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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

7. Anonymous Poems, Heilagra manna drápa, 25 [Vol. 7, 889-90]

[All]: Sts 25-6 commemorate Maurice (Mauritius) of Agaunum (Saint-Maurice en Valais, Switzerland) and his companions. According to legend, a Roman legion of Christian soldiers from Egypt, the Theban legion, under the command of Maurice, was serving in Gaul (ON Valland), when it mutinied at Agaunum, because its members had been ordered to take part in heathen sacrifices. This act of disobedience led to their martyrdom. Two Icel. versions of Mauritius saga exist, one in a C13th fragment, the other in a ms. from c. 1400 (Unger 1877, I, 643-58; Widding, Bekker-Nielsen and Shook 1963, 325; Foote 1962, 28). Maurice was co-patron of the church at Bær in Borgarfjörður (Cormack 1994, 132). The location of Maurice’s place of martyrdom, on the pilgrimage route to Rome, is noted in Abbot Nikulás’s Leiðarvísir (Lat. Itinerarium ‘travel guide’) recorded in AM 194 8° (1387), I, 15, ll. 4-7.


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