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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Þjóð Yt 12I

Edith Marold (ed.) 2012, ‘Þjóðólfr ór Hvini, Ynglingatal 12’ 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. 28.

Þjóðólfr ór HviniYnglingatal

Varð Jǫrundr,
hinns endr of dó,
lífs of lattr
í Limafirði,
þás hábrjóstr
hǫrva Sleipnir
bana Goðlaugs
of bera skyldi.
Ok Hagbarðs
hersa valdi
hǫðnu leif
at halsi gekk.

Jǫrundr, hinns endr of dó, varð of lattr lífs í Limafirði, þás {hábrjóstr Sleipnir hǫrva} skyldi of bera {bana Goðlaugs}. Ok {{leif hǫðnu} Hagbarðs} gekk at halsi {valdi hersa}.

Jǫrundr, the one who died long ago, was deprived of his life in Limfjorden when {the high-breasted Sleipnir <horse> of flax cords} [GALLOWS] had to carry {the slayer of Guðlaugr} [= Jǫrundr]. And {{the remnant of the kid} [LEATHER STRAP] of Hagbarðr <Danish legendary hero>} [NOOSE] went around the neck {of the lord of hersar} [KING].

Mss: (25r-v), papp18ˣ(7r), 521ˣ(27), F(4va), J2ˣ(13v), R685ˣ(14r) (Hkr); 761aˣ(58r-v)

Readings: [3] lattr: latr J2ˣ, R685ˣ    [5] ‑brjóstr: ‘‑biostr’ F    [6] hǫrva: hǫrpu F, ‘hurfa’ J2ˣ, hurfu R685ˣ    [9] ‑barðs: ‑barðr R685ˣ    [10] hersa: ok hersa R685ˣ    [11] hǫðnu: hǫðnum 521ˣ, auðnu F

Editions: Skj AI, 10, Skj BI, 9, Skald I, 6, NN §1012 Anm. 1; Hkr 1893-1901, I, 44, IV, 13-14, ÍF 26, 46-7, Hkr 1991, I, 26-7 (Yng ch. 24), F 1871, 17; Yng 1912, 30, 62, Yng 2000, 34; Yt 1914, 7, Yt 1925, 202, 233.


Jǫrundr and Eiríkr, the sons of Yngvi, encounter Guðlaugr, king of Hálogaland (Hålogaland), while raiding in Denmark. They defeat him in battle and hang him from the gallows at Straumeyrarnes. When Jǫrundr once again invades Denmark, he is confronted by Gýlaugr, son of Guðlaugr, who defeats him with the help of local Danes. He is then hanged also.

Notes: [1, 3] varð of lattr lífs ‘was deprived of his life’: Lattr is taken here as the p. p. of letja ‘dissuade, hinder’ (so also Hkr 1893-1901, Skj B, Skald, ÍF 26 and Åkerlund 1939, 93). Wadstein (1895a, 68-9) and Noreen (Yt 1925) propose interpretations based on látr (‘latr’ in J2ˣ, R685ˣ) as equivalent to látinn, p. p. of láta ‘to let’, and forming the cpd lífslátr ‘life-deprived, dead, slain’, but these are unconvincing. — [5-6] hábrjóstr Sleipnir hǫrva ‘the high-breasted Sleipnir <horse> of flax cords [GALLOWS]’: The base-word of this kenning, Sleipnir, is explained in terms of the idiomatic expression ‘to ride the gallows’, cf. Note to st. 9/10, 11-12. As the determinant, (a) most previous eds also adopt the reading hǫrva ‘of flax cords’ based on , and Finnur Jónsson (Hkr 1893-1901, IV) refers to Egill Hfl 13/7V, where hǫrvar denotes bowstrings. (b) Wadstein (1895a, 68-9), however, followed by Noreen (Yt 1925) prioritizes the reading hurfu (J2ˣ), which he interprets as gen. sg. of *hvarfa according to ANG §77.10. In explanation he refers to Swed. dialectal hurfa, horfa and Norw. korve, kverva ‘withy’, a ring of willow. This is worthy of consideration in light of the fact that it was common to use a withy in hangings (Amira 1913, 241; ‘Hängen’, HDA, 3, 1438-1460). The assumption of Åkerlund (1939, 93) that a scribe had replaced a word unknown to him with hǫrva might also support this. Strangulation with a loop of twisted branches was probably the antecedent of the later practice of hanging with a rope noose (Amira 1922, 95-6). — [7] bana Goðlaugs ‘the slayer of Guðlaugr [= Jǫrundr]’: Guðlaugr belongs to the dynasty of jarls of Hálogaland (Hålogaland) and later of Hlaðir (Lade); whether he was a king as claimed in Yng (see Context) is doubtful. He is the subject of Eyv Hál 4-5, which report that he was hanged by the sons of Yngvi on Straumeyrarnes (or Straumeyjarnes). — [9, 11] leif hǫðnu Hagbarðs ‘the remnant of the kid [LEATHER STRAP] of Hagbarðr <Danish legendary hero> [NOOSE]’: This is one of the few cases where the base-word of a kenning is itself replaced with a kenning (see ‘The diction of skaldic poetry’ in General Introduction). Haðna is the female kid or young goat, whose ‘remnant’ is the leather out of which the strap is produced. Hagbarðr figures in Danish heroic legend as a victim of hanging; cf. Note to st. 9/10, 11-12. Finnur Jónsson (Hkr 1893-1901, IV) seeks to trace this kenning to a forgotten detail of the Hagbarðr legend.


  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. 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.
  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. Wadstein, Elis. 1895a. ‘Bidrag till tolkning och belysning av skalde- ock Edda-dikter. I. Till tolkningen av Ynglingatal’. ANF 11, 64-92.
  11. 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.
  12. Yt 1914 = Grape, Anders and Birger Nerman, eds. 1914. Ynglingatal I-IV. Meddelanden från Nordiska Seminariet 3. Uppsala: Berling.
  13. Yng 1912 = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1912. Ynglingasaga. Copenhagen: Gad.
  14. Yt 1925 = Noreen, Adolf, ed. 1925. Ynglingatal: Text, översättning och kommentar. Stockholm: Lagerström.
  15. Amira, Karl von. 1913. Grundriss des germanischen Rechts. Grundriss der germanischen Philologie 5. 3rd edn. Strasbourg: Karl J. Trubner.
  16. Amira, Karl von. 1922. Die germanischen Todesstrafen: Untersuchungen zur Rechts- und Religionsgeschichte. Abhandlungen der Bayerischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, Philosophisch-Philologische und Historische Kl. 31.3. . München: Verlag der Bayerischen Akademie der Wissenschaften.
  17. HDA = Bächtold-Stäubli, Hanns and Eduard Hoffmann-Krayer, eds. 1927-1942. Handwörterbuch des deutschen Aberglaubens. 10 vols. Berlin and Leipzig: de Gruyter.
  18. Åkerlund, Walter. 1939. Studier över Ynglingatal. Skrifta utgivna av Vetenskaps-Societeten i Lund 23. Lund: Gleerup.
  19. Internal references
  20. Not published: do not cite (YngII)
  21. Not published: do not cite (Egill Hfl 13V (Eg 46))
  22. Russell Poole (ed.) 2012, ‘Eyvindr skáldaspillir Finnsson, Háleygjatal 4’ 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. 202.

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