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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, 55

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

26 — Þjóð Yt 26I

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Edith Marold (ed.) 2012, ‘Þjóðólfr ór Hvini, Ynglingatal 26’ 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. 55.

Ok niðkvísl
í Nóregi
þróttar Þrós
of þróazk hafði.
Réð Ôleifr
ofsa forðum
víðri grund
of Vestmari,
unz fótverkr
við Foldar þrǫm
of viða skyldi.
Nú liggr gunndjarfr
á Geirstǫðum
haugi ausinn.

Ok niðkvísl Þrós þróttar hafði of þróazk í Nóregi. Ôleifr réð forðum ofsa víðri grund of Vestmari, unz fótverkr skyldi of viða {vígmiðlung} við þrǫm Foldar. Gunndjarfr herkonungr liggr nú ausinn haugi á Geirstǫðum.

And the descendants of the Þrór <god> of strength had flourished in Norway. Óláfr once ruled powerfully over a wide area across Vestmarir, until a foot disease was to destroy {the battle-dealer} [WARRIOR] at the edge of Fold. The war-daring king of the host now lies surrounded by a mound in Geirstaðir.

Mss: (43v), papp18ˣ(12r), 521ˣ(55-56), F(7va), J1ˣ(21v), J2ˣ(25r), R685ˣ(23r) (Hkr); 71ˣ(8r), 73aˣ(11v), 76aˣ(11r), 78aˣ(10r), 61(78ra) (ÓH, ll. 5-16); Flat(78va) (Flat, ll. 5-16); 49ˣ(24r-v), 65ˣ(317r) (ll. 5-8), 65ˣ(321r) (ÓGeir, ll. 5-16); 761aˣ(63r-v), 761aˣ(64r) (ll. 1-12)

Readings: [1] nið‑: mið‑ R685ˣ;    ‑kvísl: ‘‑kvilli’ papp18ˣ    [2] í: om. papp18ˣ    [3] Þrós: þurs F, 761aˣ    [4] hafði: náði F, 761aˣ    [5] Ôleifr: Óláf J1ˣ    [6] ofsa: ‘ufsa’ 71ˣ, 73aˣ, 76aˣ, 78aˣ, ‘upsa’ Flat, ‘yfse’ 49ˣ, 65ˣ(321r), ‘yfsa’ 65ˣ(317r)    [7] víðri grund: víða frægr 71ˣ, 73aˣ, 76aˣ, 78aˣ, Flat, 49ˣ, 65ˣ(317r), 65ˣ(321r), viða fagr 61    [8] of: ok F, 71ˣ, 73aˣ, 76aˣ, 78aˣ, 61, Flat, 49ˣ, 65ˣ(317r), 65ˣ(321r);    Vestmari: Vestmari goðum glíkr, ok Grenlands fylki Flat    [10] við: til 65ˣ(321r);    þrǫm: ‘þromu’ 65ˣ(321r)    [11] vígmiðlung: ‘vigmiðlun’ 521ˣ, ‘vidnidiong’ F, 761aˣ, vígfrǫmustum 71ˣ, 73aˣ, 76aˣ, 78aˣ, víða vin 61, vígs frǫmustum Flat, vígs 49ˣ, 65ˣ(321r)    [12] of viða skyldi: af viða téði 71ˣ, 73aˣ, 76aˣ, 78aˣ, of viða náði 61, varð at grandi Flat, ok viða réði 49ˣ, 65ˣ(321r)    [13] gunndjarfr: grund jarls 49ˣ, 65ˣ(321r)    [14] á: fyrir 49ˣ, 65ˣ(321r)    [15] herkonungr: ‘herkonungr ha’ J2ˣ, herkonungr sjá Flat, hann er konungr 49ˣ, 65ˣ(321r)    [16] ausinn: orpinn 71ˣ, 73aˣ, 76aˣ, 78aˣ, 61, Flat, 49ˣ, 65ˣ(321r)

Editions: Skj: Þjóðólfr ór Hvini, enn hvinverski, 1. Ynglingatal 35-36: AI, 14-15, BI, 13, Skald I, 9, FF §55, NN §§296, 1009B, 1014A; Hkr 1893-1901, I, 84-5, IV, 26-7, ÍF 26, 82, Hkr 1991, I, 48 (Yng ch. 49), F 1871, 32-3; Yng 1912, 54, 69-70, Yng 2000, 70-1; Yt 1914, 17-18, Yt 1925, 208, 251-2; Fms 10, 209-10, Fms 12, 227, Flat 1860-8, II, 6 (ÓGeir); Fms 4, 29-30, Fms 12, 71-2, ÓH 1941, II, 715, 719, 724, 727, 729 (ÓGeir).

Context: In Hkr, Óláfr and Hálfdan, sons of Guðrøðr, lose part of their father’s territory but manage to hold on to Vestfold. Óláfr resides in Geirstaðir (see Note to l. 14 below), where he suffers a foot disease, dies and is buried. In the different versions of Flat and ÓGeir, the stanza is quoted in the context of a short introduction of the king.

