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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Flokkr — Halli XI FlII

Halli stirði

Russell Poole 2009, ‘(Introduction to) Halli stirði, Flokkr’ 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. 337-43.

 

The occasion for the poem (Halli XI Fl) comes at the point when, after years of mutually destructive warfare, Haraldr Sigurðarson of Norway and Sveinn Úlfsson (also styled Ástríðarson) of Denmark meet in 1064 on an island in the Götaälv to negotiate a peace. A flurry of diplomatic activity on the part of lower-status Danes and Norwegians ensues, designed to persuade the kings to settle their differences. The following sts, which are without title in our sources, commemorate that occasion and its successful outcome. According to Hkr (ÍF 28, 159), the sts were part of a flokkr, a longer poem without a refrain. The account of them in H-Hr (Fms 6, 331-3) does not differ significantly from that of Hkr (ÍF 28, 159-62). All six sts are cited in HSigHkr (ch. 71) and HSigH-Hr (ch. 88). The sts mingle praise for Haraldr and his royal rival Sveinn with critique of both kings and also of the bœndr ‘farmers’ class, while reflecting most unequivocal credit upon the mediators and peace-makers. In this respect, they appear to continue a type of political stance seen in Sigvatr’s Bersǫglisvísur (Sigv Berv). Stylistically the sts appear to belong to the flokkr category of semi-formal skaldic poetry. They can be compared in this respect with Liðsmannaflokkr (Anon LiðsI), Darraðarljóð (Anon DarrV), and a set of vv. ascribed to Torf-Einarr (TorfE LvI) (see Poole 1991). The key stylistic features are an alternation between pres. and pret. narration and between 1st-, 2nd- and 3rd-pers. point of view. The sts are attested in the following mss: for Hkr, , 39, F, E, J2ˣ; for H-Hr, H and Hr. The text of this edn is where possible based upon that of , which however itself contains a few evident errors and possible scribal emendations. The H-Hr tradition contains not merely numerous patent errors but also numerous scribal ‘improvements’, extending to wholesale re-composition of a few ll. (see Louis-Jensen 1977, 152-4), and can be used only with caution in any attempt to advocate a reading that is not supported in the Hkr tradition.

References

  1. Bibliography
  2. Fms = Sveinbjörn Egilsson et al., eds. 1825-37. Fornmanna sögur eptir gömlum handritum útgefnar að tilhlutun hins norræna fornfræða fèlags. 12 vols. Copenhagen: Popp.
  3. Louis-Jensen, Jonna. 1977. Kongesagastudier: Kompilationen Hulda-Hrokkinskinna. BA 32. Copenhagen: Reitzel.
  4. ÍF 26-8 = Heimskringla. Ed. Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson. 1941-51.
  5. Poole, Russell. 1991. Viking Poems on War and Peace: A Study in Skaldic Narrative. Toronto Medieval Texts and Translations 8. Toronto, Buffalo and London: University of Toronto Press.
  6. Internal references
  7. 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].
  8. Kari Ellen Gade 2009, ‘Hulda and Hrokkinskinna (H-Hr)’ 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].
  9. Not published: do not cite (Anon DarrV (Nj))
  10. Russell Poole 2012, ‘(Introduction to) Anonymous, Liðsmannaflokkr’ 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. 1014.
  11. Kari Ellen Gade 2009, ‘(Introduction to) Sigvatr Þórðarson, Bersǫglisvísur’ 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. 11-30.
  12. Russell Poole 2012, ‘(Introduction to) Torf-Einarr Rǫgnvaldsson, 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. 129.
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