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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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ǪrvOdd Ævdr 42VIII (Ǫrv 112)

Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.) 2017, ‘Ǫrvar-Odds saga 112 (Ǫrvar-Oddr, Ævidrápa 42)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 920.


Fórum vestan         fengjar vitja,
svá at bragnar mér         bleyði kendu,
unz á Skíðu         skatnar fundu
bræðr bölharða         ok at bana urðu.

Fórum vestan vitja fengjar, svá at bragnar kendu mér bleyði, unz skatnar fundu bölharða bræðr á Skíðu ok urðu at bana.

We travelled from the west in search of booty, so that the warriors charged me with cowardice, until the men came upon evil-hardened brothers on Skien and killed them.

Mss: 343a(81r), 471(95r), 173ˣ(63rb) (Ǫrv)

Readings: [1] Fórum: fóru 173ˣ    [5] unz: undr 173ˣ;    Skíðu: Skíði 471, 173ˣ    [8] ok: om. 173ˣ

Editions: Skj AII, 313, Skj BII, 332-3, Skald II, 178, NN §2608; Ǫrv 1888, 204, FSGJ 2, 353.

Notes: [All]: In the continuous Ævdr according to the younger mss the sequence of events referred to in this stanza is hard to understand. It is necessary to realise that in the saga text Ævdr 38 (Ǫrv 108) is placed immediately before the prose passage that explains why his shipmates accuse Oddr of cowardice. They had been waiting for him at their ships while he had been off in the woods, where Ásmundr had been killed. Ævdr 38 is Oddr’s response to Hjálmarr’s question as to whether he has avenged Ásmundr’s death. Oddr indicates in the stanza that he is overwhelmed by his foster-brother’s death but that he wants to sail away from Ireland immediately, not telling them about his pact with Ǫlvǫr. Because he failed to take vengeance, his shipmates call him a coward, but then seem to be mollified by his acts of further aggression (Ǫrv 1888, 76-9). — [5-8]: This helmingr does not correspond very well to the prose text, which at this point has Oddr and his men travel from the west to the island of Læsø (ON Hlésey) in the Kattegat, as is also mentioned in Ǫrv 45/1-4 (see Notes to [All] and l. 4 there). According to the prose, Oddr’s opponents on Læsø include a jarl called Hergautr (his name is given only in 7), who had thirty ships. After this, according to 7, Oddr’s party sails to Sjælland, where they encounter two brothers, Hólmgeirr and Harðvígr, who are jarls of this region and have a grudge against Oddr, who had previously killed other brothers of theirs, who were berserks (so Ǫrv 1888, 79). Presumably these are the ‘evil-hardened brothers’ of ll. 7-8. — [5] á Skíðu ‘at Skien’: The name of a town and trading post in Telemark, southern Norway. Its location does not accord with the prose text at this point, which has the men active on Læsø and in Danish waters around Sjælland. The same p. n. is also found in Ǫrv 47/2 (see Note there), where the mss have either Skíðu (from Skíða) or Skíði (from Skíð), the latter of which is the Old Norse name for the island of Skye in the Hebrides. As in Ǫrv 47, Skj B and Skald prefer the Skíði reading, although it is difficult to fit with the prose text.


  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. FSGJ = Guðni Jónsson, ed. 1954. Fornaldar sögur norðurlanda. 4 vols. [Reykjavík]: Íslendingasagnaútgáfan.
  6. Ǫrv 1888 = Boer, R. C., ed. 1888. Ǫrvar-Odds saga. Leiden: Brill.
  7. Internal references
  8. Not published: do not cite (ǪrvOdd ÆvdrVIII (Ǫrv))
  9. Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.) 2017, ‘Ǫrvar-Odds saga 108 (Ǫrvar-Oddr, Ævidrápa 38)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 917.
  10. Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.) 2017, ‘Ǫrvar-Odds saga 45 (Ǫrvar-Oddr, Lausavísur 12)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 858.
  11. Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.) 2017, ‘Ǫrvar-Odds saga 47 (Ǫrvar-Oddr, Lausavísur 14)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 860.

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