Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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ÞjóðA Magnfl 1II

Diana Whaley (ed.) 2009, ‘Þjóðólfr Arnórsson, Magnússflokkr 1’ 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. 64-5.

Þjóðólfr ArnórssonMagnússflokkr

Vast, Ôleifs sonr, austan
eflðr á vatn it skeflða.

{Sonr Ôleifs}, vast eflðr austan á it skeflða vatn.

{Óláfr’s son} [= Magnús], you were powerfully launched from the east onto the heaped water.

Mss: W(167) (SnE); 2368ˣ(110), 2368ˣ(126), 743ˣ(84r), 743ˣ(95r) (LaufE)

Readings: [1] Vast (‘Vastv’): ‘vatstu’ 2368ˣ(126)

Editions: Skj AI, 361, Skj BI, 332, Skald I, 168; SnE 1848-87, II, 496, LaufE 1979, 368, 389.

Context: The couplet is cited in W to illustrate fornǫfn ‘substitutions’ or viðkenningar ‘circumlocutions’ (see Faulkes 1987, 152) in which an individual is referred to in relation to his family, by being called father, grandfather, son or brother of a named person. Magnús Óláfsson included the couplet in LaufE, copying it from W both in its original context and in a set of skaldic citations illustrating terms for the sea, here vatnið skeflða ‘heaped water’ (LaufE 1979, 368).

Notes: [2] eflðr ‘powerfully launched’: The translation attempts to capture the idea of support and empowerment present in the verb efla (cf. afl n. ‘power, strength’). The reference is presumably to the young Magnús setting out from Novgorod (Hólmgarðr) across the Baltic; cf. next st. — [2] skeflða ‘heaped’: The image is of foaming waves piled up like a skafl m. ‘snow-drift’.


  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. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  4. LaufE 1979 = Faulkes, Anthony, ed. 1979. Edda Magnúsar Ólafssonar (Laufás Edda). RSÁM 13. Vol. I of Two Versions of Snorra Edda from the 17th Century. Reykjavík: Stofnun Árna Magnússonar, 1977-9.
  5. Faulkes, Anthony, trans. 1987. Snorri Sturluson. Edda. Everyman’s Library. London and Rutland, Vermont: J. M. Dent & Sons and Charles E. Tuttle Co., Inc. Rpt. with new chronology and synopsis 2005.
  6. Internal references
  7. Kari Ellen Gade 2009, ‘Laufás Edda (LaufE)’ 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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