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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Lausavísur — Eskál LvI

Einarr skálaglamm Helgason

Margaret Clunies Ross 2012, ‘(Introduction to) Einarr skálaglamm Helgason, Lausavísur’ 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, p. 330.

 

Three dróttkvætt lausavísur attributed to Einarr skálaglamm Helgason (Eskál Lv 1-3) are extant (for the meaning of the nickname skálaglamm see below, and Biography above). Lv 1 and 2 are preserved in significantly differing versions within the kings’ sagas tradition (Jvs and Fsk) on the one hand and within the sagas of Icelanders (Egils saga (Eg)) on the other, and are therefore printed both in SkP I (designated Lv 1a and Lv 2a) and in SkP V (designated Lv 1bV (Eg 124) and Lv 2bV (Eg 125)), where the Eg text is given priority.

All three of Lv 1-3 are found in two mss of Jvs, viz. 291 of the second half of the thirteenth century and 510 of the mid-sixteenth century, as well as in the version of the saga incorporated into the saga of Óláfr Tryggvason in Flat (ms. Flat), while the Jvs ms. 7, of the early fourteenth century, contains Lv 2 and 3 only. Lv 3 is also in Fsk, in the A-group ms. FskAˣ and the B-group FskBˣ and 51ˣ. On the complex relationships between the texts of Jvs, see ‘Sources’ in Introduction to this volume. Lv 3/1-4 is also preserved in LaufE.

In all likelihood, Einarr’s lausavísur and the short narratives about his nickname had their origin in Icelandic oral tradition. Lv 1 shows significant differences between ms. versions, especially in the second helmingr. The texts of the stanza in the Jvs A-redaction mss (291 and Flat) are very similar, while the M ms. which represents the A-redaction of Eg shows clear affinities, particularly in the first helmingr, with 510, a mixed Jvs AB ms. This suggests that the A-redaction of Eg is most likely to have had access to a B-redaction ms. of Jvs (like the authors of the accounts in Fsk and Hkr) and that this text followed that redaction. For details of the Eg mss, see Introduction to these stanzas in SkP V.

In the edition below, 291 is taken as the base ms. for Lv 1a and 2a, as it is the earliest ms. and assumed by Foote (1959a, 28) to have had an archaic exemplar, while the version of M is the base ms. for the texts in SkP V. Einarr’s Lv 3 occurs only in mss of Jvs (291, 7, 510), and in episodes derived from Jvs in Flat and Fsk; again, therefore, 291 is the base ms.

Eskál Lv 1-3 are set in Jvs within narratives involving the Icelandic skalds who attended Hákon jarl Sigurðarson and his son Eiríkr. Einarr is the first named, followed by Vigfúss Víga-Glúmsson, Þórðr ǫrvahǫnd ‘Left-handed’ and Þorleifr skúma ‘the Dusky’ (?) Þorkelsson, and the various versions of Jvs include a number of verses attributed to these skalds. In Einarr’s case, Lv 1a and 2a accompany a short account of his displeasure at Hákon jarl’s failure to honour him for his poetry, as the jarl apparently used to do, which leads Einarr to threaten to transfer his allegiance to Sigvaldi Strút-Haraldsson, the Danish leader of the Jómsvíkingar. Hákon mollifies the skald and averts his transfer of loyalty to Sigvaldi, according to Jvs, with a gift of a pair of scales, made of burnished silver and gilded all over, which had a set of magical weights that produced a tinkling noise (glamm) in the bowl when the weight turned out to be what the jarl wanted. This story is used in Jvs to explain a change in Einarr’s nickname: before this episode he was called Skjaldmeyjar-Einarr ‘Einarr of the Shield-maiden’ (this information is only here, and for reasons not given); after it he acquired the nickname skálaglamm ‘Tinkle-scales’. (For further discussion of the nickname see Biography of Einarr above.) Lv 3 is attached to the famous sea-battle of Hjǫrungavágr (modern Liavågen in Sunnmøre, Norway), where the jarls fought against and defeated the Jómsvíkingar c. 985.

For lists of Jvs, Flat and Fsk editions, see ‘Sources’ in Introduction to this volume. Editions of Eg used here are those of Finnur Jónsson (Eg 1886-8) and Sigurður Nordal (ÍF 2, 1933), Bjarni Einarsson’s edition of the A-redaction (Eg 2001) and his critical edition based on M (Eg 2003), and Chesnutt’s edition of the C-redaction (Eg 2006).

References

  1. Bibliography
  2. Eg 2003 = Bjarni Einarsson, ed. 2003. Egils saga. University College London: Viking Society for Northern Research.
  3. ÍF 2 = Egils saga Skalla-Grímssonar. Ed. Sigurður Nordal. 1933.
  4. SkP I = Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 1: From Mythical Times to c. 1035. Ed. Diana Whaley. 2012.
  5. SkP V = Poetry in Sagas of Icelanders. Ed. Tarrin Wills, Kari Ellen Gade and Margaret Clunies Ross. Forthcoming.
  6. Eg 1886-8 = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1886-8. Egils saga Skallagrímssonar tilligemed Egils större kvad. SUGNL 17. Copenhagen: Møller & Thomsen.
  7. Eg 2006 = Chesnutt, Michael, ed. 2006. Egils saga Skallagrímssonar. III. C-redaktionen. EA A 21. Copenhagen: Reitzel.
  8. Foote, Peter G. 1959a. ‘Notes on Some Linguistic Features in AM 291 4to’. Íslenzk tunga 1, 26-46.
  9. Internal references
  10. 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].
  11. Not published: do not cite (EgV)
  12. Diana Whaley 2012, ‘Flateyjarbók (Flat)’ 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. clxi-clxii.
  13. Edith Marold 2017, ‘(Biography of) Einarr skálaglamm Helgason’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 137.
  14. 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.
  15. Diana Whaley 2012, ‘(Biography of) Óláfr Tryggvason’ 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, p. 383.
  16. Not published: do not cite (Egill Lv 8V (Eg 12))
  17. Not published: do not cite (Eskál Lv 1bV (Eg 124))
  18. Not published: do not cite (Eskál Lv 2bV (Eg 125 [b]))
  19. Kari Ellen Gade 2009, ‘Laufás Edda (LaufE)’ 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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