Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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ÞjóðA Sex 31II

Diana Whaley (ed.) 2009, ‘Þjóðólfr Arnórsson, Sexstefja 31’ in Kari Ellen Gade (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 2: From c. 1035 to c. 1300. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 2. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 146-7.

Þjóðólfr ArnórssonSexstefja

Gera vas gisting byrjuð
gnóg, en ulf* ór skógi
sonr á sôr at spenja
Sigvorðar kom norðan.

Gnóg gisting vas byrjuð Gera, en {sonr Sigvorðar} kom norðan at spenja ulf* ór skógi á sôr.

Plentiful hospitality was initiated for Geri <wolf>, and {the son of Sigurðr} [= Haraldr] came from the north to entice the wolf from the forest onto the wounds.

Mss: R(37r), Tˣ(38v), U(39v), A(14r), B(6r) (ll. 1-2), 744ˣ(39r) (ll. 1-2), C(6v) (SnE)

Readings: [1] byrjuð: so U, C, om. R, Tˣ, A, B    [2] gnóg: gnógr U;    ulf*: ulfr all    [3] sonr: sannr U, ‘sónra’ A;    á sôr (‘a sar’): ‘asar’ Tˣ, freki U, ‘a sár’ A, ‘áá sáár’ C;    at: ok Tˣ, skal U;    spenja: vekja U    [4] Sigvorðar (‘sigvrþar’): ‘sigvrþr’ U

Editions: Skj AI, 376, Skj BI, 345, Skald I, 174; SnE 1848-87, I, 476-7, II, 349, 454, 538, 593, SnE 1931, 168, SnE 1998, I, 87, 400.

Context: This begins a set of sts illustrating heiti for vargr ‘wolf’. The prose mentions kennings for ‘wolf’, then introduces Þjóðólfr’s st. to exemplify vargr itself; the citation is followed by a note that in it the wolf is also referred to as geri.

Notes: [1] Gera ‘for Geri <wolf>’: Geri (probably ‘greedy’) is named, with Freki, as one of Óðinn’s wolves in Grí 19/1 (NK 61), hence the word is a general heiti for ‘wolf’. — [2] ulf* ‘the wolf’: (a) Emendation of nom. sg. ulfr in the mss to acc. sg. ulf, as first proposed by Konráð Gíslason (1879a, 189; Nj 1875-8, II, 75), is attractive, since without it there are two potential subjects for the verb kom ‘came’: sonr Sigvorðar ‘Sigurðr’s son, Haraldr’ and ulfr, and the former, as a human subject, appears more likely given that kom is accompanied by norðan ‘from the north’. (b) The ms. reading can be retained if á is read as the 3rd pers. sg. pres. indic. of eiga ‘own, possess, have’, hence á sár/sr at spenja ‘has a wound/wounds to entice (with)’, i.e. can entice the wolf with his enemies’ wounds. This interpretation is offered by Faulkes, citing Frank’s suggestion of a connection between spenja and speni ‘teat’ (SnE 1998, I, 87, 400 and Frank 1978, 86). Spenja means to ‘entice’ or ‘attract’ (especially sby to change their allegiance or location). Sveinbjörn Egilsson had hesitantly adopted the same cl. arrangement, suggesting ‘Sigurðr’s son has wounds to cause’ (filius Sigurdi vulnera habet inferenda, SnE 1848-87, I, 476-7). — [3] sôr ‘the wounds’: The ms. spellings are compatible with normalised sár sg. and sr pl., but the latter seems slightly more likely. — [4] Sigvorðar ‘of Sigurðr’: This form is required in order that the first two syllables of the l. do not resolve (whereas Sigurðr is indicated in ÞjóðA Lv 6/1).


  1. Bibliography
  2. SnE 1848-87 = Snorri Sturluson. 1848-87. Edda Snorra Sturlusonar: Edda Snorronis Sturlaei. Ed. Jón Sigurðsson et al. 3 vols. Copenhagen: Legatum Arnamagnaeanum. Rpt. Osnabrück: Zeller, 1966.
  3. 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.
  4. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  5. Frank, Roberta. 1978. Old Norse Court Poetry: The Dróttkvætt Stanza. Islandica 42. Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press.
  6. 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.
  7. SnE 1931 = Snorri Sturluson. 1931. Edda Snorra Sturlusonar. Ed. Finnur Jónsson. Copenhagen: Gyldendal.
  8. SnE 1998 = Snorri Sturluson. 1998. Edda: Skáldskaparmál. Ed. Anthony Faulkes. 2 vols. University College London: Viking Society for Northern Research.
  9. Konráð Gíslason. 1879a. ‘Bemærkninger til nogle steder i Skáldskaparmál’. ÅNOH, 185-202.
  10. Internal references
  11. Not published: do not cite ()
  12. Diana Whaley (ed.) 2009, ‘Þjóðólfr Arnórsson, Lausavísur 6’ in Kari Ellen Gade (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 2: From c. 1035 to c. 1300. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 2. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 171-2.

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