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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Glúmr Geirason (Glúmr)

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

2. Gráfeldardrápa (Gráf) - 15

Skj info: Glúmr Geirason, Islandsk skjald omkr. 950-75. (AI, 75-8, BI, 65-8).

Skj poems:
1. Kvad om Erik blodøkse
2. Gráfeldardrápa
3. Lausavísa

Glúmr Geirason (Glúmr) was the son of Geiri (patronymic unknown), a Norwegian who settled in Iceland. Glúmr was born there in the early tenth century and moved with his father and brother from Mývatn, via Húnavatn, to Króksfjörður, Breiðafjörður, because of some killings (Ldn, ÍF 1, 284; he is also mentioned in ÍF 1, 154, 161, 238 and appears in Reykdœla saga, ÍF 10, 204-12). He married Ingunn Þórólfsdóttir, and their son was Þórðr Ingunnarson, who features in Laxdœla saga (ÍF 5, 86-7). Glúmr is named in Skáldatal (SnE 1848-87, III, 253, 261, 273, 274) as the poet of Eiríkr blóðøx ‘Blood-axe’ (d. c. 954) and Haraldr gráfeldr ‘Grey-cloak’ (d. c. 970), and poems for both survive in part. Considerably more of Gráfeldardrápa (Gráf) survives than of the Poem about Eiríkr blóðøx (EirIII), though there is some difficulty in assigning certain stanzas to one or other poem (see Introduction to Gráf). Glúmr is the subject of HaukrV Ísldr 11IV, which depicts him as a zealous fighter who was with Haraldr gráfeldr at his victory at Fitjar (c. 961). Glúmr’s presence at the battle is somewhat in doubt, however, since although the Fsk text of his lausavísa on the subject (Glúmr Lv) contains sák ‘I saw’, the Hkr and ÓT mss have frák ‘I have heard’. From Glúmr Gráf it is clear that Glúmr outlived Haraldr (see Introduction). Edited below are Gráf and Lv, while the fragment of Eir is edited in SkP III since it is preserved only in SnE and TGT.

Gráfeldardrápa (‘Drápa about (Haraldr) gráfeldr ‘Grey-cloak’’) — Glúmr GráfI

Alison Finlay 2012, ‘(Introduction to) Glúmr Geirason, Gráfeldardrápa’ 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. 245.

 1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11   12   13   14   15 

Skj: Glúmr Geirason: 2. Gráfeldardrápa, c 970 (AI, 75-8, BI, 66-8); stanzas (if different): 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14

SkP info: I, 263

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

13 — Glúmr Gráf 13I

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Alison Finlay (ed.) 2012, ‘Glúmr Geirason, Gráfeldardrápa 13’ 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. 263.

Þar vas — þrafna byrjar
þeim stýrðu goð Beima —
sjalfr í sœkialfi
sigtýr Atals dýra.


There {the victory-god} [= Óðinn] himself was in {the attacking elf {of the animals of Atall <sea-king>}}; [SHIPS > SEA-WARRIOR = Haraldr] the gods guided {that Beimi <sea-king> {of the stave of the fair wind}}. [SHIP > SEA-WARRIOR = Haraldr]

context: The stanza occurs in a list in SnE (Skm) exemplifying heiti and kennings for Óðinn.

notes: The conception of Óðinn inhabiting the warrior is unique (LH I, 526), and leads Fidjestøl (1982, 91) to doubt whether the stanza belongs in a poem about Haraldr, who was nominally Christian, Eiríkr and all his family having been baptised in England, according to Hkr (ÍF 26, 152, 203). Some support for the idea of Haraldr as a devotee of Óðinn may be found in the unique occurrence of the god’s name as the base-word of a kenning in st. 8/2. Further possibilities are that Haraldr is perceived as having an Odinic ferocity in battle, or (Marold 2005a, 127-8) that the reference is to Óðinn possessing not Haraldr, but the one who deals him his death-blow. This would resonate with legends in which Óðinn presides over the death of a hero he has favoured, often claiming him as a sacrifice, but it would imply that the warrior guided by the gods (l. 2) was also Haraldr’s enemy, which seems unlikely in the light of the parallels from Eskál Vell mentioned below. — [3, 4] sœkialfi dýra Atals ‘the attacking elf of the animals of Atall <sea-king> [SHIPS > SEA-WARRIOR = Haraldr]’: The addition of the verbal element sœki- ‘attacking’ to the kenning alfr dýra Atals [SHIPS > SEAFARER] defines the referent as a warrior. For further examples of expressions for ‘sea-warrior’ claimed by Kock, see NN §1021.

texts: Skm 6, SnE 8

editions: Skj Glúmr Geirason: 2. Gráfeldardrápa 12 (AI, 78; BI, 68); Skald I, 42SnE 1848-87, I, 234-5, II, 303, SnE 1931, 89SnE 1998, I, 7, 156.


GKS 2367 4° (R) 20v, 29 - 20v, 30 (SnE)  transcr.  image  image  image  
Traj 1374x (Tx) 21r, 31 - 21r, 32 (SnE)  image  
AM 242 fol (W) 45, 9 - 45, 10 (SnE)  image  image  image  
DG 11 (U) 26r, 18 - 26r, 19 (SnE)  image  
AM 757 a 4° (B) 4r, 6 - 4r, 7 (SnE)  image  image  image  image  
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