Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Þjóð Yt 22I

Edith Marold (ed.) 2012, ‘Þjóðólfr ór Hvini, Ynglingatal 22’ 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. 48.

Þjóðólfr ór HviniYnglingatal

Þat frá hverr,
at Halfdanar
sakna skyldu.
Ok hallvarps
á Þótni tók.
Ok Skæreið
í Skíringssal
of brynjalfs
beinum drúpir.

Þat frá hverr, at sǫkmiðlendr skyldu sakna Halfdanar. Ok {hlífi-Nauma hallvarps} tók þjóðkonung á Þótni. Ok Skæreið drúpir of beinum {brynjalfs} í Skíringssal.

Everyone learned that the mediators had to feel the loss of Hálfdan. And {the protecting Nauma <goddess> of the cairn} [= Hel] took the mighty king in Toten. And Skæreið mourns over the bones {of the mailcoat-elf} [WARRIOR] in Skíringssalr.

Mss: (40v), papp18ˣ(10r), 521ˣ(50-51), F(7ra), J1ˣ(19v-20r), J2ˣ(22v-23r), R685ˣ(21v) (Hkr); 761aˣ(62r)

Readings: [1] Þat frá: om. F;    hverr: so J1ˣ, J2ˣ, R685ˣ, hyrr Kˣ, papp18ˣ, 521ˣ, F, 761aˣ    [3] sǫk‑: so papp18ˣ, J1ˣ, J2ˣ, R685ˣ, 761aˣ, sǫkk‑ Kˣ, 521ˣ, F    [5] Ok: ok at F;    hallvarps: Hallvarðs J2ˣ    [9] Skæreið: skereið F, J1ˣ, J2ˣ    [10] Skírings‑: so F, J1ˣ, J2ˣ, R685ˣ, ‘Skíris‑’ Kˣ, papp18ˣ, 521ˣ, 761aˣ    [11] ‑alfs: ‑alfr F

Editions: Skj AI, 13-14, Skj BI, 12, Skald I, 8, NN §79; Hkr 1893-1901, I, 77, IV, 22-3, ÍF 26, 76, Hkr 1991, I, 44 (Yng ch. 44), F 1871, 30; Yng 1912, 50, 68, Yng 2000, 63-4; Yt 1914, 15, Yt 1925, 206, 246-7.

Context: Hálfdan hvítbeinn ‘White-bone’, son of Óláfr trételgja ‘Wood-cutter’, is king of Heiðmǫrk (Hedmark) and extends his rule to Þótn (Toten), Haðaland (Hadeland) and Vestfold. He lives to a great age before dying of an illness in Þótn, and is buried in a mound in Vestfold.

Notes: [3] sǫkmiðlendr ‘the mediators’: This, the J reading, is adopted in most previous eds. It is a cpd of sǫk f. ‘lawsuit, case, cause’ and an agent noun from miðla ‘share’; Finnur Jónsson (Hkr 1893-1901, IV) compares OIcel. miðla mál ‘to mediate in a lawsuit’. The exact implications of the term here are unclear. The reading of and F, søkkmiðlendr, adopted in Hkr 1991, could be a standard kenning ‘dealers of wealth [GENEROUS MEN]’, if the existence of an ON word *sǫkk/søkk ‘wealth, treasure’ is accepted, but this is uncertain: see Note to st. 2/10 above. — [5-6] hlífi-Nauma hallvarps ‘the protecting Nauma <goddess> of the cairn [= Hel]’: Hel, goddess of death, also features in st. 7. Nauma appears to be a goddess or giantess, whose name occurs as the base-word in woman-kennings: see Note to Ótt Lv 3/8. The gen. hallvarps ‘of the cairn’ is to be understood as the object of the verbal element hlífi ‘protecting’ which is attached to Nauma. The hap. leg. hallvarp, lit. ‘stone-throwing’ is best interpreted as ‘heap of stones, cairn’ (so Wadstein 1895a, 76 and subsequent eds); Falk (1923, 78) compares New Norw. varp, verp ‘heap of stones commemorating an event, cairn’. Although no other source associates Hel with a cairn, such an association is plausible given the use of cairns in burials or as commemorative monuments. — [9] Skæreið: It is generally assumed that Skæreið is the subject of drúpir ‘droops, mourns’ and refers to a place (see LP: drúpa 1 for parallels), though it cannot be identified with any known place. Finnur Jónsson (Hkr 1893-1901, IV; LP: Skereið) suggests that the name is a cpd of sker ‘skerry’ and eið ‘point, isthmus’. This would seem incompatible with the localisation in Skíringssalr, since the site of the hall (salr) is not on the coast but inland. But the name Skíringssalr may even at an early date have referred to the district controlled by it (cf. Brink 2007b, 60-2 and Note to l. 10 below). — [10] Skíringssal ‘Skíringssalr’: The first known written evidence for the p. n. is in the OE Ælfredian Orosius (late C9th), where it is called Sciringes heale ‘Sciring’s haugh/hale’ (Bately 2008, 47, 55). The second element appears to be the dat. sg. of OE h(e)alh ‘a nook of land, a corner of land, a water-meadow’ (Smith 1956, I, 223), but it could be a spelling or a substitution for OE heall ‘hall’, which would correspond with ON salr ‘hall’. During the Middle Ages Skíringssalr was the name of a district in Vestfold called Tjølling today (Storm 1899, 113; Hkr 1893-1901, IV). Excavations between 1999 and 2001 revealed a man-made plateau north of the old commercial centre Kaupang. It is the site of a very large building measuring 9-10m by 32-34m, and accompanying artefacts indicate that it was the hall of a Viking-Age ruler. The layout corresponds to that of C8th halls from the Mälaren region inspired by the great C7th hall in (Gamla) Uppsala (Skre and Stylegar 2004, 65-71; Skre 2007b, 426-7). Skíringssalr is at present the only known hall site of this kind outside the Mälaren region, which may suggest that it was a direct imitation of the Uppsala hall.


