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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

1. 37. Sigvatr Þórðarson, 7. Flokkr about Erlingr Skjálgsson, 6 [Vol. 1, 637]

[1-4]: Sigvatr here portrays the king as causing (olli) Erlingr’s death through his victory (með gagni), but the extent to which blame is apportioned is unclear. Kock (NN §641) suggests taking með gagni to mean ‘to his advantage’ and construing it with Erlingr fell ‘Erlingr fell’, the advantage to Erlingr in his death being the glory he had won. This would have the effect of deflecting the focus from the king, but seems less plausible in the context. In Snorri’s prose account (ÍF 27, 317-18) Óláfr gives Erlingr a token wound for his treason, but when Áslákr Fitjaskalli intervenes to deal Erlingr his death-blow Óláfr cries out that he has struck Norway out of his hands (see also Note to st. 7/7-8).

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