Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Bjbp Jóms 29I

Emily Lethbridge (ed.) 2012, ‘Bjarni byskup Kolbeinsson, Jómsvíkingadrápa 29’ 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. 984.

Bjarni byskup KolbeinssonJómsvíkingadrápa

Vagn hefr orðit ýtum
ǫrfengr at bǫð strangri;
með fullhuga frœknum
framm gengu vel drengir,
þar er í Yggjar éli
Áka sonr inn ríki
brátt, frák, hann at hlœði
hugprúðum Ármóði.

Vagn hefr orðit ǫrfengr ýtum at strangri bǫð; drengir gengu vel framm með frœknum fullhuga, þar er frák, at hann, {inn ríki sonr Áka}, hlœði brátt hugprúðum Ármóði í {éli Yggjar}.

Vagn became quickly dominant over men in the severe battle; warriors pressed forward well with the daring one full of courage, where I have heard that he, {the powerful son of Áki} [= Vagn], soon felled the staunch-hearted Ármóðr in {the storm of Yggr <= Óðinn>} [BATTLE].

Mss: R(54r); 61(19vb), 53(16rb), 54(16ra), Bb(26rb) (ÓT)

Readings: [2] strangri: strengja Bb    [4] gengu: í gegn Bb;    drengir: drengjum Bb    [7] hann at: at hann Bb

Editions: Skj AII, 6-7, Skj BII, 7, Skald II, 4; Fms 11, 171, Fms 12, 245, Jvs 1879, 114-15; Fms 1, 172, Fms 12, 42, ÓT 1958-2000, I, 189 (ch. 90), Ólafur Halldórsson 2000, 26, 79.

Context: Vagn Ákason unleashes a fierce attack on the troop of Sveinn Hákonarson, who takes to flight. Eiríkr Hákonarson takes up the fight against Vagn, who retreats but nevertheless fights with great valour and kills many of Eiríkr’s men, including Ármóðr, a powerful man and a great champion.

Notes: [2] ǫrfengr ‘quickly dominant’: LP: ǫrfengr glosses this rare cpd as rask erhværvende, som er hurtig til og rask i at erhværve (sig noget), dygtig ‘brisk in gaining, who is quick and bold in getting (oneself something), effective’, and ǫrfengr ýtum here as som vinder fordele (sejre) overfor mænd ‘who wins advantages (victories) over men’. The cpd is composed of ǫrr ‘brisk, bold’ and fengr, which is related to the p. p. of ‘to get’ and is found in compounds including harðfengr ‘valiant, tenacious, getting with force’ (with which Fms 12, 245 glosses ǫrfengr in this stanza, and see LP: harðfengr). — [4] gengu : drengir: Aðalhending in an even line is not normal in Jóms; see Note to st. 24/2. — [5] þar er ‘where’: The subordinate clause is here taken with drengir gengu framm ‘warriors pressed forward’. Alternatively, it could be taken with Vagn hefr orðit … ‘Vagn became …’ (ll. 1-2), in which case the clause in ll. 3-4 is intercalary and the stanza is a unified whole. — [8] hugprúðum Ármóði ‘the staunch-hearted Ármóðr’: This is presumably Ármóðr of Ǫnundarfjǫrðr who was said to have been positioned opposite Sigurðr kápa: see Context to st. 20, st. 21/6 and Note.


  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. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  4. LP = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1931. Lexicon poeticum antiquæ linguæ septentrionalis: Ordbog over det norsk-islandske skjaldesprog oprindelig forfattet af Sveinbjörn Egilsson. 2nd edn. Copenhagen: Møller.
  5. ÓT 1958-2000 = Ólafur Halldórsson, ed. 1958-2000. Saga Óláfs Tryggvasonar en mesta. 3 vols. EA A 1-3. Copenhagen: Munksgaard (Reitzel).
  6. Jvs 1879 = Petersens, Carl af, ed. 1879. Jómsvíkinga saga (efter Cod. AM. 510, 4:to) samt Jómsvíkinga drápa. Lund: Gleerup.
  7. Ólafur Halldórsson. 2000. Danish Kings and the Jomsvikings in the Greatest Saga of Óláfr Tryggvason. London: Viking Society for Northern Research.
  8. Internal references
  9. Matthew Townend 2012, ‘(Biography of) Vagn Ákason’ 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. 365.
  10. Emily Lethbridge 2012, ‘(Introduction to) Bjarni byskup Kolbeinsson, Jómsvíkingadrápa’ 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. 954.

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