Notes: [All]: On the rather complicated ms. transmission of the stanza see the Introduction. — [All]: As has been frequently noted (Schück 1908, 27-8; S. Bugge 1910, 242-4; Åkerlund 1939, 121-2), ll. 5-8 and 13-16 of this stanza resemble the stanza on the Swedish rune stone of Rök (Run Ög136VI) in creating a contrast between a past reign and the ruler’s situation after death. Åkerlund presumes the Rök stanza to have been the model for the Óláfr stanza. — [1-4]: Scholars have extensively debated the placement of these lines because, in opening the stanza with a general statement about the success of the lineage, they seem inconsistent with the poem’s overall concept. For this reason Schück (1905-10, 39) sought to link them to Óláfr trételgja (on whom, see Note to st. 21 [All]) because, in his view, it was this ruler with whom the Norwegian lineage began. Noreen (1912b, 135) moves them to the end of the poem, but in Yt 1925 he retains the stanza as it is transmitted in Hkr and offers a different explanation. He points out that the Yngling lineage splits after Guðrøðr into that of Óláfr Geirstaðaálfr ‘Elf of Geirstaðir’ and that of Hálfdan svarti ‘the Black’ (and similarly Åkerlund 1939, 116). While the arguments carry some weight, the present edn maintains the distribution as in the Hkr mss. — [3] Þrós þróttar ‘of the Þrór <god> of strength’: Almost all interpreters view Þrór as a pers. n., and the poetic evidence clearly indicates a name for Óðinn: cf. Grí 49/6, Þul Óðins 8/4III and the kennings in LP: Þrór 1. For Yt this raises the difficulty that niðkvísl Þrós ‘the descendants of Þrór’ (lit. ‘the descent-branch of Þrór’) would be an assertion that the Norwegian Ynglingar descended from Óðinn (Skj B; Norr 1998, 86-9), contrary to assertions of descent from Freyr (afspring Freys st. 10/11, ttungr Freys st. 16/7). Various explanations have been sought to avoid this contradiction. Most claim Þrór in this case refers either to Freyr or to an undetermined divine being, or mention both Óðinn and Freyr without venturing a solution (ÍF 26; Hkr 1991). The etymologies adduced in explanation of the name indicate the fertility god Freyr rather than Óðinn (see Note to Þul Óðins 8/4III; AEW: Þrór; Falk 1924, 30-1 and cf. Jungner 1919, 82-3). The most likely explanation is that the word originally meant an unidentified divine being whose name was later transferred to Óðinn (so Schück 1905-10, 39 and others). Þróttr is attested both as a noun ‘might, strength’ and as a name for Óðinn, see LP: þróttr. However, it has not often been interpreted as an Óðinn-heiti here, because this would require taking þrór to be an adj. (see Björn Magnússon Ólsen 1902, 195; Falk 1924, 31). The word is mostly taken to be the noun þróttr ‘might, strength’, though it is unclear here what its gen. þróttar should be linked with. Attempts to link it with niðkvísl to yield ‘the mighty descendants’ (Hkr 1893-1901; Skj B), or to make it an adverbial gen. belonging to þróask ‘to thrive’, hence ‘to thrive powerfully’ (Yng 1912; LP: þróttr), run contrary to the stylistic rule of Yt that lines of stanzas are unitary. Therefore the phrase Þrós þróttar ‘of the Þrór of strength’ seems the most likely interpretation. — [5-12]: The mss of ÓH and ÓGeir lack ll. 9-10 of the version in Flat (see variant to l. 8 in Readings above). All scholars recognize that they are a later addition in Flat (see Hkr 1893-1901, I; Skj A; Yt 1925; NN §1014A; ÍF 26) and omit them in their eds (except Skj B). — [5] Ôleifr ‘Óláfr’: On Óláfr Geirstaðaálfr ‘Elf of Geirstaðir’, see Context and Notes to ll. 1-4 and 14. The þáttr ÓGeir (Flat 1860-8, II, 6-9) mainly concerns supernatural events after his death. — [6] ofsa ‘powerfully’: Ofsa has been interpreted variously: (a) As a p. n. Ofsi/Upsi (Hkr 1893-1901, IV; Yng 1912; Skj B; LP: 1. Upsi). This interpretation requires the reading ok ‘and’ to be selected in l. 8, since it would connect the two place names Ofsa/Upsa and Vestmarir/-marr. The Flat version is to be understood this way. However, a place called Ofsa/Upsa cannot be shown to have existed, and the reading ok creates syntactic difficulties (see Note to l. 8 of Vestmari). (b) Many authors (from Bugge 1871b, 388 to the present edn) instead view ofsa as a noun, ‘with violence, force, tyranny’, hence ‘powerfully’. (c) Because the noun ofsi normally has negative connotations, Noreen (1912a, 15) suggests linking ofsa with the adj. víðri