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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Þjóð Yt 10I

Edith Marold (ed.) 2012, ‘Þjóðólfr ór Hvini, Ynglingatal 10’ 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. 25.

Þjóðólfr ór HviniYnglingatal

Fell Alrekr,
þars Eireki
bróður vôpn
at bana urðu.
Ok hnakkmars
með hǫfuðfetlum
Dags fríendr
of drepask kvôðu.
Fráat maðr áðr
eykja greiði
Freys afspring
í folk hafa.

Alrekr fell, þars vôpn bróður urðu Eireki at bana. Ok kvôðu {fríendr Dags} of drepask með hǫfuðfetlum hnakkmars. Maðr fráat áðr {afspring Freys} hafa greiði eykja í folk.

Alrekr fell where the weapons of his brother became the slayer of Eiríkr. And [people] said that {the kinsmen of Dagr} [= Swedish kings] killed one another with the bridle of the saddle-horse. No one has heard before {of an offspring of Freyr} [= Swedish king] using riding gear in battle.

Mss: (22r), papp18ˣ(6r), 521ˣ(22), F(3vb), J2ˣ(11v), R685ˣ(12v) (Hkr); 761aˣ(57v-58r)

Readings: [3] vôpn: ‘varn’ J2ˣ, R685ˣ    [4] urðu: yrðu R685ˣ    [6] með: om. F, J2ˣ, R685ˣ;    hǫfuð‑: ‘hafum‑’ J2ˣ, hafit‑ R685ˣ    [7] fríendr: frændr Kˣ, papp18ˣ, 521ˣ, F, 761aˣ, ‘frendr’ J2ˣ, R685ˣ    [8] of: om. R685ˣ    [9] Fráat: ‘fermat’ F    [10] greiði: so J2ˣ, gǫrvi Kˣ, papp18ˣ, 521ˣ, 761aˣ, gerði F, greiðr R685ˣ    [11] Freys: ‘freyrs’ F    [12] folk: ‘fo[...]’ J2ˣ, folki R685ˣ;    hafa: ‘[...]’ J2ˣ

Editions: Skj AI, 9, Skj BI, 9, Skald I, 6; Hkr 1893-1901, I, 37, IV, 11, ÍF 26, 40, Hkr 1991, I, 22 (Yng ch. 20), F 1871, 14; Yng 1912, 26, 60-1, Yng 2000, 27; Yt 1914, 6, Yt 1925, 200, 228-30.

Context: Alrekr and his brother Eiríkr, sons of Agni, are described as excellent riders who strive to outdo one another. One day the two are found dead from head wounds. Because they have no weapons other than their horses’ bridles, it is assumed that they killed each other with them.

Notes: [1] Alrekr: The pers. n. Alrīkʀ is attested several times in Swedish runic inscriptions (Peterson 2007, 21), so it is unlikely that the king was named after the Visigoth king Alarich (d. 410), as Nerman (1919, 147-8) assumes. The brothers, kings Alrekr and Eiríkr, are also mentioned by Saxo (Saxo 2005, I, 5, 10, 1-2, pp. 343-4), who reports that the Swedish king Alricus was killed in a duel by an Eiricus disertus ‘the Eloquent’. Eiricus survived and assumed the kingship. This corresponds to Gautreks saga (FSGJ 4, 34), which specifies that Alrekr was killed with a beisl ‘bridle’. — [5] hnakkmars ‘of the saddle-horse’: The word indicates a riding horse. In ON the word hnakkr meaning ‘saddle’ is not attested (cf. Konráð Gíslason 1881, 220), but it is found in ModIcel. (Sigfús Blöndal 1920-4: hnakkur). — [6] með hǫfuðfetlum ‘with the bridle’: Lit. ‘with head-straps’. This is the only attestation of the cpd. In this context it must mean the entire bridle, not only the leather straps, since it serves the brothers as a deadly weapon (cf. Hkr 1893-1901, IV). ÍF 26 omits the með attested in . — [7] fríendr ‘the kinsmen’: In the mss, the line Dags frændr has only two syllables, so older forms have been used by eds: fríandr (Konráð Gíslason 1881, 218; Hkr 1893-1901) or fríendr (Skj B and later eds including the present one; see also ANG §422). — [10] greiði eykja ‘riding gear’: Lit. ‘tack of draught animals’. The J2ˣ reading greiði ‘harnesses’ (cf. New Norw. n. pl. greie ‘gear, tackle’; and cf. Konráð Gíslason 1881, 220) is preferred here as more specialized than gǫrvi ‘equipment’ in . Greiði also finds some support in the F reading gerði. On the various older interpretations of greiði eykja, see Konráð Gíslason (1881, 218-19).


  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. ANG = Noreen, Adolf. 1923. Altnordische Grammatik I: Altisländische und altnorwegische Grammatik (Laut- und Flexionslehre) unter Berücksichtigung des Urnordischen. 4th edn. Halle: Niemeyer. 1st edn. 1884. 5th unrev. edn. 1970. Tübingen: Niemeyer.
  5. Sigfús Blöndal. 1920-4. Islandsk-dansk ordbog / Íslensk-dönsk orðabók. Reykjavík, Copenhagen and Kristiania (Oslo): Verslun Þórarins B. Þorlákssonar / Aschehoug.
  6. ÍF 26-8 = Heimskringla. Ed. Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson. 1941-51.
  7. Hkr 1893-1901 = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1893-1901. Heimskringla: Nóregs konunga sǫgur af Snorri Sturluson. 4 vols. SUGNL 23. Copenhagen: Møller.
  8. Hkr 1991 = Bergljót S. Kristjánsdóttir et al., eds. 1991. Heimskringla. 3 vols. Reykjavík: Mál og menning.
  9. F 1871 = Unger, C. R., ed. 1871. Fríssbók: Codex Frisianus. En samling af norske konge-sagaer. Christiania (Oslo): Malling.
  10. FSGJ = Guðni Jónsson, ed. 1954. Fornaldar sögur norðurlanda. 4 vols. [Reykjavík]: Íslendingasagnaútgáfan.
  11. Saxo 2005 = Friis-Jensen, Karsten, ed. 2005. Saxo Grammaticus: Gesta Danorum / Danmarkshistorien. Trans. Peter Zeeberg. 2 vols. Copenhagen: Det danske sprog- og litteraturselskab & Gads forlag.
  12. Konráð Gíslason. 1881. ‘Nogle bemærkninger angående Ynglingatal’. ÅNOH, 185-251.
  13. Yng 2000 = Jørgensen, Jon Gunnar, ed. 2000b. Ynglinga saga etter Kringla (AM 35 fol). Series of Dissertations submitted to the Faculty of Arts, University of Oslo 80. Oslo: Unipub forlag.
  14. Yt 1914 = Grape, Anders and Birger Nerman, eds. 1914. Ynglingatal I-IV. Meddelanden från Nordiska Seminariet 3. Uppsala: Berling.
  15. Yng 1912 = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1912. Ynglingasaga. Copenhagen: Gad.
  16. Yt 1925 = Noreen, Adolf, ed. 1925. Ynglingatal: Text, översättning och kommentar. Stockholm: Lagerström.
  17. Nerman, Birger. 1919. ‘Kung Agne och hans död på Agnefit’. Fv 14, 143-69.
  18. Peterson, Lena. 2007. Nordiskt runnamnslexikon. 5th edn. Uppsala: Institutet för språk och folkminnen.
  19. Internal references
  20. 2017, ‘(Introduction to) Anonymous, Gautreks saga’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 241.
  21. Not published: do not cite (YngII)

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