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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Gsind Hákdr 2I

Russell Poole (ed.) 2012, ‘Guthormr sindri, Hákonardrápa 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. 159.

Guthormr sindriHákonardrápa

Almdrósar fór eisu
élrunnr mǫrum sunnan
trjónu tingls á grœna
tveim einum selmeina,
þás ellifu allar
allreiðr Dana skeiðar
Valsendir hrauð vandar
víðfrægr at þat síðan.

{{{{Almdrósar}} eisu} él}runnr} fór sunnan {einum tveim mǫrum tingls} á grœna trjónu selmeina, þás {allreiðr {vandar Val}sendir} hrauð allar ellifu skeiðar Dana, víðfrægr at þat síðan.

{The bush {of the storm {of the fire {of the bow-woman}}}} [(lit. ‘storm-bush of the fire of the bow-woman’) VALKYRIE > SWORD > BATTLE > WARRIOR = Hákon] went from the south {with only two steeds of the prow-board} [SHIPS] on to the green snout of seal-wounds [Selund] when {the utterly enraged sender {of the Valr <horse> of the mast}} [(lit. ‘Valr-sender of the mast’) SHIP > SEAFARER = Hákon] cleared all eleven ships of the Danes, widely famed for that afterwards.

Mss: (86v-87r), F(15ra-b), J1ˣ(51v), J2ˣ(49r) (Hkr); 61(4rb), Bb(5va), Flat(7rb) (ÓT)

Readings: [1] fór: ‘of⸜or⸝’ Flat;    eisu: eisum F    [2] mǫrum: ‘morv’ J1ˣ, ‘níorun’ Bb, ‘moíns’ Flat    [3] tingls: ‘tíngs’ F, ‘tuigls’ J1ˣ, ‘tragls’ Flat;    grœna: grœnan Bb    [4] sel‑: segl‑ 61, sól‑ Bb    [5] allar: allir J1ˣ    [6] allreiðr: ‘alldrídum’ Bb;    skeiðar: skriðar Bb, skreiðar Flat    [7] hrauð: rauð all;    vandar: vindar J1ˣ, J2ˣ, ‘vondar’ Flat    [8] þat: því Bb, þar Flat

Editions: Skj AI, 62, Skj BI, 55, Skald I, 34, NN §§1052, 2008G, 2910A; Hkr 1893-1901, I, 177, IV, 46-7, ÍF 26, 158-9, Hkr 1991, I, 100 (HákGóð ch. 7), F 1871, 68; Fms 1, 27-8, Fms 12, 26, ÓT 1958-2000, I, 26-7 (ch. 18), Flat 1860-8, I, 52 .

Context: Hákon sails north to Selund (Zealand) in pursuit of vikings. In Eyrarsund (Øresund) he enters into battle with eleven viking ships and again has the victory.

