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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Krm 28VIII

Rory McTurk (ed.) 2017, ‘Anonymous Poems, Krákumál 28’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 774.

Anonymous PoemsKrákumál

Hjuggu vér með hjörvi.
Hef ek fimm tigum sinna
fólkorrostur framðar
fleinþings boði ok eina.
Minnst hugða ek manna,
at mér vera skyldi
— ungr nam ek odd at rjóða —
annarr konungr fremri.
Oss munu æsir bjóða;
era sýtandi dauði.

Hjuggu vér með hjörvi. Ek, {boði {fleinþings}}, hef framðar fólkorrostur fimm tigum sinna ok eina. Ek hugða minnst manna, at annarr konungr skyldi vera fremri mér; ungr namk at rjóða odd. Æsir munu bjóða oss; era sýtandi dauði.

We hewed with the sword. I, {the instigator {of the spear-assembly}} [BATTLE > WARRIOR], have conducted five times ten battles between peoples, and one more. I least of [all] people thought that another king would prove superior to me; I began at a young age to redden the sword-point. The gods will invite us; death is not to be feared.

Mss: R702ˣ(31v), 147(103r), 6ˣ(91v) (Ragn); LR(225-226), R693ˣ(18r)

Readings: [1] Hjuggu vér með hjörvi: abbrev. as ‘H. v. m. h.’ R702ˣ, ‘H[...] v[...] m[...] h[...]rvi’ 147, Hjuggum vér með hjörvi 6ˣ, LR, R693ˣ    [2] Hef ek: ‘(hef)eg’(?) 147, hefisk 6ˣ;    fimm tigum sinna: ‘fimtugu[...]’ 147    [3] fólkorrostur framðar: ‘(fo)lkorrust[...] (fr)amd(ar)’(?) 147    [5] Minnst: ‘(mins[…])’(?) 147;    hugða: hugði 6ˣ, LR    [6] vera skyldi: ‘(ver)[...] skylldi’(?) 147    [7] nam: nam corrected from man R693ˣ;    odd at rjóða: ‘(o)d(d) at [...]’(?) 147    [8] konungr: ‘[...](konungur)’(?) 147;    fremri: ‘(fremri)’(?) 147, frægri 6ˣ    [9] Oss munu: ‘(oss munu)’(?) 147;    æsir: ‘æs(ir)’(?) 147, ‘aesar’ LR    [10] era: ‘(eigi er)’(?) 147, er at 6ˣ, er ei LR, R693ˣ;    sýtandi dauði: so 6ˣ, LR, R693ˣ, sýtanda dauða R702ˣ

Editions: Skj AI, 649, Skj BI, 655-6, Skald I, 320-1; Rafn 1826, 24-5, 150-1, Pfeiffer 1860, 127, CPB II, 345, Wisén 1886-9, I, 66, Krm 1891, 228, Finnur Jónsson 1893b, 90-1, Finnur Jónsson 1905, 157; Ragn 1906-8, 189.

Notes: [All]: Lines 2-8 bear a striking resemblance to Ragn 26/1-6 and some resemblance (in ll. 5-6, 8) to st. 24/5-6, above; cf. Note to st. 24/5-6 above and McTurk (2012b, 376-8). — [1-3]: See Note to st. 27/7-10, above for an account of the arrangement of these lines in 147. — [2-4]: The present ed. takes boði in l. 4 as nom. sg. of boði ‘offerer, instigator’, and as the base-word in a warrior-kenning boði fleinþings ‘instigator of the spear-assembly’, standing in apposition to ek ‘I’ as the subject of the sentence. Some eds (Krm 1891; Finnur Jónsson 1893b; Finnur Jónsson 1905; Skj B; Skald) emend hef ek ‘I have’ in l. 2 to 3rd pers. sg. hefir, hefr ‘has’, thus making the warrior-kenning in l. 4 the sole grammatical subject of the sentence, and producing the meaning ‘the warrior has conducted …’, i.e., presenting the speaker of the poem as referring to himself in the 3rd pers. This emendation seems unnecessary. — [2-4]: The speaker of the poem claims here to have been involved in fifty-one battles (‘five times ten ... and one more’) during his lifetime. In none of the surviving accounts of Ragnarr loðbrók can as many battles as this in which he takes part be counted. In popular narrative, as Olrik (1921, 75; 1992, 52) has indicated, the number five tends to signify ‘many’. It seems likely that the number fifty, as it occurs here and in Ragn 26, was originally chosen to suggest a large number, and that ok eina ‘and one more’ has been added in each case to fill out an even-numbered line with a rhyming cadence. The addition of ok eina ‘and one more (battle)’ is syntactically awkward here, since fimm tigum sinna, lit. ‘five tens of times’, is an adverbial phrase of time of the kind illustrated in NS §118, with tigum dat. pl. of tigr ‘(unit of) ten’, here governing the gen. pl. sinna of sinn ‘time, occasion’ (see NS §118, and cf. §§128-30 and 127). The sentence thus means lit. ‘I have conducted battles between peoples five tens of times, and one more (battle)’. — [3] fólkorrostur ‘battles between peoples’: The same expression occurs in Sigv Berv 1/3II and Sigv ErfÓl 22/3I; cf. de Vries (1964-7, II, 40 n. 68). — [5-6, 8]: The king (annarr konungr ‘another king’) referred to in l. 8, is Ella (OE Ælle), mentioned by name in sts 24/5 and 27/6. — [5] ek hugða minnst manna ‘I, least of [all] people, thought’: I.e. ‘I am the last person to have thought [that another king would prove superior to me]’. This understanding of the lines is in keeping with the spirit of heroic pride that the speaker is showing at this and indeed at all stages of the poem. — [9] æsir munu bjóða oss ‘the gods will invite us’: The speaker sees himself being invited to Valhǫll, the mythical ‘hall of the slain’, presided over by Óðinn, in which warriors who have fallen in battle (the einherjar) enjoy their afterlife (cf. Notes to sts 4/4 and 25/3 above). Valhǫll is described most fully in Gylf (SnE 2005, 32-4); cf. Grí 8-10, 18-26 and Anon Eirm 1/3, 5I. See the Notes to those lines. Both here and in Eyv HákI (cf. st. 10/4-6 there) it is the gods as a group, rather than Óðinn alone, who invite the hero to enter Valhǫll. — [10] sýtandi ‘to be feared’: An example of the pres. part. used predicatively with passive meaning (see NS §239).


