Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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ÞjóðA Magn 8II

Diana Whaley (ed.) 2009, ‘Þjóðólfr Arnórsson, Stanzas about Magnús Óláfsson in Danaveldi 8’ 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. 96.

Þjóðólfr ArnórssonStanzas about Magnús Óláfsson in Danaveldi

Skjǫld bark heim frá hjaldri
— hlauzk mér til þess — gauzkan
— ramr vas suðr á sumri
sverðdynr — ok þó brynju.
Vôpn gatk fríð, en fljóði
fyrr sagðak þat kyrru;
þar fekk’k hjalm, es hilmir
harðfengr Dani barði.

Bark gauzkan skjǫld heim frá hjaldri, ok þó brynju; hlauzk mér til þess; {ramr sverðdynr} vas suðr á sumri. Gatk fríð vôpn, en sagðak þat fyrr kyrru fljóði; fekk’k hjalm þar, es harðfengr hilmir barði Dani.

I carried a Gautish shield home from the battle, and even a byrnie; this was my lot; {a mighty sword-tumult} [BATTLE] took place in the south in the summer. I got handsome weapons, and I had said that before to the tranquil lady; I gained a helmet there, where the valiant ruler thrashed the Danes.

Mss: papp18ˣ(222r), (517r-v), 39(17vb), F(41rb), E(9r), J2ˣ(254v) (Hkr); H(12r), Hr(11ra) (H-Hr)

Readings: [2] gauzkan: gauzkum E    [3] ramr: gramr 39, F;    vas (‘var’): varð E, J2ˣ, H, Hr    [4] brynju: þrumu J2ˣ, brynjur H, Hr    [5] Vôpn (‘vapn’): ‘vapt’ E;    fríð: ferð E, ‘firð’ J2ˣ;    fljóði: ‘flǫðe’ E, ‘flǫði’ J2ˣ    [6] þat: so 39, F, E, J2ˣ, om. Kˣ, papp18ˣ, H, Hr;    kyrru: ‘kurro’ E    [7] fekk’k (‘fecc ec’): fekk Hr;    es (‘er’): þar er F, en Hr

Editions: Skj AI, 367, Skj BI, 337, Skald I, 170, NN §§1834, 3072; Hkr 1893-1901, III, 64-5, IV, 203, ÍF 28, 58-9, Hkr 1991, 595 (Mgóð ch. 33), F 1871, 189, E 1916, 30; Fms 6, 86 (Mgóð ch. 40), Fms 12, 138.

Context: In the battle off Helgenæs (Helganes; see Magnfl 17-18 and Contexts), a great number of Sveinn’s men fall. Magnús and his men share out a great deal of booty (H-Hr specifies weapons and clothes).

Notes: [2] gauzkan ‘Gautish’: The significance of a shield from Västergötland (Gautland) is not clear, though Sveinn Úlfsson’s forces at Helgenæs are said to have included some from what is now southern Sweden (Skáni/Skáney and Svíaveldi, MgóðHkr ch. 33). — [3] vas ‘took place’: Both this and the variant varð ‘came about’ are acceptable in context. — [5-6] en sagðak þat fyrr kyrru fljóði ‘and I had said that before to the tranquil lady’: Reference to women is quite conventional in skaldic poetry, whether the mourning womenfolk of the enemy side or the exultant celebrators on the skald’s side, and Þjóðólfr presents both in sts 1 and 4 above (see further Frank 1990). The point here seems to be that Þjóðólfr had anticipated gaining the spoils of victory mentioned throughout the st., but whether he predicted this to a Dan. woman (as suggested by Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson in ÍF 28) or to a Norw. supporter (cf. the women from Sogn in st. 1) is unclear.


  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. NN = Kock, Ernst Albin. 1923-44. Notationes Norrœnæ: Anteckningar till Edda och skaldediktning. Lunds Universitets årsskrift new ser. 1. 28 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  5. Frank, Roberta. 1990a. ‘Why Skalds Address Women’. In Pàroli 1990, 67-83.
  6. ÍF 26-8 = Heimskringla. Ed. Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson. 1941-51.
  7. Hkr 1893-1901 = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1893-1901. Heimskringla: Nóregs konunga sǫgur af Snorri Sturluson. 4 vols. SUGNL 23. Copenhagen: Møller.
  8. Hkr 1991 = Bergljót S. Kristjánsdóttir et al., eds. 1991. Heimskringla. 3 vols. Reykjavík: Mál og menning.
  9. F 1871 = Unger, C. R., ed. 1871. Fríssbók: Codex Frisianus. En samling af norske konge-sagaer. Christiania (Oslo): Malling.
  10. E 1916 = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1916. Eirspennill: AM 47 fol. Nóregs konunga sǫgur: Magnús góði – Hákon gamli. Kristiania (Oslo): Den norske historiske kildeskriftskommission.
  11. Internal references
  12. Kari Ellen Gade 2009, ‘Hulda and Hrokkinskinna (H-Hr)’ 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].
  13. Diana Whaley (ed.) 2009, ‘Þjóðólfr Arnórsson, Magnússflokkr 17’ 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. 84-5.

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