Notes: [1-4]: (a) The standard construal of these lines, adopted here, takes grœna trjónu ‘green snout’ as a f. acc. sg. phrase qualified by the gen. pl. selmeina ‘of seal-wounds [Selund]’, while the following word, tingls ‘of the prow-board’, acts as determinant for the base-word mǫrum ‘steeds, mares’ in l. 2 (Hkr 1893-1901, IV; ÍF 26; Hkr 1991). See further Notes to ll. 4 and 7 below. (b) Kock (NN §1052) combines mǫrum trjónu tingls ‘horses with metal plates on the snout [SHIPS]’ and takes á grœna with selmeina, ‘onto the green [coast] of seal-wounds [Selund]’, in order to rationalise the word order, but the separation of tveim einum ‘only two’ from mǫrum ‘mares’ itself presupposes some complexity of word order, and grœna has to be assumed to be substantival. — [2] sunnan ‘from the south’: This is the most natural interpretation (cf. Hkr 1893-1901, IV; Skj B). It would imply that Hákon had begun his voyage at a point south of Zealand, perhaps indicating incursion into the Danish sphere of influence in the southern Baltic. Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson (ÍF 26; cf. Hkr 1991) instead tentatively proposed ‘south across the sea’; he cites Sturl Hryn 3/2II, but the sense of sunnan there is probably ‘from the south’. — [3] trjónu ‘snout’: This word (nom. sg. trjóna) refers to the place where Hákon’s expeditionary force landed, presumably a promontory such as the south-east extremity of Zealand, or Helsingør in the north-east (suggested in Hkr 1893-1901, IV). Trjóna also has the sense ‘rod’ (see Note to Þjóð Yt 14/6), but here the sense appears to be ‘snout’, suggested by the idea of ‘seal’ in the p. n. Selund (see Note to l. 4; also st. 3/1). — [3] tingls ‘of the prow-board’: This refers to carved boards, or possibly engraved sheets of metal, forming part of the prow (cf. Þhorn Harkv 7/8, and see Eggert Ó. Brím 1895, 20-3; Shetelig and Falk 1937, 358; Jesch 2001a, 148-9). — [4] selmeina ‘of seal-wounds [Selund]’: An ofljóst on Selund (Zealand), based on a synonym substitution of und f. ‘wound’ for mein n., both ‘wound’, and on the homonymy of und ‘wound’ with the suffix ‑und ‘supplied with, abundant in’ (AEW: und 6), which is the second element in Selund and some other early place names such as Borgund and Eikund. Gen. pl. meina is most probably to be explained as standing for gen. sg. meins (Hkr 1893-1901, IV), in view of the sg. form Selund in st. 3/1. — [7] vandar Valsendir ‘sender of the Valr <horse> of the mast [(lit. Valr-sender of the mast) SHIP > SEAFARER]’: This analysis follows NN §2008G (cf. ÍF 26; Hkr 1991). On the horse-heiti Valr, see Note to Þloft Tøgdr 5/6. Finnur Jónsson (Hkr 1893-1901, IV) instead took val- as val n. ‘the slain’ and analysed the kenning as an inversion of valvandar sendir ‘sender of the wand of the slain [(lit. ‘slain-sender of the wand) SPEAR > WARRIOR]’.


  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. Jesch, Judith. 2001a. Ships and Men in the Late Viking Age: The Vocabulary of Runic Inscriptions and Skaldic Verse. Woodbridge: Boydell.
  8. 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.
  9. ÍF 26-8 = Heimskringla. Ed. Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson. 1941-51.
  10. Hkr 1893-1901 = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1893-1901. Heimskringla: Nóregs konunga sǫgur af Snorri Sturluson. 4 vols. SUGNL 23. Copenhagen: Møller.
  11. Hkr 1991 = Bergljót S. Kristjánsdóttir et al., eds. 1991. Heimskringla. 3 vols. Reykjavík: Mál og menning.
  12. F 1871 = Unger, C. R., ed. 1871. Fríssbók: Codex Frisianus. En samling af norske konge-sagaer. Christiania (Oslo): Malling.
  13. ÓT 1958-2000 = Ólafur Halldórsson, ed. 1958-2000. Saga Óláfs Tryggvasonar en mesta. 3 vols. EA A 1-3. Copenhagen: Munksgaard (Reitzel).
  14. Shetelig, Haakon and Hjalmar Falk. 1937. Scandinavian Archaeology. Trans. E. V. Gordon. Oxford: Clarendon.
  15. Eggert Ó. Brím. 1895. ‘Bemærkninger angående en del vers i “Noregs konungasögur” (Reykjavík 1892)’. ANF 11, 1-32.
  16. Internal references
  17. Not published: do not cite (HákGóðII)
  18. Valgerður Erna Þorvaldsdóttir (ed.) 2009, ‘Sturla Þórðarson, Hrynhenda 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. 679-80.
  19. R. D. Fulk (ed.) 2012, ‘Þorbjǫrn hornklofi, Haraldskvæði (Hrafnsmál) 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. 100.
  20. 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.
  21. Matthew Townend (ed.) 2012, ‘Þórarinn loftunga, Tøgdrápa 5’ 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. 858.

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