Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

Menu Search

Note to ÞKolb Eirdr 1I

[2] ítrir ‘excellent’: The variants to this word in the cadence of l. 2 give rise to various possible readings of the helmingr, none of which is wholly unproblematic. (a) Ítrir in J1ˣ and the ÓT mss gives the syntax and sense shown above (similarly Skj B; ÍF 26). Another m. nom. pl. adj., ríkir ‘powerful’, in F and 325VIII 1 supports the syntax suggested by ítrir, though ríkir itself appears to be corrupt. Ítrir ‘excellent’ is a slightly unexpected epithet for fearful búendr ‘farmers’, since it usually qualifies words for warriors, rulers and deities (LP: ítr), and Kock (NN §579) signals unease. However, these farmers are the countrymen of the hero Eiríkr, and the adj. could serve to show that the attacking force was sufficient to terrify even the bold. Alternatively, the epithet could be ironic. (b) Háska ‘danger’ is the reading of the main ms. and of J2ˣ, representing both branches of the Hkr stemma. It gives good sense if it is taken in apposition with stór stríð ‘great strife’, as it is by Kock (Skald; NN §§579, 1854B), who also construes of meiðir stála ‘because of the trees of steel [WARRIORS]’ with stór stríð. However, an aðalhending sôusk: hásk- would be imperfect.


  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. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  4. NN = Kock, Ernst Albin. 1923-44. Notationes Norrœnæ: Anteckningar till Edda och skaldediktning. Lunds Universitets årsskrift new ser. 1. 28 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  5. LP = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1931. Lexicon poeticum antiquæ linguæ septentrionalis: Ordbog over det norsk-islandske skjaldesprog oprindelig forfattet af Sveinbjörn Egilsson. 2nd edn. Copenhagen: Møller.
  6. ÍF 26-8 = Heimskringla. Ed. Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson. 1941-51.
  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. Diana Whaley 2012, ‘The Greatest Saga of Óláfr Tryggvason / Óláfs saga Tryggvasonar in mesta (ÓT)’ 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. clxiii-clxvi.


Log in

This service is only available to members of the relevant projects, and to purchasers of the skaldic volumes published by Brepols.
This service uses cookies. By logging in you agree to the use of cookies on your browser.