Kari Ellen Gade 2009, ‘(Introduction to) Anonymous, Nóregs konungatal’ 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. 761-806.
Nóregs konungatal ‘Enumeration of the Kings of Norway’ (Anon Nkt) is recorded in its entirety on fols 144va-b of Flateyjarbók (Flat). Stanza 29/1-4 is also preserved on fol. 72v in a later copy of Fsk (AM 301 4°ˣ = 301ˣ), in the hand of Árni Magnússon. The title of the poem is given in Flat in red ink at the bottom of fol. 144rb: ... Noreghs konga tal er Sæmundr frodi orti ‘... Nóregs konungatal which Sæmundr fróði (‘the Learned’) composed’. The erroneous attribution to Sæmundr (d. 1133) most likely stemmed from the wording in st. 36/7-8: sem Sæmundr sagði inn fróði ‘as Sæmundr inn fróði (‘the Learned’) said’. In Flat the poem is located between Orkn and Brenna Adams byskups (‘the Burning of Bishop Adam’; see ÍF 34, 298-300).
Nkt is an encomium in kviðuháttr metre composed in honour of the Icel. chieftain Jón Loptsson of Oddi, grandson of Sæmundr Sigfússon and foster-father of Snorri Sturluson (for the family of the Oddaverjar, see Halldór Hermannsson 1932b; for Jón Loptsson, see ‘Biographies of Other Dignitaries’ in Introduction to this vol.). The poet is unknown, but some scholars have speculated that the poem could have been an early composition of Snorri’s (Mogk 1888, 240-4), while others reject that attribution (see LH 1894-1901, II, 114-15). Nkt traces Jón’s ancestry to the Norw. royal dynasty of Haraldr hárfagri (Jón’s mother, Þóra, was the daughter of King Magnús berfœttr Óláfsson), and it gives the regnal years, the mode of death and the burial place of each of the Norw. monarchs. Hence Nkt was clearly modelled on the earlier genealogical kviðuháttr poems Ynglingatal (Þjóð YtI) and Háleygjatal (Eyv HálI). Because the poet made use of a written royal genealogy composed by Sæmundr up until the year 1047 (see above and st. 36), Nkt is an important source for our knowledge of the chronology in the earliest kings’ sagas (see Gjessing 1896; Bjarni Einarsson in ÍF 29, lxx-lxxv; Ólafía Einarsdóttir 1964, 165-83). The poem must have been composed prior to Jón’s death on 1 November 1197. Because it mentions the death of Magnús Erlingsson (d. 1184) in sts 63-4 and the reign of Sverrir Sigurðarson (d. 1202) is described as current (st. 65), the poem is usually dated to around 1190.
The order of sts in Nkt presents no problem, but, as is common in most kviðuháttr poems, the poet frequently avails himself of concatenations of clauses which obliterate stanzaic boundaries and helmingr boundaries (see Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson in ÍF 26, xxxvii; Gade 2005). In Flat, the poem is recorded as a series of eighty-three eight-l. sts. The end of each st. is marked by a period, and the beginning of the next is signalled by a capital letter in black and red. Both Skj and Skald retain the stanzaic divisions of Flat, which results in awkward incomplete syntax (with clauses straddling stanzaic boundaries). Because it is doubtful whether poems in kviðuháttr metre were originally conceived of as sequences of eight ll. (see ÍF 26, xxxvii; Gade 2005), the present edn attempts to accommodate the syntactic and contextual structure of the poem, and some sts contain more than eight ll. Hence the numbering of the seventy-five sts diverges from that of earlier eds (st. 6 = Skj sts 6-7; st. 10 = Skj sts 11-12; st. 16 = Skj sts 18-19; st. 25 = Skj sts 28-9; st. 39 = Skj sts 43-4; st. 54 = Skj sts 59-60/4; st. 55 = Skj sts 60/5-61; st. 60 = Skj sts 66-67/4; st. 61 = Skj sts 67/5-68; st. 68 = Skj sts 75-6).
The poem was first edited in 1787 by Jón Eiríksson (Jon Loptssöns Encomiast…; see Fms 10, xiv) and in 1835 by Sveinbjörn Egilsson in Fms 10, 422-33, with variants from the 1787 edn. A Lat. version of the 1835 edn with ON prose w. o. is found in vol. 10 of SHI (pp. 393-419). These early eds are outdated and have not been considered in the present edn, which includes Flat 1860-8, Skj and Skald in the critical apparatus.
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