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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Þjóð Yt 20I

Edith Marold (ed.) 2012, ‘Þjóðólfr ór Hvini, Ynglingatal 20’ 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. 44.

Þjóðólfr ór HviniYnglingatal

Ok Ingjald
ífjǫrvan trað
reyks rausuðr
á Ræningi,
þás húsþjófr
hyrjar leistum
í gǫgnum sté.
Ok sá yrðr
allri þjóðu
með Svíum þótti,
es hann sjalfr
sínu fjǫrvi
frœknu fyrstr
of fara skyldi.

Ok {rausuðr reyks} trað Ingjald ífjǫrvan á Ræningi, þás {húsþjófr} sté leistum hyrjar í gǫgnum goðkynning. Ok með Svíum þótti sá yrðr sanngǫrvastr allri þjóðu, es hann sjalfr fyrstr skyldi frœknu of fara fjǫrvi sínu.

And {the gusher of smoke} [FIRE] overcame Ingjaldr alive in Ræningr when {the house-thief} [FIRE] strode with soles of fire through the descendant of gods. And among the Swedes that fate seemed the most just to all people that he himself should be the first, valiantly, to end his life.

Mss: (38v), papp18ˣ(10r), 521ˣ(47-48), F(6va), J1ˣ(18v), J2ˣ(21v), R685ˣ(20v) (Hkr); 761aˣ(61r-v)

Readings: [4] Ræningi: reiningi F, R685ˣ    [6] hyrjar: hyrja 521ˣ;    leistum: listum J1ˣ, J2ˣ, R685ˣ    [7] ‑kynning: so J1ˣ, J2ˣ, R685ˣ, ‑konung Kˣ, 521ˣ, F, 761aˣ, ‑kong papp18ˣ    [8] sté: stóð F    [11] sanngǫrvastr: so J1ˣ, J2ˣ, R685ˣ, ‘siællgætastr’ Kˣ, papp18ˣ, 521ˣ, 761aˣ, sanngerastr F    [13] es (‘er’): enn 521ˣ, F    [15] frœknu: freknu J1ˣ, J2ˣ, R685ˣ    [16] skyldi: vildi F, J1ˣ, J2ˣ, ‘uilldis’ R685ˣ

Editions: Skj AI, 13, Skj BI, 12, Skald I, 8, FF §51, NN §§78, 1007B, 1009A Anm., 3201-2, ; Hkr 1893-1901, I, 73, IV, 20-1, ÍF 26, 71-2, Hkr 1991, I, 41-2 (Yng ch. 40), F 1871, 28; Yng 1912, 47, 67, Yng 2000, 59-60; Yt 1914, 13-14, Yt 1925, 206, 242-4.

Context: Ingjaldr inn illráði ‘the Wicked’, son of Ǫnundr, having won a sizeable kingdom, is threatened by Ívarr inn víðfaðmi ‘the Wide-embracer’, who has invaded Sweden. Because Ingjaldr sees no way to resist him successfully, he decides to commit suicide together with his daughter Ása, also in illráða ‘the Wicked’. They make sure their entourage are completely drunk, then set fire to the hall, killing themselves and everyone inside.

