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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.b. Kings of Denmark 1. Knútr inn ríki Sveinsson (r. 1014-1035)

1. Knútr inn ríki Sveinsson (r. 1014-1035)

Knútr (Cnut the Great) was the younger son of Sveinn tjúguskegg Haraldsson (q. v.). He came to rule a North Sea empire spanning Denmark, England and Norway, partially delegating power to earls or jarls. He ruled Denmark after the death of his brother Haraldr (r. 1014-18). From 1016 Knútr was based chiefly in England, where he secured sole rule after the deaths of his father Sveinn (1014) and the English king Æthelred (1016). He married Emma, widow of Æthelred, and distinguished himself as a patron of the church. He was involved, directly or indirectly, in some of the major events of the period including the battles of Á in helga (Helgeå) c. 1026 and Stiklastaðir (Stiklestad) in 1030 (see Biography of Óláfr Haraldsson). See Theodoricus (MHN 25, 29-31, 34; McDougall and McDougall 1998, 19, 22, 25); HN (MHN 121-3; Kunin and Phelpstead 2001, 24-5); Ágr (ÍF 29, 26-8; Ágr 2008, 38-41); Fsk (ÍF 29, 166-7, 172, 182-93, 198, 202-5; Finlay 2004, 133, 138, 147-54, 162-5, 170); Hkr (ÍF 27, 466 (index); Hollander 1964a, 841 (index)); Knýtl (ÍF 35, 100-17, 119-27). Skáldatal (SnE 1848-87, III, 258, 267, 282-3) names Sigvatr (Þórðarson, Sigv), Óttarr svarti (Ótt), Þórarinn loftunga (Þloft), Hallvarðr háreksblesi (HallvIII), Bersi Skáld-Torfuson (Bersi) and Arnórr jarlaskáld (ArnII) as poets of Knútr; also Steinn Skaptason and Óðar-keptr, by whom no poetry survives.

Events documented in the poetry: Killing of English king Ælla (ON Ella) by Knútr’s ancestor Ragnarr loðbrók (Sigv Knútdr 1); Knútr’s English campaign 1015-16: Knútr launches his fleet from Denmark (Ótt Knútdr 1-2; Hallv Knútdr 1-3III); he attacks England (Ótt Knútdr 3-4; Hallv Knútdr 4-5III; Anon Liðs 1-3); fights battles in Lindisey (Lindsey) and Hemmingaborg (Hemingbrough, Ótt Knútdr 5), by the Thesa (Tees) and in Skorsteinn (Sherston, Ótt Knútdr 6), an unidentified place (Anon Liðs 4), Brandfurða (Brentford, Ótt Knútdr 7), by the Temps (Thames, Ótt Knútdr 8; Anon Liðs 5-10), in Norðvík (Norwich, Ótt Knútdr 9), Assatún (Ashingdon) and Danaskógar (the Forest of Dean, Ótt Knútdr 10); Knútr’s expulsion of the sons of Æthelred (Sigv Knútdr 2); kings of Fíf (Fife) submit to Knútr, but Óláfr Haraldsson does not (Sigv Lv 12); Óláfr Haraldsson and Ǫnundr Óláfsson attack Danish territories (Sigv Knútdr 3-6); Knútr sails a great fleet east through Limafjǫrðr (Limfjorden, Sigv Knútdr 7-8); he curtails their plundering (Sigv Knútdr 9); the battle of Á in helga (Helgeå) c. 1026 (ÞSjár Róðdr; Sigv Knútdr 9 (?); Ótt Knútdr 11). Norwegian magnates bribed to support Knútr (Sigv Lv 13-15); Knútr’s superior fleet (Sigv Lv 16-17); his voyage from Limafjǫrðr (Limfjorden) and up the Norwegian coast to Niðaróss (Trondheim) c. 1028 (Þloft Tøgdr 1-5); Knútr appoints his nephew (Hákon Eiríksson) to rule Norway and his son (Hǫrða-Knútr) to rule Denmark (Þloft Tøgdr 6); Knútr’s pilgrimage to Rome (Sigv Knútdr 10-11); extent of his territory (Ótt Lv 2; Hallv Knútdr 6III); general praise (Þloft Hfl). Events of a more individual or informal kind: dealings with the poets Þormóðr Kolbrúnarskáld (Þorm Lv 10-11) and Þórarinn loftunga (Þloft Tøgdr 7-8); Kálfr Árnason’s service of Knútr (BjHall Kálffl 3-4). See also poetry about Óláfr Haraldsson.

