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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Sigvatr Þórðarson (Sigv)

11th century; volume 1; ed. Judith Jesch;

3. Austrfararvísur (Austv) - 21

Skj info: Sigvatr Þórðarson, Islandsk skjald, o. 995-o. 1045 (AI, 223-75, BI, 213-54).

Skj poems:
1. Víkingarvísur
2. Nesjavísur
3. Austrfararvísur
4. En drape om kong Olaf
5. Vestrfararvísur
6. Et kvad om Erlingr Skjalgsson
7. Flokkr om Erlingr Skjalgsson
8. Tryggvaflokkr
9. Et digt om dronning Astrid
10. Knútsdrápa
11. Bersǫglisvísur
12. Erfidrápa Óláfs helga
13. Lausavísur
14. Et par halvvers af ubestemmelige digte

Sigvatr or Sighvatr Þórðarson (Sigv) is said (ÍF 27, 54) to have been the son of Þórðr Sigvaldaskáld ‘Poet of Sigvaldi’, an Icelander who served, in succession, Sigvaldi jarl Strút-Haraldsson, leader of the Jómsvíkingar, his brother Þorkell inn hávi ‘the Tall’, who campaigned in England, and Óláfr Haraldsson, later king of Norway (r. c. 1015-30) and saint. Þórðr is listed as one of Sigvaldi’s skalds in Skáldatal (SnE 1848-87, III, 259, 268), but none of his poetry survives. The family tradition of poetry can also be traced in Óttarr svarti ‘the Black’, said to have been Sigvatr’s sister’s son (ÍF 27, 144; ÓH 1941, I, 203). Sigvatr was brought up by a certain Þorkell, at Apavatn in south-west Iceland. When nearly fully grown he sailed to what is now Trondheim, where he met up with his father and joined King Óláfr’s retinue. According to Snorri (ÍF 27, 54-6; ÓH 1941, I, 81-3), Sigvatr recited Lv 2-3 at this time, and he interceded with the king on behalf of Icelandic merchants forced to pay a heavy tax in Norway (cf. Sigv Lv 4). It is also likely that this is when Þórðr provided Sigvatr with the material for Víkv (see Introduction to Sigv Víkv), which may be the poem referred to in the prose introduction to Sigv Lv 2 (Fidjestøl 1982, 118). There is no evidence that Sigvatr ever returned to Iceland, and according to the anecdote in which Sigv Lv 11 is preserved, he died on the island of Selja in north-western Norway and was buried at Kristskirkja (Kristkirken) in Trondheim. His poetry records his various journeys to Sweden, England and the Continent, as well as incidents in Norway. We know nothing of Sigvatr’s private life, except that he had a daughter called Tófa, who had King Óláfr himself as her godfather (Sigv Lv 19).

Sigvatr’s surviving poetic oeuvre is both large and remarkably diverse, encompassing different kinds of encomia not only on King Óláfr (Sigv Víkv, Sigv Nesv, Sigv Óldr, Sigv ErfÓl), but also on King Knútr of Denmark (Sigv Knútdr) and the Norwegian nobleman Erlingr Skjálgsson (Sigv Erl, Sigv Erlfl). Sigvatr was godfather to King Magnús inn góði ‘the Good’ Óláfsson and composed some avuncular words of advice to the boy-king (Sigv BervII). All of these patrons are recognised in Skáldatal (SnE 1848-87, III, 252-4, 258, 260-2, 269), where Sigvatr is also credited with having composed for the Swedish king Ǫnundr Óláfsson (although no such poetry survives, cf. Sigv Knútdr 4/6) and the Norwegian chieftain Ívarr inn hvíti ‘the White’ (cf. Context to Sigv Lv 8). Sigvatr also composed a poem on the Norwegian pretender Tryggvi Óláfsson (Sigv Tryggfl) and is unique in having composed in dróttkvætt in praise of a woman, Óláfr Haraldsson’s widow Ástríðr Óláfsdóttir (Sigv Ást). Several of Sigvatr’s poems are more or less loosely connected sequences of stanzas rather than more formal compositions, and encompass both travelogue (Sigv Austv) and political commentary (Sigv Vestv, Sigv BervII). The latter genre is also well represented in his lausavísur, which also include some remarkably personal stanzas expressing his grief at the death of King Óláfr (Sigv Lv 22-4). Sigvatr’s status as a hǫfuðskáld ‘chief skald’ was recognised in the twelfth century (cf. Esk Geisl 12/8VII). His versatility as a poet has clearly inspired a number of anecdotes focusing on the composition of poetry, mostly of doubtful authenticity (cf. Contexts to Sigv Lv 1, 8, 11, 27; also Introduction to Ótt Hfl). Apart from two fragments preserved in SnE (Sigv Frag 1-2III), Sigvatr’s poetry is transmitted in a wide range of texts within the tradition of the kings’ sagas and is therefore edited in this volume or (in the case of the late Sigv Berv) in SkP II. For general studies of Sigvatr’s life and works, see Paasche (1917), Hollander (1940) and Petersen (1946).

Austrfararvísur (‘Verses on a Journey to the East’) — Sigv AustvI

R. D. Fulk 2012, ‘(Introduction to) Sigvatr Þórðarson, Austrfararvísur’ 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. 578.

