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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Þskakk Erldr 2II

Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2009, ‘Þorbjǫrn skakkaskáld, Erlingsdrápa 2’ 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, p. 634.

Þorbjǫrn skakkaskáldErlingsdrápa

Greitt frák, gumna dróttinn,
(Gríðar fáks) í víðu
(trauðr esa tenn at rjóða)
Túnsbergi þér snúna.
Hræddusk bjartra brodda
býjarmenn við rennu;
uggðu eld ok sveigðan
alm dynviðir malma.

{Dróttinn gumna}, frák snúna þér greitt í víðu Túnsbergi; esa trauðr at rjóða tenn {fáks Gríðar}. Býjarmenn hræddusk við rennu bjartra brodda; {{malma dyn}viðir} uggðu eld ok sveigðan alm.

{Lord of men} [= Erlingr], I heard it turned out smoothly for you in spacious Tønsberg; you are not reluctant to redden the teeth {of Gríðr’s <troll-woman’s> steed} [WOLF]. The townspeople were terrified by the rush of bright arrow-points; {the trees {of the clash of weapons}} [(lit. ‘clash-trees of weapons’) BATTLE > WARRIORS] feared the fire and the bent elm-bow.

Mss: (693v-694r), F(78vb), E(64v), J2ˣ(372r-v), 42ˣ(59v-60r) (Hkr); H(133r), Hr(86vb) (H-Hr)

Readings: [2] fáks: ‘fags’ J2ˣ, 42ˣ, ‘fars’ H, Hr    [3] tenn: tennr H, Hr    [4] þér: þar Hr    [5] Hræddusk: hræddisk E, hví hræddusk J2ˣ, 42ˣ;    bjartra: bjarta Hr    [6] býjar‑: ‘bæjar‑’ E, J2ˣ, 42ˣ, H, Hr    [7] sveigðan: so E, J2ˣ, 42ˣ, H, Hr, sveigðir Kˣ, sveigðu F    [8] dynviðir: so E, H, Hr, dynju þér Kˣ, F, dynjaðir J2ˣ, ‘dymoðir’ 42ˣ

Editions: Skj AI, 534-5, Skj BI, 515, Skald I, 252, NN §§964, 993, 2990H, 3197D; ÍF 28, 377-8 (MErl ch. 3), F 1871, 363, E 1916, 227; Fms 7, 284 (Hherð ch. 23).

Context: The st. documents the battle of Tønsberg (Vestfold, Norway) between Erlingr skakki and King Hákon herðibreiðr ‘Broad-shoulder’ Sigurðarson in 1161.

Notes: [All]: The same event is described in Anon (MErl). — [2, 4] í víðu Túnsbergi ‘in spacious Tønsberg’: Town in Vestfold, south-eastern Norway. — [3] esa ‘is not’: This is technically 3rd pers. sg. pres. indic. (plus the negation -a) of the verb vesa ‘be’. ANG (§532, Anm. 1) notes occurrences of es used in 2nd pers. sg., but that form is rare and archaic. An alternative would be to take dróttinn gumna ‘lord of men’ as the subject of esa (so Skj B), but that would leave the first cl. without a vocative referent for the form þér ‘for you’, which is highly irregular (see NN §993). — [7] uggðu eld ‘feared the fire’: When approaching Tønsberg from the sea, Erlingr and his men loaded a boat with straw and wood and set fire to this cargo. The boat drifted toward the harbour, and Erlingr and his troops, obscured by the smoke, rowed after it and came within shooting distance of Hákon’s forces which were marshalled on the pier. The people of Tønsberg feared that the burning ship would set fire to the town.


  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. Fms = Sveinbjörn Egilsson et al., eds. 1825-37. Fornmanna sögur eptir gömlum handritum útgefnar að tilhlutun hins norræna fornfræða fèlags. 12 vols. Copenhagen: Popp.
  4. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  5. NN = Kock, Ernst Albin. 1923-44. Notationes Norrœnæ: Anteckningar till Edda och skaldediktning. Lunds Universitets årsskrift new ser. 1. 28 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  6. 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.
  7. ÍF 26-8 = Heimskringla. Ed. Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson. 1941-51.
  8. F 1871 = Unger, C. R., ed. 1871. Fríssbók: Codex Frisianus. En samling af norske konge-sagaer. Christiania (Oslo): Malling.
  9. E 1916 = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1916. Eirspennill: AM 47 fol. Nóregs konunga sǫgur: Magnús góði – Hákon gamli. Kristiania (Oslo): Den norske historiske kildeskriftskommission.
  10. Internal references
  11. Not published: do not cite (MErlII)
  12. Kari Ellen Gade 2009, ‘(Introduction to) Anonymous, Lausavísa from Magnúss saga Erlingssonar’ 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. 840-1.

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