Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Þloft Tøgdr 6I

Matthew Townend (ed.) 2012, ‘Þórarinn loftunga, Tøgdrápa 6’ 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. 860.

Þórarinn loftungaTøgdrápa

Þá gaf sínum
snjallr gǫrvallan
Nóreg nefa
njótr veg-Jóta.
Þá gaf sínum
— segik þat — megi
dals døkksali
Danmǫrk svana.

Þá gaf {snjallr njótr veg-Jóta} nefa sínum gǫrvallan Nóreg. Þá gaf megi sínum Danmǫrk, døkksali {dals svana}; segik þat.

Then {the bold enjoyer of the glory-Jótar} [DANISH KING = Knútr] gave his nephew the whole of Norway. Then he gave his son Denmark, the dark halls {of the dale of swans} [SEA]; I declare it.

Mss: (428v) (Hkr); Holm2(57r), J2ˣ(206v) (ll. 5-8, 1-4), Bæb(2vb), 68(56v), Holm4(54va), 61(115vb), 325V(67va-b), 325VII(31r), 325XI 2 g(3va) (ll. 4-8), Flat(118vb), Tóm(146r) (ÓH); DG8(96r) (ÓHLeg)

Readings: [1] gaf: so all others, ‘ga[…]’ Kˣ    [2] snjallr: sjalfr 68, snjallt Tóm;    gǫrvallan: so all others, ‘g[…]vallan’ Kˣ    [3] nefa: so all others, ‘[…]fa’ Kˣ    [4] veg‑: né Tóm;    Jóta: so 325V, 325VII, ‘iotra’ Kˣ, Holm2, 68, Holm4, Flat, DG8, ‘rotar’ J2ˣ, ‘‑hrotar’ Bæb, ‘‑riota’ 61, ‘iot’ 325XI 2 g, ‘giot(ra)’(?) Tóm    [5] Þá: sá Holm2, Bæb, 68, ok Holm4, 61, 325V, Flat, Tóm, DG8, ‘sa’(?) 325XI 2 g;    gaf: gaf ok 68;    sínum: ‘sinr’ 325XI 2 g    [6] þat: ‘þ[...]’ 325XI 2 g;    megi: ‘[…]gi’ 325XI 2 g    [7] dals: dags 61, Flat, Tóm, dal 325VII;    døkksali: ‘d[…]cksalar’ Kˣ, døkksalar Holm2, 68, 325XI 2 g, djúpliga J2ˣ, 61, ‘do᷎ckualar’ Bæb, ‘døggsala’ Holm4, djúpsala 325V, djúps sala 325VII, Tóm, DG8, djúpsvala Flat    [8] svana: svala Flat, svá svana DG8

Editions: Skj AI, 324, Skj BI, 299, Skald I, 152, NN §§789, 1792; Hkr 1893-1901, II, 398, IV, 153-4, ÍF 27, 310 (ÓHHkr ch. 172); ÓH 1941, I, 476 (ch. 166), Flat 1860-8, II, 307; ÓHLeg 1922, 72, ÓHLeg 1982, 170-1.

Context: See Context to st. 1 above.

