Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to Hfr ErfÓl 1I

[1-4]: The helmingr refers to a lack of gengis þrœnzkra drengja ‘the support of warriors from Trøndelag’ (ll. 1, 4), and to the flight of mǫrg drótt ‘many a band’ (l. 2), and it might be expected that these are the same thing, but this is unclear, as is the identity of these groups. Drótt could mean either the ruler’s personal retinue or just a troop in a battle; the epithet mǫrg ‘many’ would favour the latter, and with it the interpretation, ‘despite lacking a Trøndelag retinue, Óláfr [nevertheless] put many of the [enemy] drótt to flight’ (Ohlmarks 1958, 442). The troops from Trøndelag may be Eiríkr’s men, faithful to him as the jarl of Trøndelag rather than to the king (Ohlmarks loc. cit.; von See 1977a). Alternatively, Hallfreðr may be referring to the part of Óláfr’s own force which made itself unavailable just before the battle (see Context above), as according to HN (MHN 117-19) the missing men were from Trøndelag, but this tradition may itself be based on the present stanza rather than independent information.


  1. Bibliography
  2. MHN = Storm, Gustav, ed. 1880. Monumenta historica Norvegiæ: Latinske kildeskrifter til Norges historie i middelalderen. Kristiania (Oslo): Brøgger. Rpt. 1973. Oslo: Aas & Wahl.
  3. HN = Historia Norwegiæ. In MHN 69-124.
  4. See, Klaus von. 1977a. ‘Polemische Zitate in der Skaldendichtung. Hallfrøðr vandræðaskáld und Haldórr ókristni’. skandinavistik 7, 115-19. Rpt. in von See 1981a, 384-8.
  5. Ohlmarks, Åke. 1958. Tors skalder och Vite-Krists. Trosskiftestidens isländska furstelovskalder, 980-1013. Stockholm: Geber.


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