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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Sigv Víkv 11I

Judith Jesch (ed.) 2012, ‘Sigvatr Þórðarson, Víkingarvísur 11’ 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. 549.

Sigvatr ÞórðarsonVíkingarvísur

Ôleifr, vannt, þars jǫfrar,
ellipta styr, fellu,
— ungr, komt af því þingi,
þollr — í Gríslupolli.
Þat frák víg at víttu
Viljalms fyr bœ hjalma
— tala minnst es þat telja —
tryggs jarls háit snarla.

Ôleifr, vannt ellipta styr í Gríslupolli, þars jǫfrar fellu; ungr þollr, komt af því þingi. Frák þat víg, háit snarla fyr bœ Viljalms, tryggs jarls, at víttu hjalma; minnst tala es telja þat.

Óláfr, you won the eleventh battle in Gríslupollr, where princes fell; young fir-tree [warrior], you came away [safely] from that assembly. I have heard that that battle, fought briskly before the town of Viljálmr, the trustworthy jarl, destroyed helmets; it is the least of lists to enumerate that.

Mss: (228r-v), papp18ˣ(67v) (Hkr); Holm2(7v), R686ˣ(13r), J2ˣ(123v), 325VI(6vb), 73aˣ(21r-v), 78aˣ(20v), 68(6v), 61(80rb), 75c(3v), 325V(9ra-b), 325VII(2r), Bb(127rb), Flat(80va), Tóm(96v) (ÓH)

Readings: [1] þars (‘þar er’): er Bb;    jǫfrar: jǫfur R686ˣ, jǫfra 68    [2] ellipta: ellipta þar er J2ˣ;    fellu: felldu 61, felldi Tóm    [3] ungr: hrings 325VI, 73aˣ, 78aˣ;    þingi: þungi R686ˣ, þangat J2ˣ, 325VI, 73aˣ, 78aˣ    [4] Gríslu‑: Gíslu‑ R686ˣ, J2ˣ, 73aˣ, 68, 61, 75c, 325V, 325VII, Flat, Tóm;    ‑polli: so papp18ˣ, 75c, 325V, 325VII, Tóm, polla Kˣ, 68, 61, Bb, Flat, pollum Holm2, R686ˣ, J2ˣ, 73aˣ, 78aˣ, pollu 325VI    [5] Þat: þar papp18ˣ, 68;    víg: vígs 325VI, 325V, 325VII, Flat, Tóm;    at: om. 61, er Tóm;    víttu: veittu R686ˣ, J2ˣ, 325VI, 73aˣ, 78aˣ, 325V, Bb, Flat, áttu Tóm    [6] fyr: frá 68;    bœ: bý 73aˣ, 78aˣ, ‘híe’ Tóm;    hjalma: álmar 325VI, 73aˣ, 78aˣ, malma 68, Flat    [7] minnst es (‘minzt er’): ‘mint’ papp18ˣ, minnst var R686ˣ, J2ˣ, mín er 73aˣ, 61, 75c, Bb, Flat, Tóm, minnisk 325VII;    þat: þar 325VII;    telja: ‘tel⸜a⸝e’ papp18ˣ    [8] tryggs jarls: tal jarls R686ˣ, trygði 61;    háit: so J2ˣ, 325VI, 73aˣ, 78aˣ, 68, 75c, 325V, 325VII, Bb, Flat, Tóm, hátt Kˣ, papp18ˣ, er hátt Holm2, ‘og hartz’ R686ˣ, hátt at 61;    snarla: bygðum 61

Editions: Skj AI, 226-7, Skj BI, 215, Skald I, 112, NN §§1111, 1853A, 2394, 2807B; Hkr 1893-1901, II, 24, IV, 112-13, ÍF 27, 23-4, Hkr 1991, I, 265 (ÓHHkr ch. 17); ÓH 1941, I, 48 (ch. 24), Flat 1860-8, II, 21; Fell 1981b, 119, Jón Skaptason 1983, 63, 225.

