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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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HSt Rst 15I

Rolf Stavnem (ed.) 2012, ‘Hallar-Steinn, Rekstefja 15’ 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. 913.

Hallar-SteinnRekstefja
141516

Ǫrbjóðr átta skeiðum
efsta sinn ok þrinnum
(byrr varð) beita þorði
(brýnn) ór Þrándheims mynni.
Ormr skreið (árar knúði)
ǫlna vang inn langi
(hirð prúð); hilmir stýrði.
Hann vas ríkstr konungmanna.

{Ǫrbjóðr} þorði beita efsta sinn átta ok þrinnum skeiðum ór mynni Þrándheims; byrr varð brýnn. Ormr inn langi skreið {vang ǫlna}; prúð hirð knúði árar; hilmir stýrði. Hann vas ríkstr konungmanna …

{The arrow-offerer} [WARRIOR] dared a final time to sail eight and three warships to windward out from the mouth of Trondheimsfjorden; the wind became sharp. Ormr inn langi (‘the Long Serpent’) slithered over {the field of fish} [SEA]; the valiant retinue thrust on the oars; the ruler steered. He was the mightiest of royal men …

Mss: Bb(112ra); 61(66va), 53(63va), 54(62ra), Bb(97va), Flat(63va) (ÓT)

Readings: [1] Ǫr‑: auð‑ 53, ‘Orr‑’ Flat;    ‑bjóðr: ‑rjóðr 61, 53, 54, Bb(97va)    [2] þrinnum: þrennum 53, Flat    [3] varð: var Bb(97va)    [4] brýnn: ‘brynnt’ Flat;    ór Þrándheims: at Svǫlðrar all others;    mynni: so 61, minni all others    [5] knúði: so 61, 53, Flat, kníðu Bb(112ra), gnúði 54, gnúðu Bb(97va)    [6] ǫlna: so all others, ‘ótna’ Bb(112ra);    vang: so 61, 53, 54, Bb(97va), vagns Bb(112ra), menn Flat    [7] prúð: prúðr Flat;    stýrði: so all others, stúrði Bb(112ra)    [8] vas (‘var’): er all others;    ríkstr: ‘rikaszstr’ 53;    konung‑: kóng 54

Editions: Skj AI, 547, Skj BI, 528-9, Skald I, 257; ÓT 1958-2000, II, 253 (ch. 247), Flat 1860-8, I, 476; SHI 3, 254-5, CPB II, 297, Wisén 1886-9, I, 48, Finnur Jónsson 1893b, 164, Konráð Gíslason 1895-7, I, 238-41.

Context: The sea battle in the vicinity of Svǫlðr is about to begin and King Óláfr is approaching the island with his eleven ships.

Notes: [All]: The departure of Óláfr and his fleet marks the beginning of the sequence of stanzas (sts 15-23) depicting his final battle at Svǫlðr (c. 1000). For the battle, see also Hfr ErfÓl 1-24, Skúli SvǫlðrIII, Stefnir Lv 1 (cf. OSnorr Lv), Eþsk Couplet, Hókr Eirfl, ÞKolb Eirdr 8, and the non-contemporary Anon Óldr 17-24; see further the entry on Óláfr Tryggvason in ‘Ruler biographies’ in Introduction to this volume. — [1] ǫrbjóðr ‘the arrow-offerer [WARRIOR]’: Bjóðr ‘offerer’ is a common base-word in kennings (Meissner 330). Ǫrrjóðr ‘the arrow-reddener [WARRIOR]’, the reading in most ÓT mss, is also feasible. — [1, 2] átta ok þrinnum skeiðum ‘eight and three warships’: The numbers of enemy ships are also detailed in the poem: fifteen (st. 16/5), sixty (st. 18/4) and a further five (st. 21/2); see also McDougall and McDougall (1998, 74) on the size of fleets in the battle. — [3] beita ‘to sail ... to windward’: A technical term; see Jesch (2001a, 174). — [4] brýnn ‘sharp’: Konráð Gíslason (1895-7), followed by Skj B, reads brynn ‘sharp’ to provide an exact rhyme with mynni ‘mouth’, but the hendingar in Rst are not perfectly regular (see Introduction to Rst) and unequal vowel length is found sporadically in hendingar throughout the skaldic corpus (see ‘Normalisation resulting from linguistic changes’ in General Introduction). — [4] mynni Þrándheims ‘the mouth of Trondheimsfjorden’: Þrándheimr refers to the region of Trøndelag, and here to the fjord that is its principal waterway, and not to the city now called Trondheim, but formerly Nidaros (ON Niðaróss). This reading is compatible with the seafaring description in the stanza, while at mynni Svǫlðrar ‘to the estuary of Svǫlðr’ in the ÓT mss names the ultimate battle-site of Svǫlðr, and tallies well with a near-identical phrase in Skúli Svǫlðr 2/7III (and see Note). This and other evidence could suggest that Svǫlðr was a river or inlet (see McDougall and McDougall 1998, 74-5). It is not clear which is the original reading. — [5, 6] Ormr inn langi skreið ‘Ormr inn langi (“the Long Serpent”) slithered’: Óláfr’s famous warship; see also Note to st. 18/2, and see Hókr Eirfl 3/4. The ‘snake’ metaphor is extended into the verb. — [5] knúði ‘thrust’: 3rd pers. sg. pret. indic. of knýja; the older form kníða seems to be preserved in 3rd pers. pl. pret. indic. kníðu in Bb(112ra): see LP: knýja. — [6] ǫlna ‘of fish’: The species is uncertain; LP: ǫlunn and CVC: ölun suggest mackerel. — [8]: For this line of the refrain, see Note to st. 9/8.

