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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Sturla Þórðarson (Sturl)

13th century; volume 2; ed. Kari Ellen Gade;

1. Hrynhenda (Hryn) - 21

Skj info: Sturla Þórðarson, Islandsk skjald og historiker, 1214-84 (AII, 101-29, BII, 112-36).

Skj poems:
1. Þverárvísur
2. Þorgilsdrápa
3. Hrynhenda
4. Hákonarkviða
5. Hrafnsmál
6. Hákonarflokkr
7. En drape om Magnús lagaböter
8. Lausavísur

The life of Sturla Þórðarson (Sturl) is chronicled in Sturlunga saga (Stu). He was born on 29 July 1214 as the second son of Þórðr Sturluson and his concubine Þóra, and he was the younger brother of Óláfr hvítaskáld Þórðarson (Ólhv). In his early years he spent much time with his uncle, the poet, historian and lawspeaker Snorri Sturluson (SnSt, d. 1241), and later he took an active part in the events that played out before and after the collapse of the Icel. Commonwealth. Sturla was lawspeaker in Iceland 1251-2 and lawman, appointed by the Norw. king, 1272-82. In 1263 he went to Norway where he met King Magnús lagabœtir ‘Law-mender’ Hákonarson (d. 1280). After an initially very cool reception, the king commissioned him to write the saga of Magnús’s father Hákon Hákonarson (d. 1264) and also that of Magnús himself. Sturla later became the retainer (hirðmaðr, skutilsveinn) of Magnús and brought the law code Járnsíða ‘Ironside’ from Norway to Iceland in 1271. The story of Sturla’s journey to Norway in 1263 and his dealings with Magnús is recounted in Sturlu þáttr (StÞ), preserved in a version of Stu. In addition to the sagas of Hákon Hákonarson (Hák) and the no longer extant saga of his son Magnús lagabœtir (only two leaves are preserved in AM 325 X 4°), Sturla is the author of Íslendinga saga (Ísls) and of a redaction of Landnámabók (Ldn, in AM 107 folˣ = Stˣ). Some scholars believe that he may have been responsible for the extant redaction of Kristni saga (Kristni) (see LH 1894-1901, II, 98-105, 717-43), and he is also mentioned as an informant by the author of Grettis saga Ásmundarsonar (Gr; see ÍF 7, 157, 226, 289). Like his uncle, Snorri, and his brother, Óláfr, Sturla was a prolific poet. According to Skáldatal (SnE 1848-87, III, 256, 260, 272, 279, 384-96), he composed poems in honour of the Norw. kings Hákon Hákonarson and Magnús lagabœtir Hákonarson, and also about the Swed. jarl Birgir Magnússon (d. 1266). Nothing is preserved of Sturla’s panegyrics to the latter, but two sts from his poetry to Magnús are recorded in Hák (see Magnússdrápa (Sturl Magndr) below). The bulk of Sturla’s poetic oeuvre about Hákon Hákonarson is interspersed with the prose in Hák: Hrynhenda (Sturl Hryn), Hákonarkviða (Sturl Hákkv), Hrafnsmál (Sturl Hrafn) and Hákonarflokkr (Sturl Hákfl). In addition to these encomia, Sturla composed poetry about events and dignitaries in Iceland: namely Þverárvísur (Sturl ÞvervIV) and Þorgilsdrápa (Sturl ÞorgdrIV), both of which have been edited in SkP IV. That is also the case with his lvv. (Sturl Lv 1-4IV). One fragment which earlier eds assigned to Hryn (earlier st. 22) has been edited in SkP III as Sturl FragIII. Sturla died on 30 July 1284 and was buried in the Church of S. Peter at Staðarhóll.

Hrynhenda — Sturl HrynII

Valgerður Erna Þorvaldsdóttir 2009, ‘(Introduction to) Sturla Þórðarson, Hrynhenda’ in Kari Ellen Gade (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 2: From c. 1035 to c. 1300. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 2. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 676-98.