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Skj: Sigvatr Þórðarson: 3. Austrfararvísur, 1019 (AI, 233-40, BI, 220-5)

SkP info: I, 592

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

6 — Sigv Austv 6I

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Note: The following transcriptions have been entered to aid the editing process. These may not have been fully reviewed and checked and may therefore not be reliable. You may wish to consult the manuscript images. Any corrections can be notified to the database editor.

 Holm2 Nv | hafa hnect þeir er hnacca heinflets v mer settv þeygi bella þollar þrir samnafnar tiri . Þo siamc hitt | at hløðir hafsciðs myni siþan ut hverr er avlfir heitir allz mest reca gesti   [RDF]  edit 
 R686x Nu hafa hnek[…] | þeir er hnakka, heinfletz uid mer sættu, þeygi bella þollar, | þre samnafnar tiri, þo siamk hitt at holl hlǫdir, haf | skid muni sidan, ut huerr er avlyer, heitr allz mest reka | gestri .   [RDF]  edit 
 972x Nu hafa hnekt ther er | nacka heinflets vider mer setu | teigi bella tollar theri sannafner | tiri. Tho siamc hitt at hlodir haf | skidz my̋ni sid ut hver er Aulfr | heiter alls mest reka gesti. |   [VEÞ]  edit 
 972x Nu hafa hneckt þeir er hnacka | hein=flets vit mier setto | þeigi bella þollar | þrir sam-nafnar tijri: | þo siamk hitt at hlædir | haf-skyds muni sidla | ut huer er Aulver heitir | als mest reka gesti. |   [VEÞ]  edit 
 325VI Nv hafa hnekt þeir er hnacka . heínfletz | … mer settv . þeygi bella þollar . þrir | sannafnar tírí . þo siamdz hítt at hlæ | dir . hafskids muni siðan . vt hverr alvir | heitir . allz mest reka gesti .   [RDF]  edit 
 75a Nu hafa hnet þeir er hnaa . hei | nflez uiðr mer settu . þeygi be | lla þollar . þeír samiafnir fleíri . þo | se ek hitt at hløðir . hafskiðs | muni siðan . ut huerr er aulfir | heitir allz mest reka gesti .   [RDF]  edit 
 321x Nu hafa hnekkt þeir er hnakka . heinflez uı̈dur mer settu . þeyge bella | þollar . þeir samjafnir fleyri . þo se ek hitt at hlø᷎diz hafskids muni sidan | ut huert er aulfir heitir allz mest reka gesti .   [VEÞ]  edit 
 73ax Nu hafa hneckt þeir er hnacka | hæín flettz við mer settu . | þæygi bella þollar | þrír samnafnar tírí : | nu seek hítt at hlæíðir | hafskiðs muní siðan . | vt huerr er o᷎luerr hæitir | allz mest ʀeka gestí . |   [RDF]  edit 
 68 Nv hafa hnect þeir er hnacka heinfletz v mer setto þeygi bella þollar þeir | samnafnar eiri  þo siamz hit at hlæþir hafskiþs muni siþan vt huerʀ er avlvir heitir allz mest | reka gesti .   [RDF]  edit 
 61 Nv hafa hnekt þeir er hnacka . heinfletz u mer settu . þeygi bella þollar . þrír | samnafnar tiri . þo seamz hítt at hlæði . haf skiðs muni siþan vt huerr er | o᷎luir heitir . allz mest reka gesti .   [RDF]  edit 
 Holm4 Nu hafa hneckt þeir erhnac | ka heinflettz v mer settu þeygi bella þollar | ííí. samnafnar tire . þo seamz hitt at hlé | ðir hafskiðs mune siðan . ut hverr er eluír | heitír allz mest reka geste .   [RDF]  edit 
 325VII Nu hafa hn[…] | þeir er hnaa heínflætz við mer settu . þæygi bęlla þollar . iii . samnafnar tiri . þo siaamk hit at hløðer | hafskiþs møni siðan ut huerʀ er ꜵlvir heitir allz mæst reka gesti .   [RDF]  edit 
 Flat Nu hafa hnekt þeir er | hnacka hæín fellz vid mer settu þeygi bella þollar þrír [altered from ííí] sam naf | nar tide . þo seam hitt at hlædir haf skids muní sidan vt huerr | oluerr hæitir allz mest ʀeka gesti .   [RDF]  edit 
 Tóm Nv hafa hnegt . þeir er hnacka heín fletz vid mier settv . þeygi bella þollar . þrír samnaf | nar tírí . þo saum hítt ath hlꜽdir haf skid muní sidan uth huer er auluer heitir allz mest re | ka gestí .   [RDF]  edit 
 Kx Nu hafa hnect þeir er hnakka | heínfletz v mer setto | þeigi bella þollar | þrír samnafnar tíri | þo siamz hitt at hlǫþir | haf sciþs muni siþan | ut hveʀ er ø̨lvir heitir || allz mest reka gesti |   [RDF]  edit 
 Bb Nv haf hneckt þeir | er hnacka . heinfletz vid mer settv . þey || ge bella þollar þrir samjafnir tíre . þo síamc | hítt ath hlędir . hafskids mvní sidan . v́t hver | er olfvir heitir . allz mest reka gesti .   [RDF]  edit 
 761bx Nu hafa hnekt þeir er hnacka | heinfletz viþ mer settu | þeygi bella þollar | þrir samnafnar tiri || þo seamz hítt at hlæþi | hafskiþs muni siþan | ut huerr er Olver heitir | allz mest reka gesti . |   [RDF]  edit 

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