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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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ǪrvOdd Lv 23VIII (Ǫrv 56)

Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.) 2017, ‘Ǫrvar-Odds saga 56 (Ǫrvar-Oddr, Lausavísur 23)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 870.


Hefi ek á Saxa         ok á Svía herjat,
Frísi ok Frakka         ok á Flæmingja,
Íra ok Engla         ok endr Skota;
þeim hefi ek öllum         óþarfr verit.

Ek hefi herjat á Saxa ok á Svía, Frísi ok Frakka ok á Flæmingja, Íra ok Engla ok endr Skota; ek hefi verit óþarfr öllum þeim.

I have harried upon the Saxons and the Swedes, the Frisians and the Franks and upon the Flemings, the Irish and the English and formerly the Scots; I have been harmful to them all.

Mss: 7(55r), 344a(22r), 343a(77v), 471(89r), 173ˣ(54r) (Ǫrv)

Readings: [1] á: om. 344a, 471, 173ˣ    [3] Frísi ok Frakka: fúss á Frakka 344a, Íra ok á Engla 343a, Íra ok Engla 471, 173ˣ    [4] ok á Flæmingja: ok Flæmingja 344a, ok endr Skota 343a, 471, ok hendr Skota 173ˣ    [5] Íra ok Engla: Íra Engla 344a, Frísa ok Frakka 343a, 471, 173ˣ    [6] ok endr Skota: ‘eirnen’ Skota with ‘eirnen’ written above the line in a later hand 344a, ok á Flæmingja 343a, ok Flæmingja 471, 173ˣ

Editions: Skj AII, 302, Skj BII, 321, Skald II, 171; Ǫrv 1888, 166-7, Ǫrv 1892, 84, FSGJ 2, 319-20; Edd. Min. 70.

Context: As for Ǫrv 53.

Notes: [All]: Most of the peoples listed in this stanza are mentioned in various episodes of the prose Ǫrv, though not always centrally nor in all mss: the Irish, English and Scots (ll. 5-6) appear in several of the saga’s early chapters; however, no mention is made in the prose text of the Saxar ‘Saxons’; the Svíar ‘Swedes’ and their territory Svíþjóð are mentioned quite frequently, particularly in the episode of the battle on Sámsey and its aftermath; the Frísir ‘Frisians’ are never mentioned in Ǫrv, nor are the Frakkar ‘Franks’, although Frakkland ‘France’ is named once in 344a (Ǫrv 1888, 112) and again in the younger mss (Ǫrv 1888, 130) as a country Oddr visited. Flæmingjaland ‘Flanders’ is only mentioned in 344a (Ǫrv 1888, 100) and in 471 in conjunction with a mention of Frakkland (Ǫrv 1888, 113 n.). Lines 3-4, and perhaps the stanza as a whole, reflect a version of the saga not represented in the prose text of 7 and only marginally in 344a, and depend on an amplification of the number of peoples Oddr visited, which is realised in the prose of the younger mss (Ǫrv 1888, 130); cf. the following passage in an episode only in the younger mss: Lágu þeir mǫrg sumur í hernaði ok herjuðu um Svíþjóð, Saxland, Frakkland ok Flæmingjaland … ‘They spent many summers raiding and harried all over Sweden, Saxony, France and Flanders …’. The younger mss (343a, 471 and 173ˣ) reverse the order of ll. 3-4 and 5-6. — [8] óþarfr ‘harmful’: The meaning of óþarfr is lit. ‘useless’, but the adj. often has the connotation of ‘unhelpful’ and even ‘harmful’ (cf. Þskúm Lv 1/10I), which is how it appears to have been used here.


  1. Bibliography
  2. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  3. FSGJ = Guðni Jónsson, ed. 1954. Fornaldar sögur norðurlanda. 4 vols. [Reykjavík]: Íslendingasagnaútgáfan.
  4. Edd. Min. = Heusler, Andreas and Wilhelm Ranisch, eds. 1903. Eddica Minora: Dichtungen eddischer Art aus den Fornaldarsögur und anderen Prosawerken. Dortmund: Ruhfus. Rpt. Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft.
  5. Ǫrv 1888 = Boer, R. C., ed. 1888. Ǫrvar-Odds saga. Leiden: Brill.
  6. Ǫrv 1892 = Boer, R. C., ed. 1892a. Ǫrvar-Odds saga. Altnordische Saga-Bibliothek 2. Halle: Niemayer.
  7. Internal references
  8. 2017, ‘(Introduction to) Anonymous, Ǫrvar-Odds saga’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 804.
  9. Diana Whaley (ed.) 2012, ‘Þorleifr skúma Þorkelsson, Lausavísa 1’ 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. 360.
  10. Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.) 2017, ‘Ǫrvar-Odds saga 53 (Ǫrvar-Oddr, Lausavísur 20)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 867.

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