Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Lausavísa — Gunnh LvI

Gunnhildr konungamóðir

R. D. Fulk 2012, ‘(Introduction to) Gunnhildr konungamóðir, Lausavísa’ 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. 150.


The authorship of this helmingr (Gunnh Lv) is disputed. The witty use of the ship-kenning and tmesis might appear surprising from someone otherwise unknown as a skald, but it is not known how widespread the ability to compose in dróttkvætt was in the tenth century. Finnur Jónsson (LH I, 444) is willing to entertain the possibility that it was actually composed by Gunnhildr. Olsen (1945a, 11-12) brings arguments against her authorship, though his case is hardly convincing, and elsewhere (Olsen 1962a, 30) he suggests the possibility that the poem was composed by Eyvindr skáldaspillir or by Hákon, the future king and subject of the poem, himself. Jesch (1991a, 162) raises doubts about Gunnhildr’s authorship on the basis of the observation that ‘it is unlikely that Gunnhildr would have dignified the claim of her husband’s deadly rival to rule in Norway by commemorating it in skaldic verse’. The poem is preserved only in the A-class mss of Fsk.


  1. Bibliography
  2. LH = Finnur Jónsson. 1920-4. Den oldnorske og oldislandske litteraturs historie. 3 vols. 2nd edn. Copenhagen: Gad.
  3. Olsen, Magnus. 1962a. Edda- og Skaldekvad. Forarbeider til kommentar. VI. Eyvindr Skáldaspillir, Glúmr Geirason, Einarr Skálaglamm. Avhandlingar utgitt av Det Norske Videnskaps-Akademi i Oslo II. Hist.-filos. kl. new ser. 4. Oslo: Universitetsforlaget.
  4. Jesch, Judith. 1991a. Women in the Viking Age. Woodbridge: Boydell.
  5. Olsen, Magnus. 1945a. Har dronning Gunnhild diktet om Håkon den Gode?. Avhandlinger utgitt av Det Norske videnskaps-akademi i Oslo, II Hist.-filos. kl. 1944, 1. Oslo: Dybwad.

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