to create a phrase meaning ‘exceedingly far’ which he compares to ofsaharðr ‘exceedingly powerful’, ofsamikill ‘exceedingly large’ and ofsaþrútuligr ‘exceedingly arrogant’. However, these examples are compounds; to read ofsavíðri as a cpd would result in a tmesis, and even to read ofsa víðri as a phrase would split the line ofsa forðum. Either way the result is stylistically untenable for Yt. — [8] of Vestmari (acc. pl.) ‘across Vestmarir’: Vestmari could in itself be either dat. sg. (nom. sg. Vestmarr) or acc. pl. (nom. pl. Vestmarir). All Hkr mss except for F have of, while the later mss of Flat, ÓH and ÓGeir have ok linking Upsa and Vestmari as the dat. sg. objects of réð ‘ruled’, hence the places ruled by Óláfr (cf. Note to l. 6). But in light of the dat. pl. Vestmǫrum in the Yng prose (ÍF 26, 78) the p. n. appears to be a pl. form (Bugge 1894, 167; LP: Vestmarr differs). In that case Vestmari could only be the acc. pl. of an i-stem (nom. pl. ‑marir, see Åkerlund 1939, 119), and as such it cannot be an object of the verb form réð. Ráða of ‘rule over’ is not attested, for which reason Åkerlund (1939, 120), followed in this edn, suggests of must be interpreted here as ‘across’, hence víðri grund of Vestmari ‘a wide area (that stretches) across Vestmarir’. That the shift from of to ok is more easily imagined than the opposite change also supports this reading. Opinion varies on the location and size of Vestmarir (Hjärne 1947, 22-5), and did so even in the Middle Ages (Storm 1899, 118; Hjärne 1947, 41-8). Yng (ÍF 26, 82) relates that Óláfr possessed the western part of Vestfold, to which Vestmarir could be a reference. Storm (1899, 118) compares the name to Grenmarr (Langesundfjorden) and deduces that Vestmarir should be understood as ‘the western coastal lands’. Although the use of marr ‘sea’ as the base-word for a regional name may seem unusual, Bugge (1894, 168) refers to the Norwegian practice of using fjord names to designate regions (e.g. Firðir). Others have interpreted Vestmarr as the Atlantic Ocean (Wadstein 1895a, 80; Wadstein 1896, 34; Hjärne 1947, 48). Wadstein (1896) concludes from this that Óláfr was identical to the viking king Óláfr hvíti ‘the White’, the great viking king who also appears in Ari Þorgilsson’s Ættartala (Íslb, ÍF 1, 28). This thesis, previously rejected by Bugge (1894, 167), is taken up again by Jón Steffensen (1951, 42-50; 1970-3, 64). — [10] við þrǫm Foldar ‘at the edge of Fold’: Most scholars interpret Fold as Vestfold and þrǫmr as ‘shore, coast’, and so assume the king died near Oslofjorden (Storm 1899, 117; Yng 1912; Yt 1925; ÍF 26; LP: fold; Hkr 1991). — [11] vígmiðlung ‘the battle-dealer [WARRIOR]’: The Hkr mss clearly indicate this reading, whereas the Flat, ÓH and ÓGeir mss show vígfrǫmustum ‘the toughest in battle’. The only exception is 61, which has viða vin. Finnur Jónsson chooses this reading and emends it to vin virða ‘friend of men’ because viða ‘destroy’ (l. 12) would require a dat., and he believes vígmiðlung not to be a dat. However, vígmiðlung could be an endingless dat., like sikling (cf. Note to st. 1/8 and ANG §358.3). — [13] ‘now’: Many eds (Hkr 1893-1901, I; Skj B; Yng 1912; Skald; Åkerlund 1939, 123) have eliminated ‘now’ because it contravenes regular kviðuháttr metre (three syllables in odd lines). But Noreen (Yt 1925) notes that all mss show and that according to Sievers (1893, 65), two-syllable initial dips are possible in rising line Types B and C. — [14] á Geirstǫðum ‘in Geirstaðir’: Geirstaðir is most likely modern Gjekstad (Rygh et al. 1897-1936, VI, 273), close to Gokstad, where a ship burial was found in a large mound. A man aged between forty and fifty was buried there, who may have limped because of an injury to his left knee (Holck 2009). Brøgger (1916, 54) identified him as Óláfr Geirstaðaálfr. However, he seems to have died from diverse wounds inflicted upon him in battle (Holck 2009) and not from the fótverkr ‘foot-disease’ mentioned in this stanza. In addition, dendrochronological evidence from the Gokstad mound dates it to c. 900 (Myhre 1992c, 276; Capelle 1998, 301). Both facts tell against Óláfr or Rǫgnvaldr heiðumhár having been buried there. — [18] ausinn haugi ‘surrounded by a mound’: With their orpinn ‘covered’ (see Fritzner: verpa 3), the Flat mss and those of ÓH and ÓGeir demonstrate once again a different textual tradition.

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