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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Tryggvaflokkr — Sigv TryggflI

Sigvatr Þórðarson

Judith Jesch 2012, ‘(Introduction to) Sigvatr Þórðarson, Tryggvaflokkr’ 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. 643.

 

This is the only surviving stanza of TryggvaflokkrFlokkr about Tryggvi’, attributed to Sigvatr Þórðarson (Sigv Tryggfl). Tryggvi Óláfsson was a pretender to the Norwegian throne who claimed to be the son of Óláfr Tryggvason (r. c. 995-1000), but was killed c. 1032 by the Dane King Sveinn Álfífuson, who had then been ruling Norway for two or three years; their clash is also commemorated in the sole extant stanza of the Flokkr about Sveinn Álfífuson (Anon Sveinfl). The mss which cite Tryggfl all introduce it by saying it is from a poem called Tryggvaflokkr, but only 325V attributes this poem to Sigvatr, both before and after the citation. It is often claimed (ÍF 27, 413; Fidjestøl 1982, 122; Jón Skaptason 1983, 270; Hkr 1991, 555) that Bergsbók (Bb) also attributes the stanza to Sigvatr, but this appears incorrect. Hellberg (1972, 24-30) has attempted to link this stanza (and Anon Sveinfl) to Sigvatr’s Nesjavísur (Sigv Nesv); there is a similarity, in that in both the poet claims to have been an eyewitness to the battle, but a major point in his argument rests on weak foundations (see Note to l. 1 below). There are some similarities of diction with Sigvatr’s better-attested work, instanced in the Notes below, though these do not constitute decisive evidence. Nor is the skald’s claim (l. 5) that he was present at the battle decisive in the absence of evidence as to who fought there, though it may be true (as argued in LH I, 589) that Sigvatr would have been likely to sympathise with an uprising against the unpopular Danish rule. Other scholars have mostly accepted the medieval evidence that this stanza is the work of Sigvatr and is a fragment of a poem other than Nesv. That position is also adopted in this edition, while bearing in mind that the attribution to Sigvatr rests on the evidence of one ms. only and may have arisen because, as the prose accounts note, Tryggvi fell close to Bókn in Sóknarsund (Bokn in Boknafjorden, Rogaland) where Erlingr Skjálgsson fell, also the subject of a composition by Sigvatr (Sigv Erlfl).

This stanza is preserved in Snorri Sturluson’s Óláfs saga helga in both the Separate version (ÓH) and Hkr version (ÓHHkr), as well as in ÓT. The mss used are listed below; is the main ms.

References

  1. Bibliography
  2. Fidjestøl, Bjarne. 1982. Det norrøne fyrstediktet. Universitet i Bergen Nordisk institutts skriftserie 11. Øvre Ervik: Alvheim & Eide.
  3. LH = Finnur Jónsson. 1920-4. Den oldnorske og oldislandske litteraturs historie. 3 vols. 2nd edn. Copenhagen: Gad.
  4. ÍF 26-8 = Heimskringla. Ed. Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson. 1941-51.
  5. Hkr 1991 = Bergljót S. Kristjánsdóttir et al., eds. 1991. Heimskringla. 3 vols. Reykjavík: Mál og menning.
  6. Jón Skaptason. 1983. ‘Material for an Edition and Translation of the Poems of Sigvat Þórðarson, skáld’. Ph.D. thesis. State University of New York at Stony Brook. DAI 44: 3681A.
  7. Hellberg, Staffan. 1972. ‘Slaget vid Nesjar och “Sven jarl Håkonsson”’. SI 23, 21-30.
  8. Internal references
  9. 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].
  10. Diana Whaley 2012, ‘The Separate Saga of S. Óláfr / Óláfs saga helga in sérstaka (ÓH)’ 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. clxxvi-clxxix.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. Not published: do not cite (ÓHHkrI)
  14. Judith Jesch 2017, ‘(Biography of) Sigvatr Þórðarson’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 347.
  15. Diana Whaley 2012, ‘(Introduction to) Anonymous, Flokkr about Sveinn Álfífuson’ 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. 1029.
  16. Judith Jesch 2012, ‘(Introduction to) Sigvatr Þórðarson, Flokkr about Erlingr Skjálgsson’ 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. 629.
  17. Russell Poole 2012, ‘(Introduction to) Sigvatr Þórðarson, Nesjavísur’ 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. 555.
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Information about a text: poem, sequence of stanzas, or prose work

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