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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, 14

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

4 — Þjóð Yt 4I

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance

 

Cite as: Edith Marold (ed.) 2012, ‘Þjóðólfr ór Hvini, Ynglingatal 4’ 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. 14.

Ok Vísburs
vilja byrði
sævar niðr
svelgja knátti,
þás meinþjóf
markar ǫttu
setrs verjendr
á sinn fǫður.
Ok allvald
í arinkjóli
glóða garmr
glymjandi beit.

Ok {niðr sævar} knátti svelgja {byrði vilja} Vísburs, þás {verjendr setrs} ǫttu {meinþjóf markar} á fǫður sinn. Ok glymjandi garmr glóða beit allvald í {arinkjóli}.

And {the kinsman of the sea} [FIRE] swallowed {the ship of the will} [BREAST] of Vísburr when {the defenders of the seat} [RULERS] incited {the harmful thief of the forest} [FIRE] against their father. And the roaring dog of embers [fire] bit the sovereign within {the hearth-ship} [HOUSE].

Mss: (17v-18r), papp18ˣ(5r), 521ˣ(16), F(3rb), J2ˣ(9r), R685ˣ(11r) (Hkr); 761aˣ(55v-56r)

Readings: [1] Vísburs: ‘viðbvrs’ F    [2] byrði: byrgi J2ˣ, byrgi with byrði as alternative in same line R685ˣ    [3] sævar: so J2ˣ, sjár var Kˣ, papp18ˣ, 521ˣ, 761aˣ, sjá far F, sævar with sjár var as alternative in same line R685ˣ    [5] mein‑: men‑ J2ˣ, R685ˣ    [7] setrs: so F, J2ˣ, R685ˣ, setr Kˣ, papp18ˣ, 521ˣ, 761aˣ

Editions: Skj: Þjóðólfr ór Hvini, enn hvinverski, 1. Ynglingatal 4: AI, 8, BI, 7, Skald I, 4-5, NN §1010; Hkr 1893-1901, I, 30, IV, 6-7, ÍF 26, 31, Hkr 1991, I, 17 (Yng ch. 14), F 1871, 11; Yng 1912, 21, 58, Yng 2000, 19; Yt 1914, 2, Yt 1925, 198, 219.

Context: Vísburr, son of Vanlandi, leaves his first wife, the daughter of Auði inn auðgi ‘the Wealthy’. When petitioned by their young sons, he refuses to return her mundr ‘bride-price, bridal gift’, which comprises a precious neck-ring and three large estates. The youths curse the neck-ring and later, empowered by magic (seiðr), attack their father and burn him alive in his house.

Notes: [1] Vísburs ‘of Vísburr’: Legendary king of the Yngling dynasty. The name doubtless means ‘the wise son’. — [2] byrði vilja ‘the ship of the will [BREAST]’: This kenning is based on the idea that feelings and will-power reside in the breast, cf. Meissner 134-8. Both the ms. variants, (a) byrði ‘ship’ (Kringla group) and (b) byrgi ‘rampart’ (Jöfraskinna group), allow for satisfactory breast-kennings. (a) Byrði vilja ‘the ship of the will’: Byrði is listed among the ship-heiti (Þul Skipa 9/1III and Note) and in a Norwegian legal text (Fritzner: byrði). It derives from borð ‘planking’ and likely refers to the side of a ship (LP, Fritzner: byrði). Terms for ‘ship’ are attested several times as the base-word of a breast-kenning (Meissner 137). (b) Byrgi vilja ‘rampart of the will’: Also well attested as a base-word in kennings is ON borg ‘fortress’ (Meissner 137), including borg vilja ‘fortress of the will’ (SnSt Ht 51/5III). Byrgi, however, is not synonymous with borg. The word is rare, and it appears from the examples given in Fritzner: byrgi that it might have meant ‘rampart’; it appears in skaldic poetry only here and in Eskál Vell 4/3 byrgi bǫðvar ‘rampart of battle [SHIELD]’. Byrði ‘ship’ is preferred in this edn since it is the reading of the main ms. and since the kenning pattern ‘ship of the will’ is attested as early as the C10th and normally refers to the physical breast, whereas borg ‘fortress’ is not attested in such kennings until the C13th-14th and refers predominantly to the breast in the metaphorical sense of ‘soul’ or ‘inner self’. — [3] niðr sævar ‘the kinsman of the sea [FIRE]’: This kenning deviates from other kenning types that refer to fire as the enemy of what it consumes (cf. Meissner 100-2), e.g. húsþjófr ‘house-thief’ in st. 20/5. Only one parallel is known: Þul Elds 1/3III bróðir Ægis ‘the brother of Ægir <sea-god>’. For the mythical kinship of water and fire see st. 21/7 and Note; Sveinn Norðrdr 2/2III and Note; Krause (1925a, 140; 1930, 17). — [4] knátti svelgja ‘swallowed’: Knátti ‘could’ can be regarded as a pleonastic auxiliary and is therefore not translated. On the metaphor of svelgja ‘swallow(ed)’, see Note to st. 21/4, svalg. — [7] verjendr setrs ‘the defenders of the seat [RULERS]’: Finnur Jónsson’s translation in Skj B, besiddelses krævere ‘those who claim possession’ and Noreen’s in Yt 1925, försvararna av sina rettigheter till tronen ‘those who defend their rights to the throne’, are attempts to accommodate the prose narration of Yng (see Context), in which both sons fight for their mother’s bridal gift. The interpretation of NN §1010 followed here is preferable, however, as it retains the central meanings of verja ‘defend’ and of setrs (gen. sg.) ‘of the seat’. It views the gen. phrase as a ruler-kenning, a variant on the pattern ‘guardian of the land’ (cf. Meissner 353). — [10] arinkjóli ‘the hearth-ship [HOUSE]’: This belongs to a pattern of kenning for ‘house’ with a base-word ‘ship’ determined by some part of a house, cf. nǫkkvi toptar ‘the boat of the building-plot’ (st. 17/14) and brandnór ‘hearth-ship’ (st. 17/10; cf. also Meissner 430). Noreen (1892, 211-12; Yt 1925) instead translated this kenning as skepp med lyfting ‘ship with a raised deck’ i.e. the command bridge of a ship, maintaining that this was no brenna, an act of setting fire to a house so that those inside are burned alive, but a cremation aboard a ship. S. Lindqvist (1921, 149-52) similarly argued for a ritual burning on a house-shaped funeral pyre which had been misrepresented in Yt as a brenna because Þjóðólfr misunderstood the Swedish original. — [11-12] glymjandi garmr glóða ‘the roaring dog of embers [fire]’: This is not a kenning, since the notion described, ‘fire’, is already indicated by the determinant glóða ‘of embers’. Further, if ‘dog’ were the base-word one would expect a determinant denoting something damaged by fire, cf. Note to l. 3 niðr sævar. Therefore garmr glóða should be viewed as a gen.-case metaphor with imagery that involves beit ‘bit’ (l. 12).

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