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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Eyv Hál 7I

Russell Poole (ed.) 2012, ‘Eyvindr skáldaspillir Finnsson, Háleygjatal 7’ 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. 205.

Eyvindr skáldaspillir FinnssonHáleygjatal

Varð Hôkun
Hǫgna meyjar
viðr vápnberr,
es vega skyldi,
ok sinn aldr
í odda gný
Freys ôttungr
á Fjǫlum lagði.

Hôkun, {viðr {meyjar Hǫgna}}, varð vápnberr, es skyldi vega, ok {ôttungr Freys} lagði aldr sinn í {gný odda} á Fjǫlum.

Hákon, {tree {of the maiden of Hǫgni <legendary hero>}} [= Hildr (hildr ‘battle’) > WARRIOR], became weapon-bare when he had to fight, and {the kinsman of Freyr <god>} [= Hákon] laid down his life in {the din of points} [BATTLE] at Fjaler.

Mss: (57v), F(10ra), J1ˣ(31v), J2ˣ(32v-33r) (Hkr); FskBˣ(5r), FskAˣ(14) (Fsk)

Readings: [3] ‑berr: ‘bær’ FskBˣ    [5] sinn: síðan FskBˣ;    aldr: aldri FskBˣ    [6] í: om. FskBˣ    [7] ôttungr: ‘attughr’ FskAˣ    [8] á: at F

Editions: Skj AI, 69, Skj BI, 61, Skald I, 38; Hkr 1893-1901, I, 115, IV, 31-2, ÍF 26, 108, Hkr 1991, I, 66 (HHárf ch. 12), F 1871, 45; Fsk 1902-3, 14 (ch. 2), ÍF 29, 66 (ch. 3); Krause 1990, 170-4.

Context: Stanzas 7 and 8 are cited in uninterrupted succession. Haraldr hárfagri ‘Fair-hair’ places the district of Firðir (Fjordane) under the control of Hákon jarl Grjótgarðsson but when Hákon orders Atli jarl to release his control of Sogn Atli disputes this. He and Hákon join battle at Fjalir in Stafanessvágr (Fjaler, Stongfjorden), where Hákon is defeated and killed and Atli subsequently dies of his wounds.

Notes: [1-4]: Normally the warrior-kenning in ll. 2-3 is construed as in apposition to Hôkun, as in this edn. Apposition occurs sporadically elsewhere in Hál (see st. 13/1, 3). An alternative, with Hkr 1893-1901, IV, would be to take the kenning as subject of the rel. clause: Hôkon varð vápnberr, es viðr meyjar Hǫgna skyldi vega ‘Hákon became weapon-bare when the tree of Hǫgni’s maiden [Hákon, he] had to fight’. — [2] meyjar Hǫgna ‘of the maiden of Hǫgni <legendary hero> [= Hildr (hildr “battle”)]’: An allusion to Hildr, who instigates the Hjaðningavíg ‘fight of the people of Heðinn’, conventionally referred to in scholarship as the ‘Everlasting Fight’; for the Hildr story see especially Bragi Rdr 8-12III. Hildr also occurs as a generalised name for valkyrie and, as here by ofljóst, a heiti for ‘battle’. — [3] vápnberr ‘weapon-bare’: Presumably this means ‘bare of, i.e. lacking, a weapon’, though an alternative might be ‘bare/exposed before the weapons [of his enemies]’ (Hkr 1893-1901, IV; LP: vápnberr; ÍF 26; ÍF 29; Hkr 1991). Finnur Jónsson interprets this as våbnbidt ‘weapon-bitten’ in Skj B, but without justification. The cpd is a hap. leg., which together with the reference to Freyr in l. 7 makes it conceivable that there is an allusion to Freyr’s lacking his sword in the fight against Beli (cf. Note to st. 3/3) and at Ragnarǫk, caused by his lending it to Skírnir to assist in the wooing of Gerðr (SnE 2005, 31-2; Simek 1993, 91). Hákon’s lack of a weapon is not explained in the stanza or the prose. — [7] ôttungr Freys ‘the kinsman of Freyr <god> [= Hákon]’: Hákon jarl Grjótgarðsson (see Context above). The identical phrase appears in Þjóð Yt 16/7. A close analogue is ôttung(r) Týs ‘kinsman of Týr’ in st. 10/7, with its counterpart in Þjóð Yt 14/3. Such kennings occur only in these two poems and in Eskál Vell. Similarly restricted in distribution is the theme of the divine ancestry of kings and jarls (Marold 1992, 699; cf. Bagge 2000, 33-6 on ). Presumably the kennings do not imply direct descent from Freyr or Týr (since Óðinn appears as progenitor in st. 1), but they do form part of a programme of implicit comparison with the Yngling kings (see Introduction). It is conceivable that the specific reference to Freyr hints at movement towards the Yngling territory of south-eastern Norway, where toponymic evidence suggests that the cult of Freyr was particularly strong (Brink 2007a, 109). — [8] á Fjǫlum ‘at Fjaler’: Fjalir (Fjaler) is a fjord and the surrounding district, just north of Sognefjorden on the west coast of Norway.