Notes: [1] Ingjald ‘Ingjaldr’: Ingjaldr, with his nickname inn illráði ‘the Wicked’, is mentioned in the historical works Íslb (ÍF 1, 27) and Þáttr af Upplendinga konungum (Hb 1892-6, 456), as well as in fornaldarsögur such as Hervarar saga ok Heiðreks (FSGJ 2, 67) and Þorsteins saga Víkingssonar (FSGJ 3, 20). — [2] ífjǫrvan ‘alive’: This is the only instance of the adj. ífjǫrr. The prefix í- can convey an intensifying as well as a diminishing sense (Fritzner: í-). Here, however, í in its original sense ‘in’ is compounded with fjǫr ‘life’ to form the adj. í-fjǫrr ‘alive’, much as íendr ‘living, breathing’ (< *in-and-jaz) is a cpd of í- ‘in’ and ǫnd ‘breath’ (Fritzner: íendr). — [2] trað ‘overcame’: Lit. ‘trod upon’, anticipating the metaphor of fire striding in ll. 5-8. — [3] rausuðr reyks ‘the gusher of smoke [FIRE]’: The ms. readings ‘rꜹsuðr’ or ‘rausuðr’ allow of two interpretations: (a) Finnur Jónsson (Hkr 1893-1901; Yng 1912; Skj B; LP: rǫsuðr), Kock (Skald) and ÍF 26 choose rǫsuðr, translated mostly as ‘that which / the one who / he who rolls forward with smoke’. However, the verb rasa, from which rǫsuðr derives, is intransitive, so reyks could not be its gen. object and would have to express an accompanying circumstance instead (Hkr 1893-1901, IV), and rasa ‘stumble, fall’ (Fritzner: rasa) is semantically a poor match for ‘fire’. (b) This difficulty leads Wadstein (1895a, 72-3), followed by others, to adduce the ModNorw. dialectal verb rausa ‘plunge, pour, tip’ to help explain the word. The verb is transitive and results in an interpretation such as ‘that which pours forth smoke’, hence rausuðr ‘gusher’ in the translation above. — [4] Ræningi ‘Ræningr’: An exact match for this p. n. is not found in Sweden. Only inexact correspondences are given: (a) Rällinge on the peninsula Fogdön on Lake Mälaren (S. Lindqvist 1921, 84; Yt 1925); (b) Ræwngæ, attested in a charter from the year 1311 (Storm 1899, 112; Yt 1925); and (c) Rauning in the runic inscription from Aspa, Run Sö Fv1948:289VI; see Sundqvist (2005a, 95 n. 38), who reconstructs a p. n. *Røning in Södermanland on the basis of the names of the Swedish district Rönö and the municipality Runtuna. — [5] húsþjófr ‘the house-thief [FIRE]’: Cf. st. 4/5-6 meinþjófr markar ‘the harmful thief of the forest [FIRE]’. — [6] leistum hyrjar ‘with soles of fire’: The OIcel. and ModIcel. meaning of leistr is certainly ‘socks’ and is the basis of the translations in ÍF 26 and Hkr 1991. Most interpreters, however, assume a supposedly older meaning ‘foot, track’, cf. Goth. laists, OHG leist, OE lāst ‘track, footstep, trace’ (Konráð Gíslason 1881, 237; Hkr 1893-1901, IV; Skj B). Noreen (1912a, 9; 1912b, 132) and Kock (NN §78) translate this as ‘with white-hot steps’. — [7] goðkynning ‘the descendant of gods’: The reading of the J transcripts is adopted here, as by Konráð Gíslason (1881, 238-42) and subsequent eds. It is presumed to derive from an adj. goðkunnr ‘descended from gods’ by means of the common suffix ‑ing, cf. e.g. spekingr ‘wise one’ from spakr ‘wise’. The cpd goðkonungr in the K transcripts appears to be a corruption of this unique word. — [9] yrðr ‘fate’: The umlauted form yrðr, rather than the more common urðr, is selected here, since it is found in mss J1ˣ, J2ˣ and F, i.e. in both branches of the Hkr stemma, and must be seen as a lectio difficilior. In most translations urðr/yrðr is rendered as ‘death’, but as Kock (FF §51) notes, this is not justified in light of the usage of this word and its cognates in OIcel., OE, OHG and OS. — [11] sanngǫrvastr ‘the most just’: Here too the reading of mss J1ˣ, J2ˣ and F is selected (and so Yt 1925; Åkerlund 1939, 108; Yng 1952, 73). ON sannr means not only ‘true’ but also ‘just, fitting, right’ (Fritzner: sannr adj. 3), hence the cpd sanngǫrr means ‘fairly, justly done’. That Ingjaldr may have been felt to deserve his appalling death is suggested by his nickname illráði ‘the Wicked’, and by the tradition reported in Yng (ÍF 26, 71) that he killed twelve kings in breach of a truce. — [12] með Svíum ‘among the Swedes’: Interpreters have disagreed on the syntactic status of this. It has been viewed as (a) a parallel to allri þjóðu ‘to all people’ (NN §3201; FF §51; Åkerlund 1939, 109); (b) a phrase modifying yrðr (Hkr 1893-1901, IV; Skj B); or (c) a phrase modifying sanngǫrvastr ‘the most just’ (ÍF 26). (d) However, in the overall sentence structure yrðr ‘fate’ is the subject required by þótti ‘seemed’, and allri þjóðu ‘to all people’ is the dat. required by it. In this context með Svíum ‘among the Swedes’ is most likely to be an adv. phrase with scope over the whole sentence rather than over any particular part. — [15] fyrstr ... frœknu ‘the first, valiantly’: Several interpretations have been suggested for this line. (a) Frœknu is taken here as an adverbial use of the n. dat. sg. adj. (so also NN §3202, ÍF 26 and Hkr 1991). (b) Frœknu has been viewed as an attributive adj. qualifying fjǫrvi, hence ‘courageous life’ (Säve 1854, 61; Hkr 1893-1901, IV; Skj B; Yt 1925; NN §1009A Anm.). However, this creates an enjambment from l. 14 to l. 15, leading to a split in l. 15 and thereby to a breach in the style of Yt (Åkerlund 1939, 109-10). (c) Because of this, Wadstein (1895a, 73-4) takes frœknu to be the dat. of an unattested noun frœkna ‘bravery’ and links it to fyrstr, hence ‘first in bravery’. Lindquist (1929, 69), Åkerlund (1939, 109-10) and Wessén (Yng 1952, 73) concur. But such a use of fyrstr is unattested; the word denotes only spatial or temporal sequence (cf. Fritzner: fyrri). — [15] fyrstr ‘the first’: The meaning of fyrstr is elusive. Säve (1854, 61) and Hkr 1893-1901, IV interpret it as ‘first among the Ynglingar’, Skj B as ‘first among the host’ (cf. Yt 1925) and NN §3202, ÍF 26 and Hkr 1991 as ‘first’ in the sense of ‘voluntarily’. On the connection of fyrstr and frœknu, see the Note to l. 15 (fyrstr ... frœknu). — [16] skyldi ‘should’: The J transcripts and F read vildi ‘would, wanted to’, while skyldi appears only in . For this reason Noreen (1912b, 132; Yt 1925) and Hkr 1991 select vildi. But the choice of skyldi is justified, because the form occurs repeatedly throughout Yt.


