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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Vígfúss Víga-Glúmsson (Vígf)

10th century; volume 1; ed. Diana Whaley;

1. Poem about Hákon jarl(?) (Hák) - 1

Skj info: Vígfúss Víga-Glúmsson, Islænder, 10-11. årh. (AI, 120-1, BI, 115).

Skj poems:
[1]. Digt om Hakon jarl(?)
[2]. Lausavísa

Vígfúss (Vígf) was born c. 955, according to the chronology of Víga-Glúms saga, the saga of his father Víga-Glúmr ‘Slayings-Glúmr’ Eyjólfsson, in which Vígfúss also features prominently. Physically and temperamentally robust, he travelled abroad on merchant voyages and then became a trusted retainer of the jarls of Hlaðir (Lade), Hákon and Eiríkr. Back in Iceland, he spent six years in outlawry after avenging his foster-father on Bárðr, brother of Brúsi skáld, then appears to have returned to the service of the jarls, fighting bravely in the battles of Hjǫrungavágr (Liavågen, c. 985) and Svǫlðr (c. 1000), before settling back in Iceland (see further LH I, 541-2 for his biography). He is named in the U text of Skáldatal (SnE 1848-87, III, 256) as a poet of Hákon jarl, and the first stanza below (Vígf Hák) may belong to a composition about him. That and the lausavísa that follows are the only extant poetry credited to Vígfúss (though see Introduction to Þskúm Lv). Olsen (1956; 1962, 51-2), noting resemblances to Eskál Vell 1 both in Vígf Lv and in the dróttkvætt lines on the Karlevi stone (Run Öl1/7VI) and envisaging a similar historical context, suggested Vígfúss as the Karlevi poet, but this is not generally accepted.

Poem about Hákon jarl(?) — Vígf HákI

Diana Whaley 2012, ‘(Introduction to) Vígfúss Víga-Glúmsson, Poem about Hákon jarl(?)’ 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. 362.

 1 

Skj: Vígfúss Víga-Glúmsson: [1]. Digt om Hakon jarl(?), o. 986. (AI, 120, BI, 115); stanzas (if different): [v]

in texts: Fsk, Jvs

SkP info: I, 362

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance references search files

 

This stanza (Vígf Hák) consists of past-tense general description of a battle, which the reference to Vagn (Ákason) identifies as the famous sea-battle at Hjǫrungavágr (Liavågen, c. 985). It is tentatively assumed here to be a fragment of an extended poem in praise of Hákon jarl Sigurðarson (see Biography of Vígfúss above; for Hákon, the battle of Hjǫrungavágr and other skaldic poetry associated with it, see ‘Ruler biographies’ in Introduction to this volume). This is suggested in SnE 1848-87, III, 707-8 and Skj, and the introductory words in Fsk (see Context) would also be compatible with that view. On the other hand, as Fidjestøl (1982, 165) notes, the case for the stanza belonging to a praise-poem is less strong if l. 5 reads nom. pl. þrøngvar ‘forcers’ (see Note), and the 510 ms. of Jvs imagines the stanza being uttered as a lausavísa, although it can hardly have been composed in the midst of the action as claimed (see Context). The stanza is preserved in Fsk (FskBˣ being used here as the main ms., together with FskAˣ as the best representative of the other branch of the stemma) and in Jvs (510 only).

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