References

  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. 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.
  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. CVC = Cleasby, Richard, Gudbrand Vigfusson [Guðbrandur Vigfússon] and W. A. Craigie. 1957. An Icelandic-English Dictionary. 2nd edn. Oxford: Clarendon.
  7. Jesch, Judith. 2001a. Ships and Men in the Late Viking Age: The Vocabulary of Runic Inscriptions and Skaldic Verse. Woodbridge: Boydell.
  8. CPB = Gudbrand Vigfusson [Guðbrandur Vigfússon] and F. York Powell, eds. 1883. Corpus poeticum boreale: The Poetry of the Old Northern Tongue from the Earliest Times to the Thirteenth Century. 2 vols. Oxford: Clarendon. Rpt. 1965, New York: Russell & Russell.
  9. Wisén, Theodor, ed. 1886-9. Carmina Norrœnæ: Ex reliquiis vetustioris norrœnæ poësis selecta, recognita, commentariis et glossario instructa. 2 vols. Lund: Ohlsson.
  10. Finnur Jónsson. 1893b. Carmina Norrœna: Rettet Tekst. Copenhagen: Nielsen & Lydiche.
  11. 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.
  12. Konráð Gíslason. 1895-7. Efterladte skrifter. 2 vols. I: Forelæsninger over oldnordiske skjaldekvad. II: Forelæsninger og videnskablige afhandlinger. Copenhagen: Gyldendal.
  13. McDougall, David and Ian McDougall, trans. 1998. Theodoricus monachus. Historia de antiquitate regum norwagiensium: An Account of the Ancient History of the Norwegian Kings. Viking Society for Northern Research Text Series 11. University College, London: Viking Society for Northern Research.
  14. ÓT 1958-2000 = Ólafur Halldórsson, ed. 1958-2000. Saga Óláfs Tryggvasonar en mesta. 3 vols. EA A 1-3. Copenhagen: Munksgaard (Reitzel).
  15. SHI = Sveinbjörn Egilsson, ed. 1828-46. Scripta historica islandorum de rebus gestis veterum borealium, latine reddita et apparatu critico instructa, curante Societate regia antiquariorum septentrionalium. 12 vols. Copenhagen: Popp etc. and London: John & Arthur Arch.
  16. Internal references
  17. Diana Whaley 2012, ‘The Greatest Saga of Óláfr Tryggvason / Óláfs saga Tryggvasonar in mesta (ÓT)’ 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, pp. clxiii-clxvi.
  18. Diana Whaley 2012, ‘(Biography of) Óláfr Tryggvason’ 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. 383.
  19. Kate Heslop (ed.) 2012, ‘Anonymous Poems, Óláfs drápa Tryggvasonar 17’ 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. 1049.
  20. Rolf Stavnem 2012, ‘(Introduction to) Hallar-Steinn, Rekstefja’ 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. 893.
  21. Kate Heslop 2017, ‘(Introduction to) Skúli Þorsteinsson, Poem about Svǫlðr’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 360.
  22. Kari Ellen Gade 2012, ‘(Introduction to) Einarr þambarskelfir Eindriðason, Couplet’ 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. 452.
  23. Diana Whaley 2012, ‘(Introduction to) Oddr Snorrason, Lausavísa’ 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. 891.
  24. Kate Heslop (ed.) 2012, ‘Hallfreðr vandræðaskáld Óttarsson, Erfidrápa Óláfs Tryggvasonar 1’ 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. 403.
  25. Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2012, ‘Halldórr ókristni, Eiríksflokkr 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. 475.
  26. Kate Heslop (ed.) 2017, ‘Skúli Þorsteinsson, Poem about Svǫlðr 2’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 362.
  27. Diana Whaley (ed.) 2012, ‘Stefnir Þorgilsson, Lausavísur 1’ 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. 448.
  28. Jayne Carroll (ed.) 2012, ‘Þórðr Kolbeinsson, Eiríksdrápa 8’ 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. 500.
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