Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to Glúmr Gráf 11I

[7] spjalli jǫfra ‘confidant of princes [JARL = Hákon]’: Snorri (SnE 1998, I, 81) cites the kenning spjalli konungs ‘confidant of a king’ among kennings for jarlar ok hersar ok hirðmenn ‘jarls and hersar and retainers’, quoting Hfr Hákdr 5/2III, in which this kenning is used of Hákon jarl Sigurðarson. The jarl referred to here may well be the same Hákon, who according to the prose accounts (the fullest of which is in Fsk, ÍF 29, 104-9) engineered the killing of Haraldr gráfeldr by persuading Gull-Haraldr, nephew of Haraldr Gormsson of Denmark, to kill Haraldr gráfeldr in order to gain rule over Norway. Hákon then killed Gull-Haraldr on the pretext of his supposed disloyalty to Haraldr Gormsson, and took control over Norway himself. Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson (ÍF 26) notes that the kenning could also apply to the direct agent, Gull-Haraldr.


  1. Bibliography
  2. ÍF 26-8 = Heimskringla. Ed. Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson. 1941-51.
  3. SnE 1998 = Snorri Sturluson. 1998. Edda: Skáldskaparmál. Ed. Anthony Faulkes. 2 vols. University College London: Viking Society for Northern Research.
  4. ÍF 29 = Ágrip af Nóregskonunga sǫgum; Fagrskinna—Nóregs konungatal. Ed. Bjarni Einarsson. 1985.
  5. Internal references
  6. 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.
  7. Kate Heslop (ed.) 2017, ‘Hallfreðr vandræðaskáld Óttarsson, Hákonardrápa 5’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 219.


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