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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, 255

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

6 — Glúmr Gráf 6I

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Alison Finlay (ed.) 2012, ‘Glúmr Geirason, Gráfeldardrápa 6’ 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. 255.

Austr rauð jǫfra þrýstir
orðrakkr fyr bý norðan
brand, þars bjarmskar kindir,
brinnanda, sák rinna.
Gótt hlaut gumna sættir
(geirveðr) í fǫr þeiri
(ǫðlingi fekksk ungum)
orð (á Vínu borði).

{Orðrakkr þrýstir jǫfra} rauð brinnanda brand austr fyr norðan bý, þars sák bjarmskar kindir rinna. {Sættir gumna} hlaut gótt orð í þeiri fǫr; {geirveðr} fekksk ungum ǫðlingi á borði Vínu.

{The word-bold crusher of princes} [KING = Haraldr] reddened the flashing sword in the east, north of the settlement, where I saw Permian people flee. {The reconciler of men} [KING = Haraldr] gained a good reputation on that expedition; {a spear-storm} [BATTLE] was granted to the young prince on the banks of the Dvina.

Mss: (117r-v), F(20va), J1ˣ(71r), J2ˣ(67v-68r), 325VIII 1(2va) (ll. 1-3) (Hkr); 61(8ra), 53(5va), 54(1ra), Bb(10va) (ÓT)

Readings: [1] rauð: réð 61, 54, Bb    [3] þars (‘þar er’): þar J1ˣ, ‘[…]’ 325VIII 1;    bjarmskar: ‘[…]’ 325VIII 1, bjarma 53, 54, Bb;    kindir: ‘[…]’ 325VIII 1    [4] brinnanda: brinnandi J1ˣ;    sák (‘sa ec’): lét J1ˣ, 53, 54, lítt Bb    [5] hlaut: laut J1ˣ, 61

Editions: Skj: Glúmr Geirason, 2. Gráfeldardrápa 5: AI, 76, BI, 66-7, Skald I, 41NN §§258, 2739, 2987B; Hkr 1893-1901, I, 248, IV, 69, ÍF 26, 217-18, Hkr 1991, I, 145 (HGráf ch. 14), F 1871, 93-4; Fms 1, 63Fms 12, 33, ÓT 1958-2000, I, 64 (ch. 40).

Context: Haraldr makes a raid on Bjarmaland (Permia), wins a battle on the banks of the Vína (River Dvina) and subsequently plunders the country widely.

Notes: [2] fyr norðan bý ‘north of the settlement’: No source specifies which settlement is intended. ÍF 26 (citing Bugge 1910-12, I, 200) suggests the market town later known as Cholmogóri (Kholmogory), somewhat higher than Arkhangelsk on the Dvina. — [3] bjarmskar kindir ‘Permian people’: The people of Bjarmaland, which was probably located around the southern shores of the White Sea, and the basin of the Northern Dvina River, and is now part of the Arkhangelsk Oblast of Russia. It is mentioned in a number of sources, the earliest being the C9th Old English Orosius, which contains the account of the Norwegian Ohthere (Óttarr) to King Ælfred of his visit to the Beormas (Ross 1981, 15-59; see also Note to ǪrvOdd Lv 9/3VIII (Ǫrv 41)). Hkr (ÍF 27, 229) gives an account of a trading visit in the reign of Óláfr helgi, on which grávǫru ok bjór ok safala ‘grey furs, beaver and sable’ were obtained. Koht (1930-3, 24) suggests that Haraldr’s expedition to Bjarmaland had the object of securing trade, and that his nickname gráfeldr ‘Grey-cloak’ may allude to this, though see Hkr (ÍF 26, 211-12) for the traditional explanation. — [3, 4] brinnanda brand ‘the flashing sword’: (a) Brinnanda is taken here to apply to the sword, calling on the common metaphorical association of swords with fire, which indeed is the literal meaning of brandr. It could refer to the brightness of swords, to sparks glancing off weapons (cf. Arn Magndr 13/3II) or to the burning, wounding effect of swords (cf. Eyv Hák 7/1-2; both are cited by Kock, NN §2739). (b) Finnur Jónsson in Skj B reads brinnanda with , hence ‘burning town’, suggesting that the raiders have set the town alight. — [4] sák ‘I saw’: This reading promotes the poet’s claim to have been an eyewitness to Haraldr’s raid, though there is no other evidence for this. The reading lét ‘(he) made (peoples flee)’ in J1ˣ, 53 and 54 is preferred by Fms. — [5-8]: The construal here agrees with Skj B and ÍF 26, since it is more natural to take orð ‘reputation’ (l. 8) as the object of hlaut ‘gained’ (l. 5) than geirveðr ‘spear-storm’, as Kock (NN §258) suggests. It entails assuming that the finite verb fekksk ‘was granted’ is preceded by its subject and indirect object and hence, abnormally, is not in second position in the clause (cf. Kuhn 1983, 195). — [8] á borði Vínu ‘on the banks of the Dvina’: The Northern Dvina River, which flows into the White Sea, is mentioned elsewhere in accounts of visits to Bjarmaland (ÍF 2, 93; ÍF 27, 229).

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