Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Sigv Knútdr 2I

Matthew Townend (ed.) 2012, ‘Sigvatr Þórðarson, Knútsdrápa 2’ 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. 652.

Sigvatr ÞórðarsonKnútsdrápa

Ok senn sonu
sló, hvern ok þó,
Aðalráðs eða
út flæmði Knútr.

Ok Knútr sló senn eða flæmði út sonu Aðalráðs, ok þó hvern.

And Knútr soon defeated or drove out the sons of Æthelred, and indeed, each one.

Mss: (232v-233r) (Hkr); Holm2(8r), R686ˣ(15r), J1ˣ(144r), J2ˣ(125r-v), 73aˣ(23v), 78aˣ(23v), 68(7r), 61(81ra), 75c(5r), 325V(10rb), Bb(128ra), Flat(81vb), Tóm(97v) (ÓH); JÓ(28), 20dˣ(12r), 20i 23ˣ(16v), 41ˣ(10v), 873ˣ(12v) (Knýtl)

Readings: [1] senn: ‘senir’ Tóm    [2] hvern: hver 75c;    þó: dó 78aˣ    [3] ‑ráðs: ‑ráðr R686ˣ;    eða: ‘ada’ Bb    [4] flæmði: rak 41ˣ

Editions: Skj AI, 248, Skj BI, 232, Skald I, 120, NN §647; Hkr 1893-1901, II, 34, IV, 116, ÍF 27, 33 (ÓHHkr ch. 26); ÓH 1941, I, 55 (ch. 28), Flat 1860-8, II, 30; Knýtl 1919-25, 49, ÍF 35, 120 (ch. 16).

Context: Both ÓH-Hkr and Knýtl quote this stanza following an account of the conclusion of Knútr’s conquest of England, and of the death or exile of Æthelred’s sons.

Notes: [All]: On the affiliation of the stanza, see Note to st. 1 [All]. — [All]: For Knútr’s English campaign of 1015-16, see also Ótt Knútdr, Hallv KnútdrIII and Anon Liðs, and Introductions to these. — [1, 3] sonu Aðalráðs ‘the sons of Æthelred’: Following Knútr’s accession to the rule of all England in 1017, Æthelred’s three remaining sons (Eadwig, Eadweard and Ælfred) were sent into exile, as were Eadmund Ironside’s two sons, Æthelred’s grandsons (Eadweard and Eadmund). See Keynes (1991, 174). — [2] sló ‘defeated’: So ÍF 27 and ÍF 35, glossing the word as sigra ‘win victory’. Finnur Jónsson in LP: sláa 3 assumes the sense ‘killed’ here, rather than the more usual ‘struck’, but in fact none of Æthelred’s sons were killed in battle in the Anglo-Danish wars (though see Note to l. 4 below); Eadmund Ironside, the son of Æthelred who was Knútr’s main antagonist, died in November 1016, only a month after he and Knútr had agreed to divide the kingdom between them (see ASC s. a.). — [4] flæmði út ‘drove out’: There is an unusually close parallel to this phrase, and indeed to the whole helmingr, in the ASC (s. a. 1017), describing the very same event: 7 Cnut cyning afly<m>de ut Eadwig æþeling 7 eft hine het ofslean ‘And King Cnut drove out Eadwig the atheling and afterwards ordered him to be killed’ (version C, ed. O’Brien O’Keeffe 2001, 103). OE (of)slean and ON slá are also cognate. See further the case for OE influence in Hofmann (1955, 88-90).


  1. Bibliography
  2. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  3. NN = Kock, Ernst Albin. 1923-44. Notationes Norrœnæ: Anteckningar till Edda och skaldediktning. Lunds Universitets årsskrift new ser. 1. 28 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. ÍF 26-8 = Heimskringla. Ed. Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson. 1941-51.
  8. ÍF 35 = Danakonunga sǫgur. Ed. Bjarni Guðnason. 1982.
  9. Hkr 1893-1901 = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1893-1901. Heimskringla: Nóregs konunga sǫgur af Snorri Sturluson. 4 vols. SUGNL 23. Copenhagen: Møller.
  10. Hofmann, Dietrich. 1955. Nordisch-englische Lehnbeziehungen der Wikingerzeit. BA 14. Copenhagen: Munksgaard.
  11. ASC [Anglo-Saxon Chronicle] = Plummer, Charles and John Earle, eds. 1892-9. Two of the Saxon Chronicles Parallel. 2 vols. Oxford: Clarendon. Rpt. 1952.
  12. Knýtl 1919-25 = Petersens, Carl af and Emil Olsen, eds. 1919-25. Sǫgur danakonunga. 1: Sǫgubrot af fornkonungum. 2: Knýtlinga saga. SUGNL 66. Copenhagen: SUGNL.
  13. Keynes, Simon. 1991. ‘The Æthelings in Normandy’. Anglo-Norman Studies 13, 173-205.
  14. O’Brien O’Keeffe, Katherine, ed. 2001. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle: A Collaborative Edition. 5: MS C. Cambridge: Brewer.
  15. Internal references
  16. Not published: do not cite (ÓHHkrI)
  17. Russell Poole 2012, ‘(Introduction to) Anonymous, Liðsmannaflokkr’ 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. 1014.
  18. Matthew Townend 2017, ‘(Introduction to) Hallvarðr háreksblesi, Knútsdrápa’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 230.
  19. Matthew Townend 2012, ‘(Introduction to) Óttarr svarti, Knútsdrápa’ 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. 767.

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