  1. Bibliography
  2. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  3. NN = Kock, Ernst Albin. 1923-44. Notationes Norrœnæ: Anteckningar till Edda och skaldediktning. Lunds Universitets årsskrift new ser. 1. 28 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. ÍF 26-8 = Heimskringla. Ed. Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson. 1941-51.
  6. Hkr 1893-1901 = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1893-1901. Heimskringla: Nóregs konunga sǫgur af Snorri Sturluson. 4 vols. SUGNL 23. Copenhagen: Møller.
  7. Hkr 1991 = Bergljót S. Kristjánsdóttir et al., eds. 1991. Heimskringla. 3 vols. Reykjavík: Mál og menning.
  8. F 1871 = Unger, C. R., ed. 1871. Fríssbók: Codex Frisianus. En samling af norske konge-sagaer. Christiania (Oslo): Malling.
  9. Wadstein, Elis. 1895a. ‘Bidrag till tolkning och belysning av skalde- ock Edda-dikter. I. Till tolkningen av Ynglingatal’. ANF 11, 64-92.
  10. Falk, Hjalmar. 1923. Review of Rudolf Meissner. 1921. Die Kenningar der Skalden. Bonn and Leipzig: Schroeder. ANF 41, 59-89.
  11. Yng 2000 = Jørgensen, Jon Gunnar, ed. 2000b. Ynglinga saga etter Kringla (AM 35 fol). Series of Dissertations submitted to the Faculty of Arts, University of Oslo 80. Oslo: Unipub forlag.
  12. Yt 1914 = Grape, Anders and Birger Nerman, eds. 1914. Ynglingatal I-IV. Meddelanden från Nordiska Seminariet 3. Uppsala: Berling.
  13. Yng 1912 = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1912. Ynglingasaga. Copenhagen: Gad.
  14. Yt 1925 = Noreen, Adolf, ed. 1925. Ynglingatal: Text, översättning och kommentar. Stockholm: Lagerström.
  15. Brink, Stefan. 2007b. ‘Skiringssal, Kaupang, Tjølling – the Toponymic Evidence’. In Skre 2007a, 53-64.
  16. Skre, Dagfinn. 2007b. ‘The Dating of Ynglingatal’. In Skre 2007a, 407-28.
  17. Skre, Dagfinn and Frans-Arne Stylegar. 2004. Kaupang vikingbyen: Kaupang-utstilling ved UKM, Oslo, 2004-2005. Oslo: Universitetet i Oslo, Universitetets kulturhistoriske museer.
  18. Storm, Gustav. 1899. ‘Ynglingatal, dets forfatter og forfattelsestid’. ANF 15, 107-41.
  19. Smith, Albert Hugh. 1956. English Place-Name Elements. 2 vols. English Place-Name Society 25-6. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  20. Internal references
  21. Not published: do not cite (YngII)
  22. Not published: do not cite (RunVI)
  23. R. D. Fulk (ed.) 2012, ‘Óttarr svarti, Lausavísur 3’ 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. 788.

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