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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Óláfs saga Tryggvasonar by Oddr Snorrason (ÓTOdd) - 34

Óláfs saga Tryggvasonar by Oddr Snorrason (ÓTOdd)

Skaldic vol. 1; ed. Diana Whaley

verse introduction manuscripts contents

Vol. I. Poetry for Scandinavian Rulers 1: From Mythological Times to c. 1035 > 8. Volume Introduction > 3. Sources for skaldic poetry cited in the kings’ sagas: manuscripts, facsimiles and editions > 3.1. Sagas of the kings of Norway to c. 1035 > 11. Óláfs saga Tryggvasonar by Oddr Snorrason (ÓTOdd)


Holm18: Holm perg 18 4° (c. 1300).

310:     AM 310 4° (Norwegian, c. 1250-75).

4-7:      DG 4-7 (c. 1270). Fragment.

Facsimile and editions: AM 310 1974; Fms 10, ÓTOdd 1932, ÍF 25 (Fær and ÓTOdd).

ÓTOdd is a medieval Icelandic translation of a Latin vita which was composed c. 1180-1200, or conceivably 1177-1206 (Andersson 2003, 4) and is now lost. The vita is attributed in medieval sources to Oddr Snorrason, a monk at the Benedictine house of Þingeyrar in northern Iceland. Oddr’s original Latin text was based both on the reports of oral informants (a list of whom is appended to the ÓTOdd text in 310) and the now-lost written works of Sæmundr Sigfússon and Ari Þorgilsson. His narrative often closely parallels the Historia de antiquitate regum Norwagiensum of Theodoricus, but whether this is due to direct influence or common sources is debated (see discussion in Andersson 2003, 1-20). Oddr’s saga focuses on Óláfr as missionary, the apostle of the north, and as forerunner to Óláfr helgi, a John the Baptist to Óláfr helgi’s Christ, and it includes many hagiographic motifs.

The three medieval mss represent three redactions of an anonymous translation into the Old Norse vernacular, and the internal relations between the three, and their relationship to the lost Latin original, have been much debated. The version of the saga in Holm18 has a shorter text, although even it is interpolated, e.g. from Ágr (Fidjestøl 1982, 14). Earlier researchers thought 310 was closer to the original than Holm18 (ÓTOdd 1932, viii-xix; Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson 1936, 57-68; Holtsmark in AM 310 1974, 9). However, the basis for this is challenged by Ólafur Halldórsson (ÍF 25, clxvi-clxx), who finds nothing against the view that the Holm18 scribe retained the text of his original unshortened and for the most part unchanged (ibid., clxix). Holm18 accordingly supplies the main text in ÍF 25. The versions in 310 and 4-7 are further recastings of the Old Norse translation mixed with material from a wide variety of other sources (including two sections from Jvs in 310).


Oddr’s original Latin text most likely only contained one stanza: the Latin skaldic stanza which may well be his own translation of Stefnir Lv 1, and is edited as OSnorr Lv in this volume. In the mss of the Old Norse translation of the saga there are twenty-nine stanzas, all in the later part, and drawn mainly from Hallfreðr’s two great panegyrics for Óláfr Tryggvason (Hfr Óldr, Hfr ErfÓl) and from Hókr Eirfl. Stefnir Lv 2 is unique to ÓTOdd and may have been known to the translator from oral tradition. There are fairly strong circumstantial reasons to believe the remaining stanzas were taken from written sources, either by the translator or by one of the three redactors (Fidjestøl 1982, 24-6). Fsk appears to be the main source, and there is persuasive evidence of this in the case of the six stanzas from Hfr Óldr preserved in 310 but not the other ÓTOdd mss (ÍF 25, clxxxii-clxxxiii). For poetry in ÓTOdd relating to events after c. 1035, see SkP II, lxxii.

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 > 1. Sagas of the kings of Norway after 1035 > 12. Óláfs saga Tryggvasonar by Oddr Snorrason (ÓTOdd)


Holm 18: Holm perg 18 4° (c. 1300). No poetry in SkP II.

310:         AM 310 4° (Norwegian, c. 1250-75).

4-7:          DG 4-7 (c. 1270). No poetry in SkP II.

Facsimile and editions: AM 310 1974; ÓTOdd 1932, ÍF 25 (Fær and ÓTOdd).


Sigv Berv 15/7-8 is recorded in 310.

[21] For a full discussion of ÓTOdd, see Introduction to SkP I.

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