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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Eskál Vell 8I

Edith Marold (ed.) 2012, ‘Einarr skálaglamm Helgason, Vellekla 8’ 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. 292.

Einarr skálaglamm HelgasonVellekla

Mart varð él, áðr, Ála,
austr lǫnd at mun banda
randar lauks af ríki,
rœkilundr of tœki.

{Mart él Ála} varð, áðr {rœkilundr {lauks randar}} of tœki lǫnd austr af ríki at mun banda.

{Many a storm of Áli <sea-king>} [BATTLE] came about before {the tending-tree {of the leek of the shield}} [SWORD > WARRIOR] took the lands in the east by force at the will of the gods.

Mss: (112v-113r), 39(3vb), F(19vb), J1ˣ(67v), J2ˣ(65r) (Hkr); 61(7rb), 325IX 1 a(3ra), Bb(9va) (ÓT)

Readings: [1] él: ek 325IX 1 a, Bb    [2] banda: branda J1ˣ, J2ˣ    [3] randar: rauðar Bb    [4] ‑lundr: corrected from ‑sundr J2ˣ;    of: ef Bb

Editions: Skj AI, 124, Skj BI, 118, Skald I, 66, NN §§318, 396, 1827; Hkr 1893-1901, I, 237, IV, 68, ÍF 26, 210, Hkr 1991, I, 139 (HGráf ch. 6), F 1871, 90; Fms 1, 56, Fms 12, 32, ÓT 1958-2000, I, 56 (ch. 35).

Context: See st. 6.

Notes: [1]: (a) Almost all interpreters, including the present ed., have accepted the division of the line Mart varð él, áðr, Ála ‘many a storm came about, before, of Áli’; cf. Reichardt (1928, 154-5). (b) Kock (NN §396, followed by Ohlmarks 1958, 366) suggests a simpler solution in which él ‘storm’ is translated as ‘battle’ and Ála collocates with austrlǫnd ‘the eastern lands’ in the following line as a kenning for Norway. But Ála must be the determinant of the battle-kenning, because él alone is not known to signify ‘battle’; see LP: él. The kenning austrlǫnd Ála is also unlikely (see Reichardt 1928, 154-5; Reichardt 1930, 241). (c) Kuhn (1929b, 201), also seeking to avoid a tripartite line, attaches Ála to lauks randar ‘leek of the shield’, the determinant of rœkilundr ‘tending tree’, but that similarly creates an overdetermined kenning while leaving él ‘battle’ without a determinant. — [2] at mun banda ‘at the will of the gods’: Here the skald represents the conquering of Norway as in line with the will of the gods (n. pl. bǫnd). Other instances in skaldic poetry (see Marold 1992, 705-7) indicate that these gods protect the land from evil or entrust it to rulers of whom they approve, cf. Tindr Hákdr 8/5-8, where the gods want Hákon to surpass all other rulers. It may be that the bǫnd are especially linked to the jarls of Hlaðir (Lade), cf. also st. 14/4 below and the stef ‘refrain’ of Bandadrápa, composed for Hákon jarl’s son Eiríkr, which confirms that Eiríkr rules the land at mun banda (Edáð Banddr 9/1). — [3] af ríki ‘by force’: The phrase could be construed with the main clause, but placing it in the subordinate clause, as here, gives good sense and the simplest word order (so also Vell 1865, 18; NN §396; ÍF 26; Hkr 1991).


  1. Bibliography
  2. Fms = Sveinbjörn Egilsson et al., eds. 1825-37. Fornmanna sögur eptir gömlum handritum útgefnar að tilhlutun hins norræna fornfræða fèlags. 12 vols. Copenhagen: Popp.
  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. ÍF 26-8 = Heimskringla. Ed. Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson. 1941-51.
  7. Hkr 1893-1901 = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1893-1901. Heimskringla: Nóregs konunga sǫgur af Snorri Sturluson. 4 vols. SUGNL 23. Copenhagen: Møller.
  8. Hkr 1991 = Bergljót S. Kristjánsdóttir et al., eds. 1991. Heimskringla. 3 vols. Reykjavík: Mál og menning.
  9. F 1871 = Unger, C. R., ed. 1871. Fríssbók: Codex Frisianus. En samling af norske konge-sagaer. Christiania (Oslo): Malling.
  10. ÓT 1958-2000 = Ólafur Halldórsson, ed. 1958-2000. Saga Óláfs Tryggvasonar en mesta. 3 vols. EA A 1-3. Copenhagen: Munksgaard (Reitzel).
  11. Kuhn, Hans (1899). 1929b. Review of Konstantin Reichardt. 1928. Studien zu den Skalden des 9. und 10. Jahrhunderts. Leipzig: Mayer & Müller. GGA, 193-202. Rpt. in Kuhn (1899) 1969-78, I, 421-9
  12. Reichardt, Konstantin. 1928. Studien zu den Skalden des 9. und 10. Jahrhunderts. Palaestra 159. Leipzig: Mayer & Müller.
  13. Reichardt, Konstantin. 1930. ‘Beiträge zur Skaldenforschung’. ANF 46, 32-62, 199-258.
  14. Marold, Edith. 1992. ‘Die Skaldendichtung als Quelle der Religionsgeschichte’. In Beck et al. 1992, 685-719.
  15. Ohlmarks, Åke. 1958. Tors skalder och Vite-Krists. Trosskiftestidens isländska furstelovskalder, 980-1013. Stockholm: Geber.
  16. Vell 1865 = Freudenthal, Axel Olof. 1865. Einar Skålaglams Vellekla / öfversatt och förklarad af Axel Olof Freudenthal. Helsingfors: Frenckell.
  17. Internal references
  18. Not published: do not cite (HGráfII)
  19. Russell Poole (ed.) 2012, ‘Eyjólfr dáðaskáld, Bandadrápa 9’ 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. 468.
  20. Russell Poole (ed.) 2012, ‘Tindr Hallkelsson, Hákonardrápa 8’ 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. 351.

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