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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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SnSt Ht 57III

Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2017, ‘Snorri Sturluson, Háttatal 57’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 1166.

Snorri SturlusonHáttatal

Hilmir hjálma skúrir
herðir sverði roðnu;
hrjóta hvítir askar;
hrynja brynju spangar.
Hnykkja Hlakkar eldar
harða svarðar landi;
remma rimmu glóðir
randa grand of jarli.

Hilmir herðir {skúrir hjálma} roðnu sverði; hvítir askar hrjóta; spangar brynju hrynja. {Eldar Hlakkar} hnykkja harða {landi svarðar}; {glóðir rimmu} remma {grand randa} of jarli.

The ruler strengthens {showers of helmets} [BATTLES] with the reddened sword; white ash-spears soar; the thin plates of the byrnie jingle. {Fires of Hlǫkk <valkyrie>} [SWORDS] tug forcefully {at the land of the scalp} [HEAD]; {embers of battle} [SWORDS] intensify {the injury of shields} [BATTLE] around the jarl.

Mss: R(50r), Tˣ(52v), W(147) (SnE)

Readings: [3] hrjóta hvítir: hvítir hrjóta Tˣ

Editions: Skj AII, 67, Skj BII, 77, Skald II, 43; SnE 1848-87, I, 670-1, III, 125, SnE 1879-81, I, 9, 80, II, 22, SnE 1931, 239, SnE 2007, 25; Konráð Gíslason 1895-7, I, 34-5.

Context: The dróttkvætt variant is called Fleins háttr ‘Fleinn’s verse-form’, presumably after the Norwegian poet Fleinn Hjǫrsson (c. 800?) mentioned in Landnámabók (ÍF 1, 339) and in Skáldatal (SnE 1848-87, III, 270). In all lines, the internal rhymes fall in positions 1 and 3, thus creating a regularised trochaic rhythm.

Notes: [All]: The heading in : 49. For this variant, see Kuhn (1983, 89-90). — [3] askar ‘ash-spears’: See Note to st. 9/6. — [4] hrynja ‘jingle’: Could also be translated as ‘fall’. The base meaning of hrynja is ‘fall, tumble down’, but this sense could be expanded to include the idea of something tumbling down and making a noise. — [4] spangar brynju ‘the thin plates of the byrnie’: According to Falk (1914b, 179), byrnies made from metal plates rather than from interlocking metal rings were not in use in Scandinavia until the late C12th. — [8] grand randa ‘the injury of shields [BATTLE]’: This is a regular kenning for ‘sword’ and an odd battle-kenning, but the latter is demanded by the context.


  1. Bibliography
  2. SnE 1848-87 = Snorri Sturluson. 1848-87. Edda Snorra Sturlusonar: Edda Snorronis Sturlaei. Ed. Jón Sigurðsson et al. 3 vols. Copenhagen: Legatum Arnamagnaeanum. Rpt. Osnabrück: Zeller, 1966.
  3. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  4. ÍF 1 (parts 1 and 2) = Íslendingabók; Landnámabók. Ed. Jakob Benediktsson. 1968. Rpt. as one volume 1986.
  5. Kuhn, Hans (1899). 1983. Das Dróttkvætt. Heidelberg: Winter.
  6. Falk, Hjalmar. 1914b. Altnordische Waffenkunde. Videnskapsselskapets skrifter, II. Hist.-filos. kl. 1914, 6. Kristiania (Oslo): Dybwad.
  7. SnE 1931 = Snorri Sturluson. 1931. Edda Snorra Sturlusonar. Ed. Finnur Jónsson. Copenhagen: Gyldendal.
  8. Konráð Gíslason. 1895-7. Efterladte skrifter. 2 vols. I: Forelæsninger over oldnordiske skjaldekvad. II: Forelæsninger og videnskablige afhandlinger. Copenhagen: Gyldendal.
  9. SnE 2007 = Snorri Sturluson. 2007. Edda: Háttatal. Ed. Anthony Faulkes. 2nd edn. University College London: Viking Society for Northern Research.
  10. SnE 1879-81 = Möbius, Theodor, ed. 1879-81. Hattatal Snorra Sturlusonar. 2 vols. Halle an de Saale: Verlag der Buchhandlung des Waisenhauses.
  11. Internal references
  12. (forthcoming), ‘ Anonymous, Landnámabók’ in Guðrún Nordal (ed.), Poetry on Icelandic History. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 4. Turnhout: Brepols, p. . <> (accessed 22 September 2021)
  13. Not published: do not cite ()

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