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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Vol. I. Poetry for Scandinavian Rulers 1: From Mythological Times to c. 1035 8. Volume Introduction 4. Biographies 4.1. Ruler biographies 4.1.a. Kings and jarls of Norway 1. Eiríkr blóðøx Haraldsson (r. c. 929-34)

1. Eiríkr blóðøx Haraldsson (r. c. 929-34)

Eiríkr blóðøx ‘Blood-axe’ was the son of Haraldr hárfagri (q. v.) and Ragnhildr, daughter of King Eiríkr of Jutland. During a short reign, some three years of which were shared with his father, he disposed of several of his half-brothers in his efforts to rebuild his father’s extensive kingdom. He owed his nickname either to these fratricides or to his Viking exploits (see Note to Eyv Lv 1/1-3, and Notes to Anon Nkt 10II for this and the duration of his reign). Highly unpopular, he was driven from Norway by the forces of Hákon góði (q. v.), fled to England and reigned at York until he was driven out c. 952-4 (on this date, see Sawyer 1995); his death in battle is widely dated c. 954. Eiríkr was married to Gunnhildr (Gunnh; see skald Biography), sister of the Danish king Haraldr blátǫnn ‘Blue-tooth’ Gormsson. Their sons, collectively the Eiríkssynir or Gunnhildarsynir, are prominent in the history of the next generation (see Haraldr gráfeldr below). Eiríkr and especially Gunnhildr are portrayed negatively in the sagas, and other information about him is scanty, though he is mentioned in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (ASC) s. a. 948 and 952-4. See Anon Nkt 10-11II (c. 1190); Theodoricus (MHN 7; McDougall and McDougall 1998, 5-6); HN (MHN 105-6; Kunin and Phelpstead 2001, 15); Ágr (ÍF 29, 7-12; Ágr 2008, 7-9, 16-17); Fsk (ÍF 29, 73-80; Finlay 2004, 54-60); Hkr (ÍF 26, 134-54; Hollander 1964a, 86-99). Skáldatal (SnE 1848-87, III, 253, 261, 273) lists Glúmr Geirason (Glúmr) and Egill Skallagrímsson (Egill) as Eiríkr’s skalds.

Events documented in poetry: Eiríkr gains land and gold with his sword (Glúmr EirIII); Eiríkr’s rivalry with his brother Hákon (Gunnh Lv); his military exploits in general (Egill Hfl 3-19V (Eg 36-52)); his dealings with the poet Egill (Egill Lv 7V, 18V, 21-3V, 26-9V (Eg 11, 25, 28-30, 33, 56-8)); his anger assuaged by Egill’s poem Hfl (Egill Arkv 3-9V (Eg 99-105)); his welcome as a hero into Valhǫll after his last battle (Anon Eirm). For the possibility that Glúmr Gráf 2-3 concern raids by Eiríkr, see Introduction to Gráf.

References

  1. Bibliography
  2. SnE 1848-87 = Snorri Sturluson. 1848-87. Edda Snorra Sturlusonar: Edda Snorronis Sturlaei. Ed. Jón Sigurðsson et al. 3 vols. Copenhagen: Legatum Arnamagnaeanum. Rpt. Osnabrück: Zeller, 1966.
  3. Ágr = [Anonymous] Ágrip af Nóregs konunga sögum.
  4. MHN = Storm, Gustav, ed. 1880. Monumenta historica Norvegiæ: Latinske kildeskrifter til Norges historie i middelalderen. Kristiania (Oslo): Brøgger. Rpt. 1973. Oslo: Aas & Wahl.
  5. ÍF 26-8 = Heimskringla. Ed. Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson. 1941-51.
  6. ASC [Anglo-Saxon Chronicle] = Plummer, Charles and John Earle, eds. 1892-9. Two of the Saxon Chronicles Parallel. 2 vols. Oxford: Clarendon. Rpt. 1952.
  7. Finlay, Alison, trans. 2004. Fagrskinna: A Catalogue of the Kings of Norway. Leiden: Brill.
  8. HN = Historia Norwegiæ. In MHN 69-124.
  9. ÍF 29 = Ágrip af Nóregskonunga sǫgum; Fagrskinna—Nóregs konungatal. Ed. Bjarni Einarsson. 1985.
  10. McDougall, David and Ian McDougall, trans. 1998. Theodoricus monachus. Historia de antiquitate regum norwagiensium: An Account of the Ancient History of the Norwegian Kings. Viking Society for Northern Research Text Series 11. University College, London: Viking Society for Northern Research.
  11. Theodoricus = Theodrici monachi historia de antiquitate regum Norwagiensium. In MHN 1-68.
  12. Ágr 2008 = Driscoll, Matthew J., ed. and trans. 2008. Ágrip af Nóregskonungasǫgum: A Twelfth-Century Synoptic History of the Kings of Norway. 2nd edn. Viking Society for Northern Research Text Series 10. University College London: Viking Society for Northern Research.
  13. Sawyer, Peter. 1995. ‘The Last Scandinavian Kings of York’. Northern History 31, 39-44.
  14. Kunin, Devra, trans., and Carl Phelpstead, ed., introd. and notes. 2001. A History of Norway and the Passion and Miracles of the Blessed Óláfr. Viking Society for Northern Research Text Series 13. London: Viking Society for Northern Research.
  15. Hollander, Lee M., trans. 1964a. Heimskringla: History of the Kings of Norway by Snorri Sturluson. Austin: The American-Scandinavian Foundation. Rpt. 1991 (rpt. cited in SkP II).
  16. Internal references
  17. Kari Ellen Gade 2009, ‘Heimskringla (Hkr)’ in Kari Ellen Gade (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 2: From c. 1035 to c. 1300. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 2. Turnhout: Brepols [check printed volume for citation].
  18. Not published: do not cite (EgillV)
  19. Diana Whaley 2012, ‘Fagrskinna (Fsk)’ 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, pp. clix-clxi.
  20. Diana Whaley 2017, ‘(Biography of) Glúmr Geirason’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 194.
  21. Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2009, ‘Anonymous Poems, Nóregs konungatal 10’ in Kari Ellen Gade (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 2: From c. 1035 to c. 1300. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 2. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 768-9.
  22. R. D. Fulk 2012, ‘(Introduction to) Anonymous, Eiríksmál’ 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. 1003.
  23. Diana Whaley 2017, ‘(Introduction to) Glúmr Geirason, Poem about Eiríkr blóðøx’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 194.
  24. Alison Finlay 2012, ‘(Introduction to) Glúmr Geirason, Gráfeldardrápa’ 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. 245.
  25. R. D. Fulk 2012, ‘(Introduction to) Gunnhildr konungamóðir, Lausavísa’ 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. 150.
  26. Not published: do not cite (Egill Arkv 3V (Eg 99))
  27. Not published: do not cite (Egill Hfl 3V (Eg 36))
  28. Not published: do not cite (Egill Lv 7V (Eg 11))
  29. Russell Poole (ed.) 2012, ‘Eyvindr skáldaspillir Finnsson, Lausavísur 1’ 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. 215.
  30. Diana Whaley (ed.) 2012, ‘Glúmr Geirason, Gráfeldardrápa 2’ 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. 249.
  31. Not published: do not cite ()
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