Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Ív Sig 45II

Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2009, ‘Ívarr Ingimundarson, Sigurðarbálkr 45’ 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, p. 527.

Ívarr IngimundarsonSigurðarbálkr

Frák, at léti        líf sitt konungr,
þás saltara        sungit hafði.
Vildi ganga        gramr til skriptar,
en því þjóðkonungr        þeygi náði.

Frák, at konungr léti líf sitt, þás hafði sungit saltara. Gramr vildi ganga til skriptar, en þjóðkonungr náði þeygi því.

I heard that the king gave up his life when he had sung the psalter. The lord wished to be shriven, but the mighty king by no means achieved that.

Mss: Mork(35r) (Mork)

Editions: Skj AI, 502, Skj BI, 475, Skald I, 233; Mork 1867, 221, Mork 1928-32, 437, Andersson and Gade 2000, 387, 494 (Sslemb).

Context: When Sigurðr lost consciousness, they dragged him over to a tree and hanged him.

Notes: [All]: Sigurðr’s torture and death are also described by Saxo (Saxo 2005, II, 29, 3-4, pp. 314-17), and his version corresponds closely to Ív Sig and the surrounding prose. See also Andersson and Gade 2000, 463, ch. 93 n. 1, Bjarni Guðnason 1978, 55-66 and Note to st. 42 [All] above. After Sigurðr’s death, his body was brought to Ålborg in Denmark and interred in the Church of S. Mary (Máríukirkja). Clearly, stories about his life and death (and maybe Sig as well) must have circulated in Denmark and been available to Saxo.


  1. Bibliography
  2. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  3. Andersson, Theodore M. and Kari Ellen Gade, trans. 2000. Morkinskinna: The Earliest Icelandic Chronicle of the Norwegian Kings (1030-1157). Islandica 51. Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press.
  4. Mork 1928-32 = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1928-32. Morkinskinna. SUGNL 53. Copenhagen: Jørgensen.
  5. Bjarni Guðnason. 1978. Fyrsta sagan. Studia islandica 37. Reykjavík: Bókaútgáfa menningarsjóðs.
  6. Mork 1867 = Unger, C. R., ed. 1867. Morkinskinna: Pergamentsbog fra første halvdel af det trettende aarhundrede. Indeholdende en af de ældste optegnelser af norske kongesagaer. Oslo: Bentzen.
  7. Saxo 2005 = Friis-Jensen, Karsten, ed. 2005. Saxo Grammaticus: Gesta Danorum / Danmarkshistorien. Trans. Peter Zeeberg. 2 vols. Copenhagen: Det danske sprog- og litteraturselskab & Gads forlag.
  8. Internal references
  9. Kari Ellen Gade 2009, ‘(Introduction to) Ívarr Ingimundarson, Sigurðarbálkr’ 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. 501-27.

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