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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Sigv ErfÓl 6I

Judith Jesch (ed.) 2012, ‘Sigvatr Þórðarson, Erfidrápa Óláfs helga 6’ 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. 672.

Sigvatr ÞórðarsonErfidrápa Óláfs helga

Vissi helzt, þats hvǫssum
hundmǫrgum lét grundar
vǫrðr með vôpnum skorða
víkingum skǫr, ríkis.
Mildr lét mǫrgu valdit
Magnúss faðir gagni;
fremð Ôleifs kveðk frǫmðu
flestan sigr ins digra.

Vissi helzt ríkis, þats {vǫrðr grundar} lét skorða skǫr hundmǫrgum víkingum með hvǫssum vôpnum. {Mildr faðir Magnúss} lét valdit mǫrgu gagni; kveðk flestan sigr frǫmðu fremð Ôleifs ins digra.

It demonstrated [his] power most clearly, that {the guardian of the land} [KING = Óláfr] had the hair of very many vikings cut with sharp weapons. {The gracious father of Magnús} [= Óláfr] brought about many a victory; I declare that most victories promoted the pre-eminence of Óláfr inn digri (‘the Stout’).

Mss: (439r) (Hkr); Holm2(59v), 321ˣ(226), 73aˣ(183r-v), 68(59r), Holm4(57vb), 61(118ra), 325V(71va), 325VII(33r), Bb(191ra-b), Flat(119vb-120ra), Tóm(148r), 325XI 2 g(4vb) (ll. 1-2) (ÓH)

Readings: [1] helzt: heldr 61, Bb, Flat, Tóm;    þats (‘þat er’): þar er 68, Holm4, 61, Flat, Tóm, þá er Bb    [2] hund‑: ‘hvn’ 325VII;    ‑mǫrgum: mǫrk 321ˣ, morginn 73aˣ;    grundar: grandat 68, Bb, om. 325XI 2 g    [3] vǫrðr: vǫrðum 68;    skorða: om. Holm2, hǫrðum 321ˣ, 73aˣ, skerða 68, Holm4, 325VII, skorna 61, Bb, Flat, Tóm    [4] víkingum: víkinginn 73aˣ, víkinga 68    [5] lét: hefir 61, Bb, Flat, Tóm;    mǫrgu: mǫrgum Bb;    valdit: valda 325V, 325VII    [7] fremð: frægð 321ˣ, 73aˣ, frændr 325V, 325VII;    frǫmðu: framði 321ˣ, 73aˣ, fundu 325VII    [8] ins: hinn 73aˣ, enn Holm4;    digra: digri 321ˣ, 73aˣ, Tóm

Editions: Skj AI, 258, Skj BI, 240, Skald I, 124, NN §§658, 3068; Hkr 1893-1901, II, 421-2, IV, 159-60, ÍF 27, 330, Hkr 1991, II, 493 (ÓHHkr ch. 181); ÓH 1941, I, 502 (ch. 177), Flat 1860-8, II, 316; Jón Skaptason 1983, 161, 303.

Context: As for st. 4.

Notes: [1] þats ‘that’: It seems that þat refers back to the implicit subject of vissi ‘demonstrated’ (impersonal in the Text, subject expressed as ‘it’ in the Translation), and that [e]s is the rel. particle (cf. NS §267a). — [2, 3, 4] lét … skorða skǫr ‘had the hair … cut’: Cf. Note to st. 4/5, 8. Skorða is f. acc. sg. p. p. of skora, a syncopated form of the expected skoraða. The literal sense of the verb is ‘to score, cut into’, thereby suggesting that it is not after all just a haircut (for which the variant skorna, f. acc. sg. p. p. of skera ‘cut’ would be the usual word); cf. Note to st. 4/5, 8. — [4] víkingum ‘vikings’: These are the Norwegians who have been causing trouble in the kingdom (see Context to st. 4); on the shades of meaning of this word, see Jesch (2001a, 49-54). — [7] frǫmðu ‘promoted’: A past inf. within an acc. + inf. construction (kveðk) flestan sigr frǫmðu, lit. ‘(I declare) most victories to have promoted’. Past infinitives occur relatively frequently in the poem: cf. st. 12/3 gingu ‘went’, st. 13/1 vôru ‘was’ and st. 18/2 kenndu ‘taught’. — [8] flestan sigr ‘most victories’: Grammatically sg., ‘most victory’.


  1. Bibliography
  2. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  3. NN = Kock, Ernst Albin. 1923-44. Notationes Norrœnæ: Anteckningar till Edda och skaldediktning. Lunds Universitets årsskrift new ser. 1. 28 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  4. Jesch, Judith. 2001a. Ships and Men in the Late Viking Age: The Vocabulary of Runic Inscriptions and Skaldic Verse. Woodbridge: Boydell.
  5. 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.
  6. NS = Nygaard, Marius. 1906. Norrøn syntax. Kristiania (Oslo): Aschehoug. Rpt. 1966.
  7. ÓH 1941 = Johnsen, Oscar Albert and Jón Helgason, eds. 1941. Saga Óláfs konungs hins helga: Den store saga om Olav den hellige efter pergamenthåndskrift i Kungliga biblioteket i Stockholm nr. 2 4to med varianter fra andre håndskrifter. 2 vols. Det norske historiske kildeskriftfond skrifter 53. Oslo: Dybwad.
  8. ÍF 26-8 = Heimskringla. Ed. Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson. 1941-51.
  9. Hkr 1893-1901 = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1893-1901. Heimskringla: Nóregs konunga sǫgur af Snorri Sturluson. 4 vols. SUGNL 23. Copenhagen: Møller.
  10. Hkr 1991 = Bergljót S. Kristjánsdóttir et al., eds. 1991. Heimskringla. 3 vols. Reykjavík: Mál og menning.
  11. Jón Skaptason. 1983. ‘Material for an Edition and Translation of the Poems of Sigvat Þórðarson, skáld’. Ph.D. thesis. State University of New York at Stony Brook. DAI 44: 3681A.
  12. Internal references
  13. Not published: do not cite (ÓHHkrI)

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