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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Sigv ErfÓl 2I/8 — gísla ‘hostages’

Upplǫnd fekk til enda
ôss gneista ok þar reisti
kristnihald, þats heldu
hverr veitir sverðs beita.
Áðr stýrðu þeim eyðar
ellifu fyrr hella
mildings máls, en guldu
menn vísliga gísla.

Ôss gneista fekk Upplǫnd til enda, ok reisti þar kristnihald, þats hverr veitir beita sverðs heldu. Ellifu eyðar máls mildings hella stýrðu þeim áðr fyrr, en menn guldu gísla vísliga.

The god of the sword [WARRIOR = Óláfr Haraldsson] got the whole of Opplandene, and established Christianity there, which each benefactor of the swingers of the sword [WARRIORS > GENEROUS MAN] maintained. Eleven destroyers of the speech of the lord of the cave [GIANT > GOLD > GENEROUS MEN] ruled it [Opplandene] previously, but men wisely gave hostages.


[7-8] en menn guldu gísla vísliga ‘but men wisely gave hostages’: The Context (above) mentions the taking of distinguished hostages, though it explains neither the circumstances of this nor the reasons for it. The circumstances may be those referred to in ÓHLeg (1982, 72), in which Óláfr captures eleven kings and gives them the option of living or dying. Some choose to submit to him, others are blinded and exiled, but there is no mention of hostages.



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