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Skj: Sturla Þórðarson: 3. Hrynhenda, 1262 (AII, 102-8, BII, 113-18); stanzas (if different): 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 22

SkP info: II, 679-80

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

3 — Sturl Hryn 3II

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance

 

Cite as: Valgerður Erna Þorvaldsdóttir (ed.) 2009, ‘Sturla Þórðarson, Hrynhenda 3’ in Kari Ellen Gade (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 2: From c. 1035 to c. 1300. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 2. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 679-80.

Öldum segik, hvé ófrið gulduð,
unnviggs skipuðr, Dönum sunnan;
víða settu þínar þjóðir
þunnar skeiðr af fýrihlunnum.
Stórir höfðu útboð ærin
yðrir þegnar rán at hegna
(ýtum þóttit leiðangr lítill)
langa stund (fyrir víðri grundu).

Segik öldum, hvé gulduð Dönum ófrið sunnan, {skipuðr {unnviggs}}; þjóðir þínar settu víða þunnar skeiðr af fýrihlunnum. Stórir þegnar yðrir höfðu ærin útboð at hegna rán langa stund; ýtum þóttit leiðangr lítill fyrir víðri grundu.

I tell men how you repaid the Danes for hostility from the south, {commander {of the wave-steed}} [SHIP > KING]; your troops launched far and wide slender warships from the fir-rollers. Your mighty liegemen had ample conscription to punish plundering for a long time; men did not consider the fleet to be small off the wide land.

Mss: F(116vb), E(187v), 81a(117ra), 8(66v), Flat(182ra) (Hák)

Readings: [1] segik: ‘seg eg’ Flat;    gulduð: guldu 81a    [2] unnviggs: ‘unduígs’ E, unnviggjat Flat;    skipuðr: skipuðu Flat    [3] víða: viðu E;    settu: leitu 81a;    þínar: þína E    [4] fýri‑: nýjum Flat    [5] Stórir: stærri 81a;    útboð: boð 81a;    ærin: ærir E, 8, en bærri 81a, ærit Flat    [6] þegnar: þegnir Flat;    rán at hegna: rána hegnar E, rána hegnir 8, Flat    [7] þóttit: þótti E, þótti eigi 81a, þótti ei Flat    [8] víðri: ‘uiðris’ 8

Editions: Skj: Sturla Þórðarson, 3. Hrynhenda 3: AII, 102-3, BII, 114, Skald II, 60; F 1871, 545, E 1916, 639-40, Hák 1910-86, 635, Hák 1977-82, 157, Flat 1860-8, III, 187.

Context: In 1253, King Hákon summoned a large fleet and prepared to set sail for Denmark. The inhabitants of Halland were terrified when the news of the Norw. fleet reached Denmark. Stanzas 3-4 describe the launching of the fleet, the sailing to Halland and the reaction of the inhabitants.

Notes: [All]: For this event, see also Sturl Hákfl 8. — [5-6] stórir þegnar yðrir höfðu ærin útboð at hegna rán ‘your mighty liegemen had ample conscription to punish plundering’: In the summer of 1247, Norw. ships were attacked by the Danes, as well as by Ger. merchants from Lübeck, off the shore of Halland. King Hákon demanded compensation from the Dan. king, Kristófór, who had ascended the throne in 1252. Hákon summoned his troops in 1253 and threatened to attack Halland with the support of Jarl Birgir Magnússon, who later acted as a mediator and made the Dan. king agree to pay restitution the following year. Sturla stresses Hákon’s right to avenge the Norw. ships, both in the prose and in this st., but he does not give the real reason for the warfare: the king wanted to add Halland to his kingdom to gain control over the route across the Baltic and took the opportunity to do so when internal conflict had weakened the Dan. crown (Helle 1974, 128-32). — [6] hegna ‘punish’: Finnur Jónsson and Kock chose the reading of 8 and Flat, hegnir, taking it as the base-word in a man-kenning hegnir rána ‘punisher of plunder’ (Skj B; Skald). Konráð Gíslason (1895-7, I, 71) preferred the reading hegna ‘punish’. — [8] fyrir víðri grundu ‘off the wide land’: Skj B and Skald take this prepositional phrase with the first cl. of the helmingr, which is also possible.

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