Notes: [3] nefa ‘nephew’: As regent in Norway Knútr appointed Hákon Eiríksson, who was his sister’s son: Hákon’s father, Eiríkr jarl Hákonarson of Hlaðir (Lade), married Knútr’s sister Gyða. According to John of Worcester (Darlington and McGurk 1995-, II, 510-1), Hákon was also Knútr’s nephew-in-law, having married Gunnhildr, the daughter of another of Knútr’s sisters. However, Hákon died at sea in 1029 (or 1030, as recorded in ASC s. a.), at which point Óláfr Haraldsson chose to return from exile, leading to his death in battle at Stiklastaðir (Stiklestad). — [4] njótr veg-Jóta ‘enjoyer of the glory-Jótar [DANISH KING = Knútr]’: As can be seen from the Readings, the element Jóta ‘of the Jótar, the people of Jutland’, generated considerable scribal uncertainty. Moreover, it is unclear whether the first element of the cpd is vegr ‘path, land’ or vegr ‘honour, glory’, both m. nouns. (a) Kock (NN §789), assuming ‘honour, glory’, suggests that veg-Jótar is paralleled by (and perhaps modelled on) OE constructions such as Ār-Scyldingas ‘glory-Danes’ in Beowulf ll. 464, 1710 (Beowulf 2008, 18, 58, 471); this is followed in ÍF 27, and also here. (b) Finnur Jónsson (Skj B; LP: Veg-Jótar), assuming ‘path, land’, construes the kenning as the inverted veg-njótr Jóta ‘enjoyer/owner of the land of the Jótar’, lit. ‘land-enjoyer of the Jótar’. This is followed by ÓHLeg 1982, but the syntax seems uncharacteristic of Tøgdr . — [5] þá ‘then’: The variant ok has strong ms. support and gives better sense, as it suggests concurrent actions rather than successive ones, and þá could well be a dittographic repetition from the start of the first helmingr; nonetheless, þá, as the reading of the main ms., is retained here. — [6] megi ‘son’: The son to whom Knútr entrusted Denmark is likely to have been Hǫrðaknútr, his only son by Emma of Normandy (see Lund 1994, 39). — [7, 8] døkksali dals svana ‘the dark halls of the dale of swans [SEA]’: As can be seen from the Readings, scribes made various attempts to make sense of this difficult phrase. (a) The solution adopted here is based on that of Kock (NN §1792; Skald), who assumes (reasonably) that njótr ‘enjoyer’ (l. 4) is the subject of gaf ‘gave’ in both ll. 1 and 5, and suggests emendation to acc. pl. sali rather than the gen. sg. ‑ar or gen. pl. ‑a implied by the mss. This gives døkksali dals svana ‘dark halls of the dale of swans’, where dalr svana is a satisfactory kenning for ‘sea’, and the phrase is thus in apposition with Danmǫrk, and according to Kock offers a description of the country’s ‘forest-covered islands in the sea’ (skogbevuxna öarna i havet). For a similarly unusual description of the land, see Gsind Hákdr 3/3. A possible variation on this analysis would be to prefer the reading in djúp- rather than døkk-, as djúpr ‘deep’ is used in Akv 14/2 (NK 242), as an adj. for an aristocratic residence. (b) Finnur Jónsson (Skj B; LP: døkksalr) emends this cpd to dagvélir, in which the first element is ‘day, sun’ and the second ‘enticer, destroyer’, hence ‘destroyer of the sun of the dale of swans [SEA > GOLD > GENEROUS MAN = Knútr]’; this nom. case kenning can then act as the subject of the verb gaf. (c) Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson in ÍF 27, striving to avoid emendation, suggests an ingenious solution which, however, he readily admits is a ‘desperate interpretation’ (örþrifaskýring).


  1. Bibliography
  2. Skj B = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1912-15b. Den norsk-islandske skjaldedigtning. B: Rettet tekst. 2 vols. Copenhagen: Villadsen & Christensen. Rpt. 1973. Copenhagen: Rosenkilde & Bagger.
  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. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. NK = Neckel, Gustav and Hans Kuhn (1899), eds. 1983. Edda: Die Lieder des Codex Regius nebst verwandten Denkmälern. 2 vols. I: Text. 5th edn. Heidelberg: Winter.
  8. ÓH 1941 = Johnsen, Oscar Albert and Jón Helgason, eds. 1941. Saga Óláfs konungs hins helga: Den store saga om Olav den hellige efter pergamenthåndskrift i Kungliga biblioteket i Stockholm nr. 2 4to med varianter fra andre håndskrifter. 2 vols. Det norske historiske kildeskriftfond skrifter 53. Oslo: Dybwad.
  9. 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.
  10. ÍF 26-8 = Heimskringla. Ed. Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson. 1941-51.
  11. Hkr 1893-1901 = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1893-1901. Heimskringla: Nóregs konunga sǫgur af Snorri Sturluson. 4 vols. SUGNL 23. Copenhagen: Møller.
  12. Beowulf 2008 = Fulk, Robert D., Robert E. Bjork and John D. Niles, eds. 2008. Klaeber’s Beowulf and the Fight at Finnsburg. 4th rev. edn of Beowulf and the Fight at Finnsburg, ed. Fr. Klaeber. Toronto, Buffalo and London: University of Toronto Press.
  13. ASC [Anglo-Saxon Chronicle] = Plummer, Charles and John Earle, eds. 1892-9. Two of the Saxon Chronicles Parallel. 2 vols. Oxford: Clarendon. Rpt. 1952.
  14. ÓHLeg 1922 = Johnsen, Oscar Albert, ed. 1922. Olafs saga hins helga efter pergamenthåndskrift i Uppsala Universitetsbibliotek, Delagardieske samling nr. 8II. Det norske historiske kildeskriftfond skrifter 47. Kristiania (Oslo): Dybwad.
  15. Darlington, R. R. and P. McGurk, eds. 1995-. The Chronicle of John of Worcester. 3 vols. Oxford Medieval Texts. Oxford: Clarendon.
  16. Lund, Niels. 1994. ‘Cnut’s Danish Kingdom’. In Rumble 1994, 27-42.
  17. Internal references
  18. Not published: do not cite (ÓHHkrI)
  19. Matthew Townend 2012, ‘(Introduction to) Þórarinn loftunga, Tøgdrápa’ 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. 851.
  20. Not published: do not cite ()
  21. Russell Poole (ed.) 2012, ‘Guthormr sindri, Hákonardrápa 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. 161.
  22. Not published: do not cite ()

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