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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Eyvindr skáldaspillir Finnsson (Eyv)

10th century; volume 1; ed. Russell Poole;

1. Hákonarmál (Hák) - 21

Skj info: Eyvindr Finnsson skáldaspillir, Norsk skjald, 10. årh. (d. omkr. 990). (AI, 64-74, BI, 57-65).

Skj poems:
1. Hákonarmál
2. Háleygjatal
3. Lausavísur

Eyvindr (Eyv, c. 915-990) has been called the last important Norwegian skald (Genzmer 1920, 159; also Boyer 1990a, 201). He is listed in Skáldatal (SnE 1848-87, III, 253, 256, 261, 265-6) among the poets of Hákon góði ‘the Good’ Haraldsson and Hákon jarl Sigurðarson. His maternal grandmother was a daughter of Haraldr hárfagri ‘Fair-hair’, and he seems to have been close to Haraldr’s son Hákon góði from early on, serving at his court as one of a group of brilliant skalds. After Hákon’s death he resided at the court of Haraldr gráfeldr ‘Grey-cloak’, but relations with Haraldr seem to have soured quickly, as evidenced by his lausavísur. Eyvindr spent the last part of his life with the powerful Hákon jarl Sigurðarson of Hlaðir (Lade), whose family had supported Hákon góði against the sons of Eiríkr blóðøx ‘Blood-axe’. According to Hkr (ÍF 26, 221), in addition to Háleygjatal (Hál), Hákonarmál (Hák) and the lausavísur, Eyvindr composed a poem Íslendingadrápa, but this has not come down to us. The epithet skáldaspillir is usually interpreted to mean ‘Plagiarist’, literally ‘Destroyer (or Despoiler?) of Poets’ in reference to his habit of drawing inspiration from and alluding to earlier compositions, specifically Ynglingatal (Þjóð Yt) for Hál and Eiríksmál (Anon Eirm), along with several eddic poems, for Hák (see Introductions to Hál and Hák). The alternative interpretation ‘Poem-reciter’ proposed by Wadstein (1895a, 88) is unconvincing; see further Olsen (1962a, 28), and Beck (1994a). For further biographical information, see LH I, 447-9, Holm-Olsen (1953) and Marold (1993a).

Hákonarmál (‘Words about Hákon’) — Eyv HákI

R. D. Fulk 2012, ‘(Introduction to) Eyvindr skáldaspillir Finnsson, Hákonarmál’ 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. 171.

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Skj: Eyvindr Finnsson skáldaspillir: 1. Hákonarmál, 961 (AI, 64-8, BI, 57-60)

SkP info: I, 174

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

1 — Eyv Hák 1I

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: R. D. Fulk (ed.) 2012, ‘Eyvindr skáldaspillir Finnsson, Hákonarmál 1’ 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. 174.

Gǫndul ok Skǫgul
sendi Gautatýr
at kjósa of konunga,
hverr Yngva ættar
skyldi með Óðni fara
ok í Valhǫll vesa.


{The god of the Gautar} [= Óðinn] sent Gǫndul and Skǫgul to choose among kings, which of the kin of Yngvi should go with Óðinn and live in Valhǫll.


In Hkr, the poem is presented at the close of HákGóð after a description of Hákon’s obsequies. In Fsk, the prose that precedes the first three stanzas describes how before the battle of Fitjar the king donned his war-gear and drew up his forces. In SnE, Snorri quotes this stanza in a collection of stanzas illustrating references to Óðinn (mostly kennings).

notes: Fsk introduces sts 1-3, sem Eyvindr segir í kvæði því, er hann orti eptir fall Hákonar, ok setti hann þat eptir því sem Gunnhildr hafði látit yrkja um Eirík sem Óðinn byði hónum heim til Valhallar, ok segir hann marga atburði í kvæðinu frá orrostunni, ok hefr svá ‘as Eyvindr says in the poem that he composed after Hákon’s fall, and he modelled it after the one that Gunnhildr had had composed about Eiríkr, as if Óðinn were inviting him home to Valhǫll, and in the poem he narrates many events from the battle, and it begins thus’. — [1] Gǫndul ok Skǫgul ‘Gǫndul and Skǫgul’: These are two of the valkyrjur (etymologically ‘choosers of the slain’), female beings associated with Óðinn who, as here, determine the outcome of battles, selecting warriors slain in battle for Valhǫll, the hall of the slain. The valkyries’ warrior equipment is described in st. 12. Gǫndul and Skǫgul (Geir-Skǫgul in st. 12/2) are named in Vsp 30, and Skǫgul is among thirteen valkyries named in Grí 36. On valkyries in Scandinavian mythology, see further Ström (1954, 70-9); Andersen (1993); Simek (1993, 349); Zimmermann (2007); Quinn (forthcoming).

texts: Fsk 39, HákGóð 27, Skm 7, Hkr 96, SnE 9

editions: Skj Eyvindr Finnsson skáldaspillir: 1. Hákonarmál 1 (AI, 64; BI, 57);

Skald I, 35; Hkr 1893-1901, I, 219, IV, 59, ÍF 26, 193, Hkr 1991, I, 124 (HákGóð ch. 31/32), F 1871, 84; Fsk 1902-3, 38-9 (ch. 11), ÍF 29, 86 (ch. 12); SnE 1848-87, I, 234-5, II, 303, 518, SnE 1931, 89, SnE 1998, I, 8; Möbius 1860, 232, Jón Helgason 1968, 25, Krause 1990, 36-9.


AM 35 folx (Kx) 105r - 105v, 5 (Hkr)  transcr.  image  image  
AM 45 fol (F) 18va, 18 - 18va, 19 (Hkr)  transcr.  image  image  image  image  
AM 37 folx (J1x) 63v, 15 - 63v, 17 (Hkr)  transcr.  image  
AM 38 folx (J2x) 60r, 8 - 60r, 13 (Hkr)  transcr.  image  
OsloUB 371 folx (FskBx) 9v, 20 - 9v, 23 (Fsk)  transcr.  image  
AM 51 folx (51x) 8r, 29 - 8r, 32 (Fsk)  transcr.  image  
AM 302 4°x (302x) 13r, 26 - 13v, 3 (Fsk)  transcr.  
AM 303 4°x (FskAx) 49, 11 - 49, 16 (Fsk)  transcr.  image  
AM 52 folx (52x) 19v, 13 - 19v, 18 (Fsk)  transcr.  image  
AM 301 4°x (301x) 18r, 5 - 18r, 8 (Fsk)  transcr.  image  
GKS 2367 4° (R) 20v, 31 - 20v, 33 (SnE)  transcr.  image  image  image  
Traj 1374x (Tx) 21r, 32 - 21r, 33 (SnE)  transcr.  image  
AM 242 fol (W) 45, 10 - 45, 11 (SnE)  transcr.  image  image  image  
DG 11 (U) 26r, 19 - 26r, 21 (SnE)  transcr.  image  
AM 757 a 4° (B) 4r, 7 - 4r, 8 (SnE)  transcr.  image  image  image  image  
AM 761 b 4°x (761bx) 95v, 1 - 95v, 6 (Hák)  transcr.  image  
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