  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. CPB = Gudbrand Vigfusson [Guðbrandur Vigfússon] and F. York Powell, eds. 1883. Corpus poeticum boreale: The Poetry of the Old Northern Tongue from the Earliest Times to the Thirteenth Century. 2 vols. Oxford: Clarendon. Rpt. 1965, New York: Russell & Russell.
  5. Vries, Jan de. 1964-7. Altnordische Literaturgeschichte. 2 vols. 2nd edn. Grundriss der germanischen Philologie 15-16. Berlin: de Gruyter.
  6. Wisén, Theodor, ed. 1886-9. Carmina Norrœnæ: Ex reliquiis vetustioris norrœnæ poësis selecta, recognita, commentariis et glossario instructa. 2 vols. Lund: Ohlsson.
  7. Finnur Jónsson. 1893b. Carmina Norrœna: Rettet Tekst. Copenhagen: Nielsen & Lydiche.
  8. NS = Nygaard, Marius. 1906. Norrøn syntax. Kristiania (Oslo): Aschehoug. Rpt. 1966.
  9. SnE 2005 = Snorri Sturluson. 2005. Edda: Prologue and Gylfaginning. Ed. Anthony Faulkes. 2nd edn. University College London: Viking Society for Northern Research.
  10. Pfeiffer, Friedrich. 1860. Altnordisches Lesebuch. Leipzig: T. O. Weigel.
  11. Ragn 1906-8 = Olsen 1906-8, 111-222.
  12. Finnur Jónsson. 1905. ‘Krákumál’. Oversigt over det Kgl. Danske videnskabernes selskabs forhandlinger 1905, 151-83.
  13. McTurk, Rory. 2012b. ‘Badhbhscéal: Krákumál’. In Almqvist et al. 2012, 371-82.
  14. Olrik, Axel. 1921. Nogle grundsætninger for sagnforskning. Danmarks folkeminder 23, ed. Hans Ellekilde. Copenhagen: Det Schønbergske Forlag.
  15. Krm 1891 = 2nd edn (pp. 225-8) of Krm as ed. in Valdimar Ásmundarson 1885-9, I.
  16. Rafn, Carl Christian, ed. 1826. Krakas Maal eller Kvad om Kong Ragnar Lodbroks Krigsbedrifter og Heltedød efter en gammel Skindbog og flere hidtil ubenyttede Haandskrifter med dansk, latinsk og fransk oversættelse, forskjellige Læsemaader, samt kritiske og philologiske Anmærkninger. Copenhagen: Jens Hostrup Schultz; London: John and Arthur Arch.
  17. Internal references
  18. R. D. Fulk (ed.) 2012, ‘Anonymous Poems, Eiríksmál 1’ 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. 1006.
  19. (forthcoming), ‘ Snorri Sturluson, Gylfaginning’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. . <> (accessed 17 September 2021)
  20. Not published: do not cite (RloðVIII)
  21. R. D. Fulk 2012, ‘ Eyvindr skáldaspillir Finnsson, Hákonarmál’ 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. 171. <> (accessed 17 September 2021)
  22. Kari Ellen Gade 2009, ‘ Sigvatr Þórðarson, Bersǫglisvísur’ 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. 11-30. <> (accessed 17 September 2021)
  23. Not published: do not cite ()
  24. Rory McTurk (ed.) 2017, ‘Ragnars saga loðbrókar 26 (Ragnarr loðbrók, Lausavísur 9)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 676.

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