Context: Óláfr heads west to Gríslupollar where he defeats some vikings outside a place called Viljálmsbœr.

Notes: [3, 4] ungr þollr ‘young fir-tree [warrior]’: Þollr is a half-kenning, rare at this period, lacking a determinant such as a term for treasure, battle or weapons that would normally combine with a tree-heiti to form a man-kenning (see Meissner 271 for examples with þollr). The variant hrings in place of ungr would give a full kenning þollr hrings ‘fir-tree of the ring/sword [WARRIOR]’, but it is found in only three A-class ÓH mss, and would produce a full rhyme in an odd line (though there are parallels, e.g. in st. 10/5).  — [3] þingi ‘assembly’: This is doubtless the same event as styr ‘battle’ (l. 2). — [4] Gríslupolli ‘Gríslupollr’: The place has been identified with Castropol in Asturias, on the north coast of Spain (Johnsen 1916, 16). The frequent variants in Gísl- must be influenced by the frequency of ON personal names with this element. The second element appears to be either dat. sg. polli or dat. pl. pollum ‘pool(s)’; the pl. form is used in the preceding prose in Hkr and ÓH. Polli in papp18ˣ may suggest that its exemplar K had a dat. sg. form like some other mss, and that is chosen here. The variant polla in would be acc. pl., implying a different understanding of the syntax. — [5] frák þat víg … at víttu ‘I have heard that that battle … destroyed’: (a) This is taken here, as in Skald and ÍF 27, as an acc. with past inf. construction, lit. ‘(I heard) that battle to have destroyed’. That the inf. is preceded by at is unusual, though Kock (NN §1111) claims eddic parallels. (b) Finnur Jónsson (Hkr 1893-1901; Skj B) emends to 3rd sg. pret. indic. vítti ‘destroyed’, presumably in order to avoid the problem of at, but he seems to interpret the resulting construction differently in the two eds. — [5] víttu ‘destroyed’: The verb víta normally means ‘to impose a fine or other penalty’ (Fritzner: víta 1). The variant veittu ‘granted’ in several mss does not fit the sense or syntax, since veita governs the dat. case. — [6] bœ Viljalms ‘the town of Viljálmr’: Snorri interprets this as a p. n. (see Context above) and Fell (1981b) has suggested that this is ‘a corruption’ of the p. n. Villameá in Galicia, some 30 kilometres up the Río Eo from Castropol, and that the otherwise unknown ruler of the place has been extrapolated from its name. The place names in the Spanish section of the poem are all uncertain. — [7] tala minnst es telja þat ‘it is the least of lists to enumerate that’: Sigvatr presumably means not that the king’s achievements are few, but that (re)counting them is an easy task.


  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. NN = Kock, Ernst Albin. 1923-44. Notationes Norrœnæ: Anteckningar till Edda och skaldediktning. Lunds Universitets årsskrift new ser. 1. 28 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. Fell, Christine E. 1981b. ‘Víkingarvísur’. In Dronke et al. 1981, 106-22.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. ÍF 26-8 = Heimskringla. Ed. Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson. 1941-51.
  11. Hkr 1893-1901 = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1893-1901. Heimskringla: Nóregs konunga sǫgur af Snorri Sturluson. 4 vols. SUGNL 23. Copenhagen: Møller.
  12. Hkr 1991 = Bergljót S. Kristjánsdóttir et al., eds. 1991. Heimskringla. 3 vols. Reykjavík: Mál og menning.
  13. 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.
  14. Johnsen, Oscar Albert. 1916. Olav Haraldssons ungdom indtil slaget ved Nesjar. Kristiania [Oslo]: Dybwad.
  15. Internal references
  16. Kari Ellen Gade 2009, ‘Heimskringla (Hkr)’ 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 [check printed volume for citation].
  17. Diana Whaley 2012, ‘The Separate Saga of S. Óláfr / Óláfs saga helga in sérstaka (ÓH)’ 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, pp. clxxvi-clxxix.
  18. Not published: do not cite (ÓHHkrI)

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