Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Þhorn Harkv 16I

R. D. Fulk (ed.) 2012, ‘Þorbjǫrn hornklofi, Haraldskvæði (Hrafnsmál) 16’ 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. 110.

Þorbjǫrn hornklofiHaraldskvæði (Hrafnsmál)

‘Mjǫk eru reifðir         rógbirtingar,
þeir es í Haralds túni         húnum verpa.
* Féi eru þeir gœddir         ok fǫgrum mætum,
malmi húnlenzkum         ok mani austrœnu.

‘{Rógbirtingar} eru mjǫk reifðir, þeir es verpa húnum í túni Haralds. Þeir eru gœddir * féi ok fǫgrum mætum, húnlenzkum malmi ok austrœnu mani.

‘{Strife-displayers} [WARRIORS] are greatly enriched, those who cast dice at Haraldr’s court. They are endowed with valuables and handsome treasures, with Hunnish metal and an eastern bondwoman.

Mss: 51ˣ(2v), FskBˣ(3r), 302ˣ(4v), FskAˣ(8-9), 52ˣ(4r), 301ˣ(3v) (Fsk)

Readings: [1] reifðir: reyfðir 51ˣ, FskBˣ, 302ˣ, FskAˣ, 52ˣ    [5] * Féi: í fé 51ˣ, FskBˣ, 302ˣ, ‘IIfe’ or ‘Ufe’ FskAˣ, 301ˣ, ‘Ufe’ 52ˣ;    þeir gœddir: so FskAˣ, 52ˣ, 301ˣ, þess beðnir 51ˣ, FskBˣ, 302ˣ    [6] mætum: so 301ˣ, ‘mæcom’ corrected from ‘mætom’ 51ˣ, 302ˣ, FskAˣ, ‘mæcom’ FskBˣ, 52ˣ

Editions: Skj AI, 27, Skj BI, 24, Skald I, 15; Fsk 1902-3, 9, ÍF 29, 62 (ch. 2); Möbius 1860, 230, Jón Helgason 1946, 137-8, Jón Helgason 1968, 19. 

Context: As for st. 15.

Notes: [All]: The raven replies. — [3-4]: A similar picture is part of the golden age of the gods portrayed in Vsp 8/1 (NK 2): teflðo í túni ‘they played board-games in the enclosure/meadow’. — [4] húnum ‘dice’: The word refers to gaming pieces, such as those in the game called tafl or hnefatafl or else (in later contexts) in chess: on these see Note to Rv Lv 1/1II. In the present context, the verb verpa ‘cast’ may more specifically suggest dice. Húnn seems to have the meaning ‘die, dice’ as the solution to one of Gestumblindi’s riddles in Hervarar saga ok Heiðreks (Gestumbl Heiðr 26VIII (Heiðr 73)). — [5] * féi ‘with valuables’: The dat. ending -i is required here by the metre, but the later monosyllabic form seems to have replaced it in transmission, with a prep. added to compensate. In the FskA transcripts this prep. appears as a heavy mark that may be ‘II’ or ‘U’, perhaps a corruption of Ii (= Í). — [6] mætum ‘treasures’: (a) This, the reading of 301ˣ (and 51ˣ, 302ˣ, FskAˣ, though altered there to ‘mæcom’) fits the context better and is supported by Árni Magnússon’s transcript in 761aˣ. (b) Möbius (1860), Fsk 1902-3 and Skj B read mækum ‘swords’, in agreement with most of the transcripts of Fsk. Skald prints mækjum, the more correct form (Jón Helgason 1968, 19). — [7] húnlenzkum malmi ‘with Hunnish metal’: This is the only skaldic instance of the adj. (LP: húnlenzkr). It may refer to the area of modern Hungary, but eddic references to the Húnar or Húnaland relate to the people and land of Attila the Hun (d. 454), legendary enemy of the Burgundian Nibelung dynasty. For discussion of the possible identification of Húnaland with Saxland, see Beck (1994c). Malmr ‘metal’ could refer to precious metal or weaponry (see LP: malmr). — [8] austrœnu ‘eastern’: Perhaps here from the Baltic or Slavonic territories (ONP: austrœnn I. 3) or from eastern Scandinavia.


  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. 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.
  5. NK = Neckel, Gustav and Hans Kuhn (1899), eds. 1983. Edda: Die Lieder des Codex Regius nebst verwandten Denkmälern. 2 vols. I: Text. 5th edn. Heidelberg: Winter.
  6. ONP = Degnbol, Helle et al., eds. 1989-. A Dictionary of Old Norse Prose / Ordbog over det norrøne prosasprog. 1-. Copenhagen: The Arnamagnæan Commission.
  7. Fsk 1902-3 = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1902-3. Fagrskinna: Nóregs kononga tal. SUGNL 30. Copenhagen: Møller.
  8. ÍF 29 = Ágrip af Nóregskonunga sǫgum; Fagrskinna—Nóregs konungatal. Ed. Bjarni Einarsson. 1985.
  9. Möbius, Theodor. 1860. Edda Sæmundar hins fróða. Mit einem Anhang bisher ungedruckter Gedichte. Leipzig: Hinrichs.
  10. Jón Helgason, ed. 1968. Skjaldevers. 3rd edn. Copenhagen: Munksgaard.
  11. Jón Helgason. 1946. ‘Haraldskvæði’. Tímarit Máls og menningar, 131-46.
  12. Beck, Heinrich. 1994c. ‘Saxland = Húnaland?’. In Keller et al. 1994, 519-28.
  13. Internal references
  14. 2017, ‘(Introduction to) Anonymous, Hervarar saga ok Heiðreks’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 367.
  15. Diana Whaley 2012, ‘Fagrskinna (Fsk)’ 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. clix-clxi.
  16. Hannah Burrows (ed.) 2017, ‘Hervarar saga ok Heiðreks 73 (Gestumblindi, Heiðreks gátur 26)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 440.
  17. Not published: do not cite ()
  18. Judith Jesch (ed.) 2009, ‘Rǫgnvaldr jarl Kali Kolsson, Lausavísur 1’ 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. 576-7.

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