  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. 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.
  5. ÍF 26-8 = Heimskringla. Ed. Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson. 1941-51.
  6. Hkr 1893-1901 = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1893-1901. Heimskringla: Nóregs konunga sǫgur af Snorri Sturluson. 4 vols. SUGNL 23. Copenhagen: Møller.
  7. Hkr 1991 = Bergljót S. Kristjánsdóttir et al., eds. 1991. Heimskringla. 3 vols. Reykjavík: Mál og menning.
  8. F 1871 = Unger, C. R., ed. 1871. Fríssbók: Codex Frisianus. En samling af norske konge-sagaer. Christiania (Oslo): Malling.
  9. Fsk 1902-3 = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1902-3. Fagrskinna: Nóregs kononga tal. SUGNL 30. Copenhagen: Møller.
  10. ÍF 29 = Ágrip af Nóregskonunga sǫgum; Fagrskinna—Nóregs konungatal. Ed. Bjarni Einarsson. 1985.
  11. SnE 2005 = Snorri Sturluson. 2005. Edda: Prologue and Gylfaginning. Ed. Anthony Faulkes. 2nd edn. University College London: Viking Society for Northern Research.
  12. Krause, Arnulf, ed. 1990. Die Dichtung des Eyvindr skáldaspillir: Edition-Kommentar-Untersuchungen. Altnordische Bibliothek 10. Leverkusen: Literaturverlag Norden Mark Reinhardt.
  13. Bagge, Sverre. 2000. ‘Old Norse Theories of Society. From Rígsþula to Konungs skuggsiá’. In Schnall et al. 2000, 7-45.
  14. Marold, Edith. 1992. ‘Die Skaldendichtung als Quelle der Religionsgeschichte’. In Beck et al. 1992, 685-719.
  15. Simek, Rudolf. 1993. Dictionary of Northern Mythology. Trans. Angela Hall. Cambridge: D. S. Brewer.
  16. Brink, Stefan. 2007a. ‘How Uniform Was the Old Norse Religion?’. In Quinn et al. 2007, 105-36.
  17. Internal references
  18. Not published: do not cite (HHárfII)
  19. Edith Marold with the assistance of Vivian Busch, Jana Krüger, Ann-Dörte Kyas and Katharina Seidel, translated from German by John Foulks 2012, ‘(Introduction to) Einarr skálaglamm Helgason, Vellekla’ 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. 280.
  20. Russell Poole 2012, ‘(Introduction to) Eyvindr skáldaspillir Finnsson, Háleygjatal’ 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. 195.
  21. Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.) 2017, ‘Bragi inn gamli Boddason, Ragnarsdrápa 8’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 39.
  22. Not published: do not cite ()
  23. Edith Marold (ed.) 2012, ‘Þjóðólfr ór Hvini, Ynglingatal 14’ 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. 31.
  24. Edith Marold (ed.) 2012, ‘Þjóðólfr ór Hvini, Ynglingatal 16’ 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. 36.

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