Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Pl 1VII

Jonna Louis-Jensen and Tarrin Wills (eds) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Plácitusdrápa 1’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 182.

Anonymous PoemsPlácitusdrápa

... gengit,
fjǫrnis valdr kvað foldar
frægr: ‘nú mun þér lægjask.
Mjúks, skalt mannraun slíka,
morðlinns boði, finna
— vestu í frægri freistni
framr — sem Jób inn gamli’.

...gengit, {frægr valdr {fjǫrnis foldar}} kvað: ‘nú mun þér lægjask. Finna skalt, {boði {mjúks morðlinns}}, slíka mannraun sem Jób inn gamli; vestu framr í frægri freistni’.

...gone, {the renowned ruler {of the helmet of the earth}} [SKY/HEAVEN > = God] spoke: ‘now you will be humbled. {Messenger {of the smooth battle-serpent}} [SWORD > WARRIOR], you will undergo such an ordeal as Job the old [did]; be bold in a trial [which will be] famous.

Mss: 673b(1r)

Readings: [3] kvað: ‘q[...]’ 673b, ‘quaþſt’ 673bÞH, ‘quaþ’ 673bHE, 673bFJ;    foldar: ‘[...]’ 673b    [4] þér: ‘er’ 673b    [5] mannraun: ‘mannra[...]’ 673b, mannraun 673bHE;    slíka: ‘[...]ca’ 673b, ‘ſlica’ 673bÞH    [7] freistni: ‘f[...]ne’ 673b, ‘frestne’ 673bÞH

Editions: Skj AI, 607, Skj BI, 606-7, Skald I, 295; Sveinbjörn Egilsson 1833, 11, 39, Finnur Jónsson 1887, 230, Louis-Jensen 1998, 93.

Notes: [All]: The beginning of the poem must have introduced Plácitus as a righteous pagan in the service of the Emperor Trajan, and told of the stag hunt that Plácitus and other men undertook, during which he became isolated from the others and confronted a hart larger than the rest of the herd with a crucifix between its horns, which revealed itself as a manifestation of Christ. In the prose texts, Christ’s indication that Plácitus must be tried like Job comes after his baptism and his return to meet the Christ-hart for a second time (see sts 7-10). — [4] þér ‘you’: ér is interpreted as the dat. sing. þér by Sveinbjörn Egilsson 1833, but cf. Finnur Jónsson 1887, 245 and Nj 1875-8, II, 46-7. — [5] mannraun ‘ordeal, trial of strength’: Also st. 12/4, when Plácitus is tried by having all his animals and household perish; in this instance mannraun also appears in the C text of the prose saga (Tucker 1998, 31, l. 101). The word is also used in Anon Mhkv 7/8III of the ordeal of the biblical hero Eleazar (Eljárnir), who was crushed beneath an elephant (1 Macc. VI.43-7). — [8] sem Jób inn gamli; vestu framr í frægri freistni ‘as Job the old [did]; be bold in a trial [which will be] famous’: Cf. the C text of the prose saga og þola freistingar med Yób hinum gamla ‘and endure temptations with [?like] Job the old’ (Tucker 1998, 27, l. 82; Louis-Jensen 1998, cxxi). The designation of Job as inn gamli only occurs in Pl and C, and Louis-Jensen (1998, cxi-ii) has argued that the Pl poet introduced it to satisfy the demands of aðalhending, proffering this as an example to support the thesis that the author of the C redaction of the saga knew and was influenced by Pl. Both the Lat. and other ON prose texts make the comparison with the suffering of the Old Testament figure Job, and it comes up again in st. 26/8. On references to the Book of Job in OIcel. texts, see Kirby 1976-80, I, 24-30.


  1. Bibliography
  2. Nj 1875-89 = Konráð Gíslason and Eiríkur Jónsson. 1875-89. Njála: Udgivet efter gamle håndskrifter. Íslendingasögur udgivne efter gamle haandskrifter af Det Kongelige Nordiske Oldskrift-selskab 4. Copenhagen: Thiele.
  3. Sveinbjörn Egilsson, ed. 1833. Brot af Placidus-drápu. Bessastaðir: Helgi Helgason.
  4. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  5. Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1887. ‘Plácítúsdrápa’. In Opuscula Philologica: Mindre Afhandlinger, 210-64.
  6. Tucker, John, ed. 1998. Plácidus saga. EA B 31. Copenhagen: Reitzel.
  7. Louis-Jensen, Jonna, ed. 1998. ‘Plácitus drápa’. In Tucker 1998, 89-130.
  8. Internal references
  9. Not published: do not cite (KrókV)
  10. Roberta Frank (ed.) 2017, ‘Anonymous Poems, Málsháttakvæði 7’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 1221.
  11. Jonna Louis-Jensen and Tarrin Wills 2007, ‘(Introduction to) Anonymous, Plácitusdrápa’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 179-220.

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