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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Runhent poem about Haraldr — ÞjóðA RunII

Þjóðólfr Arnórsson

Diana Whaley 2009, ‘(Introduction to) Þjóðólfr Arnórsson, Runhent poem about Haraldr’ 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. 103-7.

 

The four fragments traditionally assigned to the poem (ÞjóðA Run) are united by their runhent metre (cf. SnE 1999, 33-7), and clearly belong to a poem for Haraldr Sigurðarson. His son Óláfr kyrri ‘the Quiet’ was born shortly after c. 1050, so the kenning ‘Óláfr’s father’ in st. 2 sets the poem after that date (as noted in SnE 1848-87, III, 583). Stanza 1 clearly refers to the young Haraldr’s joint military command in the Baltic, and is attached to narratives of this in Hkr ( as main ms., 39, F, E) and H-Hr (H, Hr). Stanzas 2-4 are preserved together in SnE (R as main ms., , W, with 2, 3 also in U) because they illustrate kennings that identify a man by his kin. Stanza 2 (and hence implicitly 3 and 4) is introduced as being composed by Þjóðólfr concerning Haraldr, but no formal title is given for the source poem either here or in the introduction to st. 1. The order (sts 2, 3, 4) seems rather random and does not necessarily match that of the original poem. However, the action of sts 1 and 3 took place in the early 1030s, while Magnús’s death, mentioned in st. 4, was 1047. Stanza 2’s general praise of Haraldr’s harðræði ‘tough exploits’, which chimes interestingly with the nickname harðráði ‘Hard-rule’ by which he was known to posterity, could suggest that this was either part of the slœmr ‘conclusion’ or a stef ‘refrain’, though there is no other evidence for a stef. In the absence of clear grounds to depart from the SnE ordering it is retained in this edn, as also in Skj. SnE 1848-87, III, 582-3 suggested 1, 3, 2, 4, and CPB has 2, 3, 1, 4. Fidjestøl lists the sts in this order but marks the ordering of 2 and 3 as uncertain.

References

  1. Bibliography
  2. SnE 1848-87 = Snorri Sturluson. 1848-87. Edda Snorra Sturlusonar: Edda Snorronis Sturlaei. Ed. Jón Sigurðsson et al. 3 vols. Copenhagen: Legatum Arnamagnaeanum. Rpt. Osnabrück: Zeller, 1966.
  3. CPB = Gudbrand Vigfusson [Guðbrandur Vigfússon] and F. York Powell, eds. 1883. Corpus poeticum boreale: The Poetry of the Old Northern Tongue from the Earliest Times to the Thirteenth Century. 2 vols. Oxford: Clarendon. Rpt. 1965, New York: Russell & Russell.
  4. SnE 1999 = Snorri Sturluson. 1999. Edda: Háttatal. Ed. Anthony Faulkes. Rpt. with addenda and corrigenda. University College London: Viking Society for Northern Research.
  5. Internal references
  6. Edith Marold 2017, ‘Snorra Edda (Prologue, Gylfaginning, Skáldskaparmál)’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols [check printed volume for citation].
  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].
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