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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Þjóðólfr ór Hvini (Þjóð)

9th century; volume 1; ed. Edith Marold;

1. Ynglingatal (Yt) - 37

Skj info: Þjóðólfr ór Hvini, enn hvinverski, Norsk skjald, 9 årh. (AI, 7-21, BI, 7-19).

Skj poems:
1. Ynglingatal
2. Haustlǫng
3. Et digt om Harald hårfagre, næppe ægte
4. Lausavísur

Þjóðólfr ór Hvini, or inn hvinverski, ‘from Hvinir’ (Þjóð) was a Norwegian skald of the late ninth or early tenth century. As his nickname indicates, he was from Hvinir (Kvinesdal, Vest-Agder). His biography is largely unknown. Skáldatal names him as poet to several rulers and powerful men: Haraldr hárfagri ‘Fair-hair’ and Rǫgnvaldr heiðumhár or heiðumhæri ‘High with Honours’ (SnE 1848-87, III, 253, 261, 273), Hákon jarl Grjótgarðsson (ibid., 256, 265, 280), Þorleifr inn spaki ‘the Wise’ (ibid., 259, 268, 285), Strút-Haraldr jarl (ibid., 259, 284) and an unknown Sveinn jarl (ibid., 268). However, the associations with Hákon, Strút-Haraldr and Þorleifr are uncertain since they may have lived later in the tenth century; see Bugge (1894, 145, 175); Åkerlund (1939, 7). In Hkr, both within the Prologue (ÍF 26, 4) and in HHárf (ÍF 26, 127-8, 139), Þjóðólfr is represented as skald and friend to Haraldr hárfagri and as a dedicated foster-father to Haraldr’s son Guðrøðr ljómi ‘Beam of Light’. It is in this context that he speaks the two lausavísur associated with him (Þjóð Lv 1-2). Þjóðólfr ór Hvini is the composer of the poems Ynglingatal (Þjóð Yt) and Haustlǫng (Þjóð HaustlIII, edited in SkP III). Five stanzas of a poem dedicated to Haraldr hárfagri (Þjóð Har) are also attributed to him. Several stanzas of Haraldskvæði (Þhorn Harkv) are falsely attributed to Þjóðólfr; see Introduction to Harkv. Finally, a fragment (Þjóðólfr FragIII) edited in SkP III is likely to be the work of a different Þjóðólfr, though it is tentatively associated with Þjóð Yt in Skj; see Introduction to Yt.

Ynglingatal — Þjóð YtI

Edith Marold with the assistance of Vivian Busch, Jana Krüger, Ann-Dörte Kyas and Katharina Seidel, translated from German by John Foulks 2012, ‘(Introduction to) Þjóðólfr ór Hvini, Ynglingatal’ 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. 3.

 1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11   12   13   14   15   16   17   18   19   20   21   22   23   24   25   26   27 

for reference only:  8x   11x   13x   14x   15x   16x   17x   20x   25x   26x 

Skj: Þjóðólfr ór Hvini, enn hvinverski: 1. Ynglingatal (AI, 7-15, BI, 7-14); stanzas (if different): 9 | 10 | 11 | 12-13 | 13 | 14 | 15-16 | 16 | 17-18 | 18 | 19-20 | 20 | 21-22 | 22 | 23-24 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27-28 | 28 | 29 | 30 | 31 | 32 | 33-34 | 34 | 35-36 | 36 | 37 | 38(?)

SkP info: I, 28

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

12 — Þjóð Yt 12I

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Edith Marold (ed.) 2012, ‘Þjóðólfr ór Hvini, Ynglingatal 12’ 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. 28.

Varð Jǫrundr,
hinns endr of dó,
lífs of lattr
í Limafirði,
þás hábrjóstr
hǫrva Sleipnir
bana Goðlaugs
of bera skyldi.
Ok Hagbarðs
hersa valdi
hǫðnu leif
at halsi gekk.

Jǫrundr, hinns endr of dó, varð of lattr lífs í Limafirði, þás {hábrjóstr Sleipnir hǫrva} skyldi of bera {bana Goðlaugs}. Ok {{leif hǫðnu} Hagbarðs} gekk at halsi {valdi hersa}.

Jǫrundr, the one who died long ago, was deprived of his life in Limfjorden when {the high-breasted Sleipnir <horse> of flax cords} [GALLOWS] had to carry {the slayer of Guðlaugr} [= Jǫrundr]. And {{the remnant of the kid} [LEATHER STRAP] of Hagbarðr <Danish legendary hero>} [NOOSE] went around the neck {of the lord of hersar} [KING].