  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. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. ÍF 1 (parts 1 and 2) = Íslendingabók; Landnámabók. Ed. Jakob Benediktsson. 1968. Rpt. as one volume 1986.
  8. ÍF 26-8 = Heimskringla. Ed. Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson. 1941-51.
  9. Hkr 1893-1901 = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1893-1901. Heimskringla: Nóregs konunga sǫgur af Snorri Sturluson. 4 vols. SUGNL 23. Copenhagen: Møller.
  10. Hkr 1991 = Bergljót S. Kristjánsdóttir et al., eds. 1991. Heimskringla. 3 vols. Reykjavík: Mál og menning.
  11. F 1871 = Unger, C. R., ed. 1871. Fríssbók: Codex Frisianus. En samling af norske konge-sagaer. Christiania (Oslo): Malling.
  12. FSGJ = Guðni Jónsson, ed. 1954. Fornaldar sögur norðurlanda. 4 vols. [Reykjavík]: Íslendingasagnaútgáfan.
  13. Hb 1892-6 = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1892-6. Hauksbók udgiven efter de Arnamagnæanske håndskrifter no. 371, 544 og 675, 4° samt forskellige papirshåndskrifter. Copenhagen: Det kongelige nordiske oldskrift-selskab.
  14. Lindquist, Ivar. 1929. Norröna lovkväden från 800 och 900 talen. I: Förslag till restituerad täxt jämte översättning. Lund: Gleerup.
  15. Wadstein, Elis. 1895a. ‘Bidrag till tolkning och belysning av skalde- ock Edda-dikter. I. Till tolkningen av Ynglingatal’. ANF 11, 64-92.
  16. FF = Kock, Ernst Albin. 1922. Fornjermansk forskning. Lunds Universitets årsskrift new ser. 1. 18:1. Lund: Gleerup.
  17. Konráð Gíslason. 1881. ‘Nogle bemærkninger angående Ynglingatal’. ÅNOH, 185-251.
  18. 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.
  19. Yt 1914 = Grape, Anders and Birger Nerman, eds. 1914. Ynglingatal I-IV. Meddelanden från Nordiska Seminariet 3. Uppsala: Berling.
  20. Yng 1912 = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1912. Ynglingasaga. Copenhagen: Gad.
  21. Yt 1925 = Noreen, Adolf, ed. 1925. Ynglingatal: Text, översättning och kommentar. Stockholm: Lagerström.
  22. Lindqvist, Sune. 1921. ‘Ynglingaättens gravskick’. Fv 16, 83-194.
  23. Noreen, Adolf. 1912a. ‘Till Ynglingatal’. In Xenia Lideniana: Festskrift tillägnad Prof. Evald Lidén på hans femtioårsdag, den 3 oktober 1912. Stockholm: Norstedt, 1-15.
  24. Noreen, Adolf. 1912b. ‘Forsök till en rekonstruktion af Ynglingatal jämte øfversättning’. In Studier tillägnade Karl Warburg på hans sextioårsdag af vänner och lärjungar. Stockholm: Norstedt, 125-35.
  25. Säve, Carl. 1854. Snorre Sturlesons Ynglinga-Saga öfversatt och förklarad. Uppsala: Leffler.
  26. Storm, Gustav. 1899. ‘Ynglingatal, dets forfatter og forfattelsestid’. ANF 15, 107-41.
  27. Sundqvist, Olof. 2005a. ‘Aspects of Rulership Ideology in Early Scandinavia – with Particular References to the Skaldic Poem Ynglingatal’. In Erkens 2005, 87-124.
  28. Åkerlund, Walter. 1939. Studier över Ynglingatal. Skrifta utgivna av Vetenskaps-Societeten i Lund 23. Lund: Gleerup.
  29. Yng 1952 = Wessén, Elias, ed. 1952. Snorri Sturluson: Ynglingasaga. Stockholm etc.: Svenska bokförlaget etc.
  30. Internal references
  31. 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].
  32. 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.
  33. Not published: do not cite (ÍslbIV)
  34. Not published: do not cite (YngII)
  35. Edith Marold with the assistance of Vivian Busch, Jana Krüger, Ann-Dörte Kyas and Katharina Seidel, translated from German by John Foulks 2012, ‘(Introduction to) Þjóðólfr ór Hvini, Ynglingatal’ 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. 3.
  36. Not published: do not cite (Run VI)
  37. Not published: do not cite (Run Sö Fv1948;289VI)
  38. Not published: do not cite ()

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