Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Gsind Hákdr 4I

Russell Poole (ed.) 2012, ‘Guthormr sindri, Hákonardrápa 4’ 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. 162.

Guthormr sindriHákonardrápa

Skattgilda vann skyldir
skautjalfaðar Gauta;
gollskýflir vann gjǫflastr
geirveðr í fǫr þeiri.

{Skyldir {skautjalfaðar}} vann Gauta skattgilda; {gjǫflastr gollskýflir} vann {geirveðr} í þeiri fǫr.

{The requisitioner {of the sail-bear}} [SHIP > SEAFARER] made the Gautar tribute-paying; {the most generous gold-destroyer} [GENEROUS MAN] made {spear-storms} [BATTLES] on that expedition.

Mss: (87r), F(15rb), J1ˣ(52r), J2ˣ(49r) (Hkr); 61(4rb), Bb(5va), Flat(7rb) (ÓT)

Readings: [2] Gauta: Gauti Flat    [3] ‑skýflir: so F, 61, Bb, ‑skýft Kˣ, ‑skylfir J1ˣ, J2ˣ, Flat;    vann: fann Flat    [4] geirveðr: om. J1ˣ

Editions: Skj AI, 62, Skj BI, 55, Skald I, 34; Hkr 1893-1901, I, 178, IV, 47-8, ÍF 26, 160, Hkr 1991, I, 101 (HákGóð ch. 8), F 1871, 69; Fms 1, 28, Fms 12, 27, ÓT 1958-2000, I, 27 (ch. 18), Flat 1860-8, I, 53 .

Context: See Context to st. 3. Hákon raids and exacts tribute as far east as Gautland (Götaland). Following the stanza, it is told that he overwinters in Vík (Viken), as a precaution against attacks from the Danes and Gautar.

Notes: [1] skyldir ‘the requisitioner’: The agentive skyldir, from skylda ‘to require, exact, oblige’, has few attestations, and emendation to skildir ‘equipper with shields’ has been suggested, as being a natural collocation with expressions for ‘ship’ (Meissner 301). Previous eds have retained skyldir, assuming the general sense ‘controller, steerer’ (Skj B; ÍF 26; Hkr 1991), but a more specific reference is possible, to a naval levy by which the ruler required building or provision of ships as a form of tribute; this would fit with saga evidence that Hákon organised such a levy (Krag 2003b, 189). — [2] skautjalfaðar ‘of the sail-bear [SHIP]’: Skaut n. refers to the corner of a sail or piece of cloth, hence probably ‘sail’, or else ‘sheet’, a rope attached to the corner (Jesch 2001a, 163-4). The heiti jalfaðr/jǫlfuðr can mean ‘bear’ as here, or refer to Óðinn as in st. 1/6 (and see Note); compare Guthormr’s use of val- in different senses in sts 2/7 and 3/3. — [3] -skýflir ‘destroyer’: This sense is assumed on the basis of an etymology from skýfa ‘shove’ (cf. Meissner 289; Note to Rv Lv 14/7II). An alternative possibility is that it may derive from a distinct verb skyfla ‘to plunder, rob’ which is frequent in OEN (Fritzner: skyflir; AEW: -skyflt; cf. Meissner 301; ÍF 26), though not directly attested in OWN. The short vowel would be supported by the ModIcel. form -skylm- cited in LP: skýflir. The notion of the active pursuit of treasure would be paralleled in kennings with base-words such as beiðir or sœkir, both ‘pursuer’ (Meissner 290, 305).


  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. Meissner = Meissner, Rudolf. 1921. Die Kenningar der Skalden: Ein Beitrag zur skaldischen Poetik. Rheinische Beiträge und Hülfsbücher zur germanischen Philologie und Volkskunde 1. Bonn and Leipzig: Schroeder. Rpt. 1984. Hildesheim etc.: Olms.
  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. Jesch, Judith. 2001a. Ships and Men in the Late Viking Age: The Vocabulary of Runic Inscriptions and Skaldic Verse. Woodbridge: Boydell.
  9. 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.
  10. Fritzner = Fritzner, Johan. 1883-96. Ordbog over det gamle norske sprog. 3 vols. Kristiania (Oslo): Den norske forlagsforening. 4th edn. Rpt. 1973. Oslo etc.: Universitetsforlaget.
  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. ÓT 1958-2000 = Ólafur Halldórsson, ed. 1958-2000. Saga Óláfs Tryggvasonar en mesta. 3 vols. EA A 1-3. Copenhagen: Munksgaard (Reitzel).
  16. Krag, Claus. 2003b. ‘The Early Unification of Norway’. In Helle 2003, 184-201.
  17. Internal references
  18. Not published: do not cite (HákGóðII)
  19. Judith Jesch (ed.) 2009, ‘Rǫgnvaldr jarl Kali Kolsson, Lausavísur 14’ 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. 591-2.

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