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. ÍF 35 = Danakonunga sǫgur. Ed. Bjarni Guðnason. 1982.
  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. 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.
  14. 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).
  15. Internal references
  16. 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].
  17. Diana Whaley 2017, ‘(Biography of) Arnórr jarlaskáld Þórðarson’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 3.
  18. Diana Whaley 2012, ‘(Biography of) Bersi Skáld-Torfuson’ 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. 789.
  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. Matthew Townend 2017, ‘(Biography of) Hallvarðr háreksblesi’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 230.
  21. Matthew Townend 2017, ‘(Biography of) Óttarr svarti’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 335.
  22. Matthew Townend 2012, ‘(Biography of) Sveinn tjúguskegg Haraldsson’ 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. 378.
  23. Matthew Townend 2012, ‘(Biography of) Þórarinn loftunga’ 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. 848.
  24. Not published: do not cite (RloðVIII)
  25. Russell Poole (ed.) 2012, ‘Anonymous Poems, Liðsmannaflokkr 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. 1016.
  26. Russell Poole (ed.) 2012, ‘Anonymous Poems, Liðsmannaflokkr 5’ 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. 1022.
  27. Kari Ellen Gade 2012, ‘(Introduction to) Þórðr Særeksson (Sjáreksson), Róðudrápa’ 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. 242.
  28. Matthew Townend 2012, ‘(Introduction to) Þórarinn loftunga, Hǫfuðlausn’ 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. 849.
  29. Alison Finlay (ed.) 2012, ‘Bjarni gullbrárskáld Hallbjarnarson, Kálfsflokkr 3’ 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. 882.
  30. Matthew Townend (ed.) 2017, ‘Hallvarðr háreksblesi, Knútsdrápa 1’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 231.
  31. Matthew Townend (ed.) 2017, ‘Hallvarðr háreksblesi, Knútsdrápa 4’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 235.
  32. Matthew Townend (ed.) 2017, ‘Hallvarðr háreksblesi, Knútsdrápa 6’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 237.
  33. Russell Poole (ed.) 2012, ‘Anonymous Poems, Liðsmannaflokkr 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. 1020.
  34. Matthew Townend (ed.) 2012, ‘Óttarr svarti, Knútsdrápa 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. 769.
  35. Matthew Townend (ed.) 2012, ‘Óttarr svarti, Knútsdrápa 10’ 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. 779.
  36. Matthew Townend (ed.) 2012, ‘Óttarr svarti, Knútsdrápa 11’ 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. 781.
  37. Matthew Townend (ed.) 2012, ‘Óttarr svarti, Knútsdrápa 3’ 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. 771.
  38. Matthew Townend (ed.) 2012, ‘Óttarr svarti, Knútsdrápa 5’ 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. 772.
  39. Matthew Townend (ed.) 2012, ‘Óttarr svarti, Knútsdrápa 6’ 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. 774.
  40. Matthew Townend (ed.) 2012, ‘Óttarr svarti, Knútsdrápa 7’ 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. 775.
  41. Matthew Townend (ed.) 2012, ‘Óttarr svarti, Knútsdrápa 8’ 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. 777.
  42. Matthew Townend (ed.) 2012, ‘Óttarr svarti, Knútsdrápa 9’ 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. 778.
  43. Matthew Townend (ed.) 2012, ‘Óttarr svarti, Lausavísur 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. 786.
  44. Matthew Townend (ed.) 2012, ‘Sigvatr Þórðarson, Knútsdrápa 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. 651.
  45. Matthew Townend (ed.) 2012, ‘Sigvatr Þórðarson, Knútsdrápa 10’ 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. 661.
  46. Matthew Townend (ed.) 2012, ‘Sigvatr Þórðarson, Knútsdrápa 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. 652.
  47. Matthew Townend (ed.) 2012, ‘Sigvatr Þórðarson, Knútsdrápa 3’ 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. 653.
  48. Matthew Townend (ed.) 2012, ‘Sigvatr Þórðarson, Knútsdrápa 7’ 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. 658.
  49. Matthew Townend (ed.) 2012, ‘Sigvatr Þórðarson, Knútsdrápa 9’ 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. 660.
  50. R. D. Fulk (ed.) 2012, ‘Sigvatr Þórðarson, Lausavísur 12’ 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. 714.
  51. R. D. Fulk (ed.) 2012, ‘Sigvatr Þórðarson, Lausavísur 13’ 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. 715.
  52. R. D. Fulk (ed.) 2012, ‘Sigvatr Þórðarson, Lausavísur 16’ 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. 719.
  53. Matthew Townend (ed.) 2012, ‘Þórarinn loftunga, Tøgdrápa 7’ 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. 861.
  54. Matthew Townend (ed.) 2012, ‘Þórarinn loftunga, Tøgdrápa 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. 852.
  55. Matthew Townend (ed.) 2012, ‘Þórarinn loftunga, Tøgdrápa 6’ 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. 860.
  56. R. D. Fulk (ed.) 2012, ‘Þormóðr Kolbrúnarskáld, Lausavísur 10’ 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. 823.
  57. Not published: do not cite ()
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