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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, 680-1

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

4 — Sturl Hryn 4II

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Valgerður Erna Þorvaldsdóttir (ed.) 2009, ‘Sturla Þórðarson, Hrynhenda 4’ 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. 680-1.

Framla dreif til hverrar hömlu
hilmis þjóð ins mærðarfróða;
síðan helduð suðr með láði,
seima stiklir, flota miklum.
Hræddar urðu Hallands ferðir,
hringa Baldr, af þínu valdi;
engi maðr var Jóta þengils
óttalauss við Nóregs dróttin.

Þjóð ins mærðarfróða hilmis dreif framla til hverrar hömlu; síðan helduð miklum flota suðr með láði, {stiklir seima}. Ferðir Hallands urðu hræddar af valdi þínu, {Baldr hringa}; engi maðr {þengils Jóta} var óttalauss við {dróttin Nóregs}.

The men of the renowned ruler rushed boldly to every rowlock; then you brought a great fleet southwards along the coast, {thrower of gold} [GENEROUS RULER]. The people of Halland became frightened by your power, {Baldr <god> of rings} [MAN]; not one man {of the ruler of the Jótar} [DANISH KING = Kristófór] was not without fear of {the lord of Norway} [= Hákon].

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

Readings: [1] hömlu: ‘homlu’ 81a    [3] helduð: heldu E, 81a, Flat;    með: unni E;    láði: landi 81a, 8    [4] stiklir: stillir E    [5] ferðir: lyddur 8    [7] var: so E, 81a, 8, om. F, varð Flat

Editions: Skj: Sturla Þórðarson, 3. Hrynhenda 4: AII, 103, BII, 114, Skald II, 60; F 1871, 545, E 1916, 640, Hák 1910-86, 635, Hák 1977-82, 157-8, Flat 1860-8, III, 187.

Context: This st. follows right after st. 3, describing the voyage to Halland and the reactions of the inhabitants.

Notes: [All]: The st. contains verbal echoes of Arn Hryn 9, which describes Magnús inn góði Óláfsson’s fleet setting out from Norway on his expedition to Denmark in 1042. — [1] framla ‘boldly’: Skj B takes this adv. with the second cl., which complicates the w. o. unnecessarily. — [5] ferðir Hallands ‘the people of Halland’: The reading of 8 is lyddur (f. nom. pl.) ‘cowards’, which gives the l. a new meaning, mocking the people of Halland and at the same time diminishing the heroic aspects of the king’s troops, since cowards will fear anything, whereas the more neutral word ferðir ‘people’ indicates that the inhabitants fear only when given good reason to. The word lyddur could be a scribal innovation of the scribe of 8 or it could have originated with his exemplar(s).

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