Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to Þjóð Yt 15I

[All]: This stanza sets the death of Óttarr in Denmark, at a place called Vendill which Þjóðólfr may have associated with Vendsyssel, north of Limfjorden in Jutland. However, this is generally assumed to stem from a misinterpretation of Swedish tradition on Þjóðólfr’s part, which was then taken up by HN and by Snorri in Hkr. According to numerous scholars (e.g. Vikstrand 2004, 379-83), the p. n. Vendill originally designated the region Vendel, north of Uppsala. This identification has been made partly because of the exceptionally large burial mound there, known as Ottarshögen since the second half of the C17th. Although it cannot be proven that the ruler buried there was the Óttarr of Yt, the dating of the Vendel finds corresponds roughly to that of the stanza’s historical background inasmuch as it may be inferred from Beowulf. A further indication that Vendill is the Vendel district in Sweden has been seen in Vendilkráka, the king’s nickname, which appears in Hkr. However, this nickname applies to Egill in HN and Íslb, not to Óttarr. Vendelkråkor is said to have been a comical designation for people from Vendel over a long period (Vikstrand 2004, 380-3). The assumption has been that Snorri transferred Egill’s nickname to his son Óttarr (Bugge 1894, 141; Storm 1899, 109; Krag 1991, 121). If this is correct, the association with the region in Sweden would also apply to Egill.


  1. Bibliography
  2. Krag, Claus. 1991. Ynglingatal og Ynglingesaga. En studie i historiske Kilder. Studia Humaniora 2. Oslo: Universitetsforlaget.
  3. HN = Historia Norwegiæ. In MHN 69-124.
  4. Bugge, Sophus. 1894. Bidrag til den ældste skaldedigtnings historie. Christiania (Oslo): Aschehoug.
  5. Storm, Gustav. 1899. ‘Ynglingatal, dets forfatter og forfattelsestid’. ANF 15, 107-41.
  6. Vikstrand, Per. 2004. ‘Skúta and Vendil. Two Place Names in Ynglingatal’. In Nahl et al. 2004, 372-87.
  7. Internal references
  8. 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].
  9. Not published: do not cite (ÍslbIV)
  10. Edith Marold with the assistance of Vivian Busch, Jana Krüger, Ann-Dörte Kyas and Katharina Seidel, translated from German by John Foulks 2012, ‘(Introduction to) Þjóðólfr ór Hvini, Ynglingatal’ 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. 3.
  11. Not published: do not cite ()


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