Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Eskál Vell 13I/1 — Sjau ‘seven’

Sjau fylkjum kom silkis
(snúnaðr vas þat) brúna
geymir grundar síma
grandvarr und sik (landi).

Grandvarr geymir síma silkis grundar brúna kom sjau fylkjum und sik; þat vas snúnaðr landi.

The damage-wary keeper of the silken band of the land of the brows [HEAD > HEADBAND > RULER] brought seven fylki under himself; that was a change for the better for the land.


[1] sjau fylkjum ‘seven fylki’: The term fylki denotes a community under the law centred around a þing ‘assembly’, and applies by extension to the geographical area under a particular jurisdiction. Information on which seven fylki might be meant here can be gleaned from reports on the rule of Hákon jarl. Eyv Hál 12/2 indicates that Hákon’s rule extended to settlements of the Egðir, the people of Agðir (Agder). This would include the following seven fylki, excluding Þrœndalǫg (Trøndelag), Hákon’s native region: Raumsdalr (Romsdalen), Norðmœrr (Nordmøre) and Sunnmœrr (Sunnmøre), the three peripheral districts that later combined with Þrœndalǫg to form the Frostuþingslǫg, plus Rogaland, Hǫrðaland (Hordaland), Sogn and Firðafylki (Fjordane), the four districts of Gulaþingslǫg (see Indrebø 1931, 43-4). These are also the same fylki given to Hákon by the Danish king Haraldr blátǫnn according to Hkr (ÍF 26, 240). However, the present stanza of Vell portrays this as an autonomous expansion on the part of Hákon.



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