Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to Hókr Eirfl 2I

[5-8]: This helmingr has proven problematic for earlier eds because both hreina ‘reindeer’ and Skônunga ‘Skánungar’ can be either gen. pl. or acc. pl., and the verb krefja takes the gen. and the acc. (krefja e-n e-s ‘demand sth. (gen.) from sby (acc.)’ or ‘summon sby (acc.) to sth. (gen.)’). (a) The present edn follows NN §2920 (and ÍF 29), according to which hreina húnlagar ‘the reindeer of the mast-top-liquid [SEA > SHIPS]’ (l. 5) is the acc. object and fundar ‘meeting’ (l. 8) the gen. object of krefja. Skônunga (gen. pl., lit. ‘of the Skánungar’) is then construed as a gen. attributive to fundar, hence fundar Skônunga ‘(summoned) to a meeting with the Skánungar’ (for similar constructions, see NN §2920 and Heggstad et al. 2008: fundr 3). The Skánungar are the Danish troops of King Sveinn, the ally of Eiríkr jarl. (b) Finnur Jónsson (Skj B) construes the clause as follows: þás jarl Skônunga hafði of krafða lagar húnhreina fundar translated as da Skåningernes jarl havde samlet skibene til møde ‘when the jarl of the Skánungar had gathered the ships for a meeting’. This interpretation is difficult to reconcile with the sequence of events, since jarl Skônunga ‘the jarl of the Skánungar’ can only refer to Sigvaldi jarl, whereas jarl throughout the poem refers to Eiríkr. It emerges from the prose of Hkr, nevertheless, that the saga author believed that the jarl was Sigvaldi (ÍF 26, 353): Hér segir, at þeir Óláfr konungr ok Sigvaldi jarl hǫfðu sjau tigu skipa ok einu meirr, þá er þeir sigldu sunnan ‘Here it is told that King Óláfr and Sigvaldi jarl had seventy-one ships when they sailed from the south’. (c) Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson (ÍF 26) takes Skônunga as acc. pl. and hreina húnlagar as gen. pl.: þás jarl hafði of krafða Skônunga húnlagar hreina fundar in the sense ‘when the jarl [= Eiríkr] had demanded ships for the battle from the Skánungar’; fundar is tentatively taken to mean ‘for the battle’. However, the prose does not mention anything about Eiríkr enlisting Skánungar, men from Skåne (then a part of Denmark); rather, he and his Swedish ally, Óláfr sœnski, gather troops in Sweden (see Context to st. 1 above).


  1. Bibliography
  2. Skj B = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1912-15b. Den norsk-islandske skjaldedigtning. B: Rettet tekst. 2 vols. Copenhagen: Villadsen & Christensen. Rpt. 1973. Copenhagen: Rosenkilde & Bagger.
  3. NN = Kock, Ernst Albin. 1923-44. Notationes Norrœnæ: Anteckningar till Edda och skaldediktning. Lunds Universitets årsskrift new ser. 1. 28 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  4. ÍF 26-8 = Heimskringla. Ed. Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson. 1941-51.
  5. ÍF 29 = Ágrip af Nóregskonunga sǫgum; Fagrskinna—Nóregs konungatal. Ed. Bjarni Einarsson. 1985.
  6. Internal references
  7. 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].


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