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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Glúmr Gráf 7I

Alison Finlay (ed.) 2012, ‘Glúmr Geirason, Gráfeldardrápa 7’ 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. 256.

Glúmr GeirasonGráfeldardrápa

Braut við brynju njóta
bág rifjunga Sôgu
— naddskúrar vas nœrir —
Nóregs konungr stóra.
Valgaltar lét velta
vargfœðandi marga
— ofvægjum réð jǫfri —
jafnborna sér þorna.

{Konungr Nóregs} braut {bág {Sôgu rifjunga}} við {stóra njóta brynju}; vas {nœrir {naddskúrar}}. {Vargfœðandi} lét {marga þorna {valgaltar}}, jafnborna sér, velta; réð ofvægjum jǫfri.

{The king of Norway} [= Haraldr] waged {the strife {of the Sága <goddess> of swords}} [VALKYRIE > BATTLE] against {mighty users of the mail-shirt} [WARRIORS]; he was {a nourisher {of the point-shower}} [BATTLE > WARRIOR]. {The wolf-feeder} [WARRIOR] made {many thorn-trees {of the slaughter-boar}} [HELMET > WARRIORS], as well-born as he, topple; he overwhelmed the very powerful prince.

Mss: FskBˣ(15r), FskAˣ(64-65) (Fsk)

Readings: [1] njóta: so FskAˣ, móta or njóta FskBˣ    [2] bág: ‘bog’ all;    rifjunga: so FskAˣ, ‘rifunga’ FskBˣ    [4] stóra: stórar FskAˣ    [7] of‑: ó‑ FskAˣ

Editions: Skj AI, 76, Skj BI, 67, Skald I, 41NN §§1060, 2219, 2987B; Fsk 1902-3, 56 (ch. 13), ÍF 29, 102 (ch. 14).

Context: This stanza accompanies the statement that the Eiríkssynir killed Tryggvi Óláfsson and many other kings, jarls and other powerful men.

Notes: [All]: On the placing of this stanza in Gráf, see Introduction. — [2] bág Sôgu rifjunga ‘the strife of the Sága <goddess> of swords [VALKYRIE > BATTLE]’: Brjóta bág við e-n in itself means ‘to raise hostility against, fight sby’, and kennings for ‘valkyrie’ (here Sôgu rifjunga) can refer to ‘battle’ (cf. Meissner 201-2). The extended kenning assumed here is therefore slightly tautologous, and comes close to breaching the convention that the base-word of a kenning should not contain the same concept as the overall referent (Meissner 28). (b) Kock (NN §1060) addresses the problem by taking Sôgu rifjunga as a determinant of nadd- ‘nail, point, spear, arrow’ in the intercalary clause, serving to identify a battle-spear as distinct from a hunting-spear. — [2] bág ‘the strife’: The spelling ‘bog’ could point to bóg(r) ‘bow’, but the hending on Sôgu (spelt ‘Sogo’ in the mss) and the verb braut ‘waged’, lit. ‘broke’, establish bág as the correct reading. — [2] rifjunga ‘of swords’: On this heiti, which may mean ‘tearer’, see Note to Þul Sverða 7/4III. — [3] vas nœrir naddskúrar ‘he was a nourisher of the point-shower [BATTLE > WARRIOR]’: The use of a kenning as the predicate in a clause is rare (see ‘The diction of skaldic poetry’ in General Introduction). — [7] réð ofvægjum jǫfri ‘he overwhelmed the very powerful prince’: Finnur Jónsson (Skj B; also ÍF 29) emends the dat. sg. ofvægjum/óvægjum of the mss to nom. sg. ofvæginn and the dat. sg. jǫfri to acc. pl. jǫfra, and translates uimodståelig overmandede han fyrsterne ‘irresistible, he overpowered the princes’. But the ms. reading ofvægjum can be retained, since ráða + dat. in the sense ‘to have control over’ can take an animate object, although inanimates are more common (Fritzner: ráða 20; LP: ráða 4); Kock (NN §2219) suggests ‘to chastise, punish’. It has been suggested that the defeated prince was Tryggvi Óláfsson, but according to the account of HGráf ch. 9 (ÍF 26, 214) Tryggvi was killed not by Haraldr but by the men of Haraldr’s brother Guðrøðr Eiríksson. The specific killing mentioned in the stanza, assuming that l. 7 refers to one such, could be that of Guðrøðr Bjarnarson, which is attributed to Haraldr and his men in ch. 10 (ÍF 26, 214).


  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. Meissner = Meissner, Rudolf. 1921. Die Kenningar der Skalden: Ein Beitrag zur skaldischen Poetik. Rheinische Beiträge und Hülfsbücher zur germanischen Philologie und Volkskunde 1. Bonn and Leipzig: Schroeder. Rpt. 1984. Hildesheim etc.: Olms.
  6. 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.
  7. Fritzner = Fritzner, Johan. 1883-96. Ordbog over det gamle norske sprog. 3 vols. Kristiania (Oslo): Den norske forlagsforening. 4th edn. Rpt. 1973. Oslo etc.: Universitetsforlaget.
  8. ÍF 26-8 = Heimskringla. Ed. Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson. 1941-51.
  9. Fsk 1902-3 = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1902-3. Fagrskinna: Nóregs kononga tal. SUGNL 30. Copenhagen: Møller.
  10. ÍF 29 = Ágrip af Nóregskonunga sǫgum; Fagrskinna—Nóregs konungatal. Ed. Bjarni Einarsson. 1985.
  11. Internal references
  12. Not published: do not cite (HGráfII)
  13. Elena Gurevich (ed.) 2017, ‘Anonymous Þulur, Sverða heiti 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. 802.
  14. Alison Finlay 2012, ‘(Introduction to) Glúmr Geirason, Gráfeldardrápa’ 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. 245.

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