Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to Þfagr Sveinn 6II

[6] þarflaust ‘without due cause’: So Skj B (uden skellig grund), whereas Kock (NN §2039) gives the translations till skada för sig själv, olyckligt, i en olycklig stund ‘to his own harm, haplessly, at an ill-fated time’. Because the sacking of Hedeby caused harm to the Danes but not to Haraldr, Kock’s interpretation seems unmotivated. Þarflaust ‘without due cause, without need, unnecessarily’ (see Fritzner: þarflauss) implies that the attack on the town was unprovoked. The very same l. (þarflaust Haraldr austan lit. ‘without due cause Haraldr from the east’) is also found in ÞjóðA Lv 11/4, which he recites at the battle of Stamford Bridge in 1066. Þjóðólfr then uses the same expression to describe Haraldr’s expedition to and attack on England.


  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. Fritzner = Fritzner, Johan. 1883-96. Ordbog over det gamle norske sprog. 3 vols. Kristiania (Oslo): Den norske forlagsforening. 4th edn. Rpt. 1973. Oslo etc.: Universitetsforlaget.
  5. Internal references
  6. Diana Whaley (ed.) 2009, ‘Þjóðólfr Arnórsson, Lausavísur 11’ 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, pp. 175-6.


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