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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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ESk Geisl 34VII

Martin Chase (ed.) 2007, ‘Einarr Skúlason, Geisli 34’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 34-5.

Einarr SkúlasonGeisli

Satts, at silfri skreytta
seggjum hollr ok golli
hér lét Gutthormr gerva
— grams hróðr vas þat — róðu.
Þat hafa menn at minnum
meir; jartegna þeira
mark stendr Krists í kirkju
— konungs niðr gaf þat — miðri.

Satts, at Gutthormr, hollr seggjum, hér lét gerva róðu, skreytta silfri ok golli; þat vas hróðr grams. Þat hafa menn meir at minnum: mark þeira jartegna stendr í miðri Krists kirkju; {konungs niðr} gaf þat.

It is true that Gutthormr, devoted to men, here had an image made, ornamented with silver and gold; that was praise of the king. Men have that still as a reminder: the mark of those miracles stands in the middle of Kristkirken; {the king’s relative} [= Gutthormr] gave that.

Mss: Flat(2rb), Bb(117vb)

Readings: [1] Satts (‘Satt er’): so Bb, Satt var Flat    [2] hollr: hollz Bb;    ok: af Bb    [3] Gutthormr: so Bb, ‘guthorm’ Flat;    gerva: so Bb, ‘g[...]fa’ Flat    [4] grams hróðr vas þat róðu: ‘[...]ar þat [...]du’ Flat, grams hróðr er þat róðu Bb    [5] Þat: slíkt Bb    [8] niðr: so Bb, ‘[...]’ Flat;    gaf þat miðri: so Bb, ‘g[...]f [...]id[...]’ Flat

Editions: Skj AI, 465, Skj BI, 435, Skald I, 215, NN §§938, 2247D; Flat 1860-8, I, 4, Cederschiöld 1873, 5, Chase 2005, 84, 149-50.

Notes: [All]: HómNo and ÓHLeg use language strikingly similar to this st. in their accounts of Gutthormr’s donation of the memorial cross: ok let gera þegar roðo ſva myccla ór ſilfri at allz coſtar er hon lengri ok mæri en manzvaxtar. ok pryddi þegar þeſ hælga manz húſ með þærri dyrð ſér til ſalo-bota. ok til minni ok fra-ſagnar iarteina þærra en hinn helgi Oláfr konungr gerði þa við hann ‘and he immediately had such a large silver image made, that it is at least taller and bigger than a man. And he immediately ornamented the house of this holy man with that treasure for the salvation of his soul and as a reminder and a record of the miracles which the holy King Óláfr performed then for him’ (HómNo, 113; cf. ÓHLeg 1982, 212). — [2] hollr ‘devoted’: Finnur Jónsson and Kock choose hollz, the Bb reading. Finnur construes, Gutthormr lét her gerva róðu grams, seggjum holls, skreytta silfri ok golli; þat es hróðr ‘Gutthormr had men make the cross of the king, true to men, adorned with silver and gold; that is praise’ (Skj B). Kock’s version is smoother: he construes seggjum holls grams with hróðr: ‘that is praise of the king, friendly to men’ (NN §§938 and 2247D). The Flat text can also be read as it stands, as given above. — [3, 4, 8]: Flat’s text is all but illegible in ll. 3, 4 and 8. In these cases, Bb is the only witness now, although earlier eds were able to read more of Flat. Skj A reports Flat’s viðr for Bb’s niðr in l. 8. — [6] þeira jartegna ‘of those miracles’: This phrase may be taken either with mark (l. 7), as here, or in the first cl. of helmingr b, with at minnum ‘as a reminder of those miracles’. — [7, 8] í miðri Krists kirkju ‘in the middle of Kristkirken’: This can be understood as a simple reference to the position of Gutthormr’s crucifix in the church, or as a more grandiose claim that the sign of Óláfr’s honour holds a central place in Christendom. The Norwegians were proud of the popularity of Trondheim as a pilgrimage goal. — [8] niðr ‘relative’: According to earlier eds, Flat read viðr ‘wood’, which has obvious associations with the image of the Cross, but makes no sense as the only possible subject of gaf ‘gave’.


  1. Bibliography
  2. Skj A = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1912-15a. Den norsk-islandske skjaldedigtning. A: Tekst efter håndskrifterne. 2 vols. Copenhagen: Villadsen & Christensen. Rpt. 1967. Copenhagen: Rosenkilde & Bagger.
  3. Skj B = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1912-15b. Den norsk-islandske skjaldedigtning. B: Rettet tekst. 2 vols. Copenhagen: Villadsen & Christensen. Rpt. 1973. Copenhagen: Rosenkilde & Bagger.
  4. Cederschiöld, Gustaf J. Chr., ed. 1873b. ‘Bandamanna saga’. Acta Universitatis Lundensis 10.
  5. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  6. NN = Kock, Ernst Albin. 1923-44. Notationes Norrœnæ: Anteckningar till Edda och skaldediktning. Lunds Universitets årsskrift new ser. 1. 28 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  7. Cederschiöld, Gustaf J. Chr., ed. 1873a. Geisli eða Óláfs Drápa ens Helga er Einarr orti Skúlason: efter ‘Bergsboken’ utgifven. Acta Universitatis Lundensis 10. Lund: Berling.
  8. Chase, Martin, ed. 2005. Einarr Skúlason’s Geisli. A Critical Edition. Toronto Old Norse and Icelandic Studies 1. Toronto, Buffalo and London: Toronto University Press.
  9. Flat 1860-8 = Gudbrand Vigfusson [Guðbrandur Vigfússon] and C. R. Unger, eds. 1860-8. Flateyjarbók. En samling af norske konge-sagaer med indskudte mindre fortællinger om begivenheder i og udenfor Norge samt annaler. 3 vols. Christiania (Oslo): Malling.
  10. ÓHLeg 1982 = Heinrichs, Anne et al., eds and trans. 1982. Olafs saga hins helga: Die ‘Legendarische Saga’ über Olaf den Heiligen (Hs. Delagard. saml. nr. 8II). Heidelberg: Winter.
  11. HómNo = Indrebø, Gustav. 1931. Gamal norsk homiliebok, Cod. AM 619, 4°. Det norske historiske Kjeldeskrift Fond, Skrifter 54. Oslo: Dybwad. Rpt. 1966. Oslo: Universitetsforlaget.
  12. Internal references
  13. Diana Whaley 2012, ‘The Legendary Saga of S. Óláfr / Helgisaga Óláfs konungs Haraldssonar (ÓHLeg)’ 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. clxxiii.

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