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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Vol. II. Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 2: from c. 1035 to c. 1300

2. Sagas relating to Denmark and Orkney after 1035

1. Knýtlinga saga (Knýtl) (KEG)
2. Orkneyinga saga (Orkn) (KEG)

(Vol. II. Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 2: from c. 1035 to c. 1300 > 8. Introduction > 4. Sources for Skaldic Poetry Cited in the Kings' Sagas > 2. Sagas relating to Denmark and Orkney after 1035 > 2. Orkneyinga saga (Orkn))

2. Orkneyinga saga (Orkn) (KEG)

Orkneyinga saga (Orkn)[23]

Stemma (from ÍF 34, cxxvi; Whaley 1998, 18)

  • O1
    • O2
      • *
        • *Cod. Ac.
          • 332
          • 48mx
        • *
          • 325I
          • *
            • Flat
      • 325III α
        • 702x
          • 762x
        • SLR
      • 325III β


*Cod. Ac.: Codex Academicus (Icelandic, c. 1250-1300). Vellum manuscript that burned in the Copenhagen fire of 1728, but previously had been used for:

  • a) 332ˣ: AM 332 4°ˣ. Copy of *Cod. Ac. (c. 1700, in the hand of Ásgeir Jónsson).
  • b) 48ˣ: AM 48 folˣ, marginalia (48ˣmarg). Copy of parts of Flat (end C17th, in the hand of Ásgeir Jónsson). The main text has no independent value but the marginal additions and corrections preserve readings from *Cod. Ac.

325I:       AM 325 I 4° (c. 1300).

Flat:         Flateyjarbók, GKS 1005 fol. See separate entry.

325III α: AM 325III α 4° (Icelandic, c. 1300-50). Two vellum leaves.

R702ˣ:    UppsUB R 702 4°ˣ (hand of Magnús Ólafsson (1573-1636)). A collection of stanzas from various sources, including Orkn, with contexts and comments.

762ˣ:       AM 762 4°ˣ. A selection by Magnús Ólafsson from the stanzas in R702ˣ. It is used in Skj A, but has no independent value.

SLR:        Worm 1650. Specimen Lexici Runici. A glossary of words and phrases, including over one hundred from Orkn, largely the work of Magnús Ólafsson but published by Ole Worm. The orthography of the manuscripts is not reproduced.

325III β: AM 325III β 4° (Icelandic, c. 1300). One leaf.

Facsimile and editions: Flat 1930; Orkn 1887, Orkn 1913-16, ÍF 34, Bibire 1988.


Most of the seventy-four stanzas contained in the parts of Orkn that cover the years post-1030 can be divided into three groups. The first group deals with events that took place during the reign of Jarl Þorfinnr Sigurðarson (r. c. 1020-64; Arn Rǫgndr 1, Arn Þorfdr, Arn Lv) and the second with Magnús berfœttr Óláfsson’s campaign to the west in 1098 (Kali Lv, Mberf Lv, Þham Magndr 3). The third group of poetry documents events from the reign of Jarl Rǫgnvaldr Kali Kolsson (r. c. 1137-1159), with particular attention to his crusade in 1151-3 (Rv Lv 1-32, Hbreiðm Lv, Eiríkr Lv, Oddi Lv 1-5, Árm Lv 1-4, Þsvart Lv, Sigm Lv 1-2, Bót Lv, Anon (Orkn)). Orkn also contains Hharð Lv 2b (1030) and Ingimarr Sveinsson’s lausavísa about the battle of Färlev (1134; Ingimarr Lv). BjHall KálfflI has been edited in SkP I (see Hkr above).

[23] For a full discussion of Orkn, see Introduction to SkP I.

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