Andreae apostoli 10 (Bonnet 1898, 23/8-4/2), rendered in Andr2A 378/37-9/4: Þá reiddiz Egeas ok bauð ath krossfesta skylldi heilagan Andream sva firirsegiandi kveliarum, at þeir skylldi binda hendr hans ok fætr ꜳ krossinum ok þenia hann ut sva sem i stagli, en negla hann eigi, sva at hann dæi skiott, helldr at hann pindiz langri kvǫl ‘Then Aegeas became angry and ordered that the holy Andrew should be crucified, dictating to the torturers thus, that they should bind his hands and feet to the cross and stretch him out as if on a rack, but not to nail him so that he would die quickly; rather so that he would be tortured by long drawn-out torment’ (cf. Andr1Frg656 347/6-8, 30; Andr SÁM 1 398/28-31, 399/10; Andr4 409/35-39, 410/26-27). The same detail is retained in the brief Postulatal in Ms. Holm perg. fol. nr. 5, 59va/31-4, where it is recorded that Andres postoli uar krossfestr j borg þeire er Pátrás heitir ... hann uar pindr under uallde Egéé jarls ok uar bundinn ꜳ kross ‘The Apostle Andrew was crucified in the town called Patras ... he was tortured at the command of Earl Aegeas and was bound onto a cross’ (Foote 1976, 154). The brief lists of the ‘fates of the Apostles’ in AM 764 4°, 16v/20 and AM 660 4°, 23v (Foote 1976, 153) record simply that Andrew was krossfestr. Cf. Note to Alpost 3/2. — [4-7] næri miðviku ... föstudag ‘near midweek ... on a Friday [lit. day of fast]’: In referring to Andrew as ‘bound on a cross ... near midweek’ and passing to glory on a Friday, the poet draws an obvious parallel between the crucifixion of Andrew and Christ, betrayed on a Wednesday, crucified on a Friday. He likewise recalls the tradition that Andrew’s crucifixion extended over two days, a detail regularly included in accounts of S. Andrew’s martyrdom (see Cross 1979, 170; cf. Beda, Martyrologium, col. 1120A; Passio Sancti Andreae 12 [Bonnet 1898, 29/2-3]; Andr1Frg656 348/3-4; Andr2A 380/16-17; Andr SÁM 1 399/11-12; Andr4 411/2, as well as in prayers [see Gjerløw 1980, I, 177: Alpirsbach], and hymns to S. Andrew [AH 51, 162, no. 139/3; Mone 1853-5, III, 96, nos 688/10-12, 696/16-17; Kehrein 1873, no. 400, v. 8]). — [6] ljóss ‘the bright one’: To produce aðalhending with krossi, Finnur Jónsson prints ljoss (Skj B); but it is inherently unikely that the vowel of ljóss is short. Finnur likewise interprets ljóss as m. gen. sg., modifying fagnaðar, and translates ljóss ... fagnaðar guðs as guds lyse glæde ‘the bright joy of God’. Kock (NN §1756) points out that it is of course not unusual to find in any of the half-sts of Andr an adj. modifying the subject of the poem (cf. fýstr ‘eager’ 1/3; æstr ‘most noble’ 1/6; kærr ‘dear’ 2/4; prýddr ‘adorned’ 4/7), and suggests that ljóss functions in just this way here. — [7-8] fýstiz af magni ‘yearned mightily’: Cf. LP: megin 1. for similar use of af magni in, e.g., Þham Magndr 3/2II: bragningr skaut af magni ‘the prince shot mightily’, or Vǫls 134: ristu af magni | mikla hellu | Sigmundr hjǫrfi | ok Sinfjǫtli ‘with a sword Sigmundr and Sinfjǫtli sawed the great rock amain’. The phrase er fýstiz fagnaðar guðs ‘who yearned for the joy of God’ may recall Matt. XXV.21: Euge serve bone et fidelis ... intra in gaudium domini tui (‘Well done, good and faithful servant ... enter into the joy of your lord’), perhaps through association with the antiphon Euge, serve bone (CAO III, 211, no. 2734), although this reading is only rarely associated with the feast of S. Andrew (cf., e.g., Auctor incertus, Incipit sanctorale, col. 1265B). Cf. the rendering of Matt. XXV.21 in AM 672 4°, 61r (Kolsrud 1952, 64): gak þu ín j fagnad drottins þíns ‘go into the joy of your Lord’.


  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. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  4. NN = Kock, Ernst Albin. 1923-44. Notationes Norrœnæ: Anteckningar till Edda och skaldediktning. Lunds Universitets årsskrift new ser. 1. 28 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  5. 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.
  6. AH = Dreves, G. M., C. Blume and H. M. Bannister, eds. 1886-1922. Analecta hymnica medii aeui. 55 vols. Leipzig: Reisland. Rpt. 1961. New York: Johnson.
  7. CAO = Hesbert, Renato-Joanne, ed. 1963-79. Corpus antiphonalium officii. 6 vols. Rerum ecclesiasticarum documenta, series maior, Fontes 7-12. Rome: Casa Editrice Herder.
  8. Cross, James E. 1979. ‘Cynewulf’s traditions about the apostles in Fates of the Apostles’. ASE 8, 163-75.
  9. Gjerløw, Lilli. 1980. Liturgica Islandica. 2 vols. BA 35-6. Copenhagen: Reitzel.
  10. Andr SÁM 1 = Andréss saga postula. In Unger 1874, 3899-4047.
  11. Kehrein, Joseph. 1873. Lateinische Sequenzen des Mittelalters aus Handschriften und Drucken. Mainz: Kupferberg. Rpt. 1969. Hildesheim: Olms.
  12. Kolsrud, O., ed. 1952. Messuskýringar: Liturgisk symbolik frå den norsk-islandske kyrkja i millomalderen. Oslo: Dybwad.
  13. Mone, Franz Joseph, ed. 1853-5. Hymni latini medii aevi. 3 vols. Freiburg im Breisgau: Herder.
  14. Internal references
  15. Ian McDougall (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Allra postula minnisvísur 3’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 856-7.
  16. Ian McDougall (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Allra postula minnisvísur 4’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 857-8.
  17. Ian McDougall 2007, ‘(Introduction to) Anonymous, Andréasdrápa’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 845-51.
  18. Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2009, ‘Þorkell hamarskáld, Magnússdrápa 3’ 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. 411-12.
  19. Not published: do not cite ()
  20. Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.) 2017, ‘Vǫlsunga saga 1 (Anonymous Lausavísur, Lausavísur from Vǫlsunga saga 1)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 792.

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