Mss: (25r-v), papp18ˣ(7r), 521ˣ(27), F(4va), J2ˣ(13v), R685ˣ(14r) (Hkr); 761aˣ(58r-v)

Readings: [3] lattr: latr J2ˣ, R685ˣ    [5] ‑brjóstr: ‘‑biostr’ F    [6] hǫrva: hǫrpu F, ‘hurfa’ J2ˣ, hurfu R685ˣ    [9] ‑barðs: ‑barðr R685ˣ    [10] hersa: ok hersa R685ˣ    [11] hǫðnu: hǫðnum 521ˣ, auðnu F

Editions: Skj: Þjóðólfr ór Hvini, enn hvinverski, 1. Ynglingatal 14: AI, 10, BI, 9, Skald I, 6, NN §1012 Anm. 1; Hkr 1893-1901, I, 44, IV, 13-14, ÍF 26, 46-7, Hkr 1991, I, 26-7 (Yng ch. 24), F 1871, 17; Yng 1912, 30, 62, Yng 2000, 34; Yt 1914, 7, Yt 1925, 202, 233.


Jǫrundr and Eiríkr, the sons of Yngvi, encounter Guðlaugr, king of Hálogaland (Hålogaland), while raiding in Denmark. They defeat him in battle and hang him from the gallows at Straumeyrarnes. When Jǫrundr once again invades Denmark, he is confronted by Gýlaugr, son of Guðlaugr, who defeats him with the help of local Danes. He is then hanged also.

Notes: [1, 3] varð of lattr lífs ‘was deprived of his life’: Lattr is taken here as the p. p. of letja ‘dissuade, hinder’ (so also Hkr 1893-1901, Skj B, Skald, ÍF 26 and Åkerlund 1939, 93). Wadstein (1895a, 68-9) and Noreen (Yt 1925) propose interpretations based on látr (‘latr’ in J2ˣ, R685ˣ) as equivalent to látinn, p. p. of láta ‘to let’, and forming the cpd lífslátr ‘life-deprived, dead, slain’, but these are unconvincing. — [5-6] hábrjóstr Sleipnir hǫrva ‘the high-breasted Sleipnir <horse> of flax cords [GALLOWS]’: The base-word of this kenning, Sleipnir, is explained in terms of the idiomatic expression ‘to ride the gallows’, cf. Note to st. 9/10, 11-12. As the determinant, (a) most previous eds also adopt the reading hǫrva ‘of flax cords’ based on , and Finnur Jónsson (Hkr 1893-1901, IV) refers to Egill Hfl 13/7V, where hǫrvar denotes bowstrings. (b) Wadstein (1895a, 68-9), however, followed by Noreen (Yt 1925) prioritizes the reading hurfu (J2ˣ), which he interprets as gen. sg. of *hvarfa according to ANG §77.10. In explanation he refers to Swed. dialectal hurfa, horfa and Norw. korve, kverva ‘withy’, a ring of willow. This is worthy of consideration in light of the fact that it was common to use a withy in hangings (Amira 1913, 241; ‘Hängen’, HDA, 3, 1438-1460). The assumption of Åkerlund (1939, 93) that a scribe had replaced a word unknown to him with hǫrva might also support this. Strangulation with a loop of twisted branches was probably the antecedent of the later practice of hanging with a rope noose (Amira 1922, 95-6). — [7] bana Goðlaugs ‘the slayer of Guðlaugr [= Jǫrundr]’: Guðlaugr belongs to the dynasty of jarls of Hálogaland (Hålogaland) and later of Hlaðir (Lade); whether he was a king as claimed in Yng (see Context) is doubtful. He is the subject of Eyv Hál 4-5, which report that he was hanged by the sons of Yngvi on Straumeyrarnes (or Straumeyjarnes). — [9, 11] leif hǫðnu Hagbarðs ‘the remnant of the kid [LEATHER STRAP] of Hagbarðr <Danish legendary hero> [NOOSE]’: This is one of the few cases where the base-word of a kenning is itself replaced with a kenning (see ‘The diction of skaldic poetry’ in General Introduction). Haðna is the female kid or young goat, whose ‘remnant’ is the leather out of which the strap is produced. Hagbarðr figures in Danish heroic legend as a victim of hanging; cf. Note to st. 9/10, 11-12. Finnur Jónsson (Hkr 1893-1901, IV) seeks to trace this kenning to a forgotten detail of the Hagbarðr legend.

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