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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

2. Markús Skeggjason, Eiríksdrápa, 28 [Vol. 2, 457-8]

[3] halfa lest ‘half a lest’: A lest was a unit of measurement, about 1250 kg in weight. According to Knýtl (ÍF 35, 237), Alexios gave Eiríkr the choice between receiving the gift of the gold and getting the opportunity to watch the games in the hippodrome. Because Eiríkr was getting short of money, he chose the gold. When Alexios later made a similar offer to the Norw. king Sigurðr jórsalafari ‘Jerusalem-farer’ Magnússon, Sigurðr chose the games because he, in the words of Knýtl, fór þá heimleiðis ok hafði þá lokit inum mesta fékostnaði í ferð sinni ‘was then on his way back home and most of the expenses for his journey had then come to an end’. For Alexios’s offer to Sigurðr, see ÍF 28, 253 and Mork 1928-32, 349-50. It could well be that the inclusion of this episode in Knýtl, which shows verbal correspondences with Hkr and Mork, was prompted by the gold mentioned in this st. The gold is also mentioned by Saxo (2005, II, 12, 7, 5, pp. 80-3).

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