Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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ÞjóðA Magn 5II/2 — Skônunga ‘of the Skánungar’

Saurstokkinn bar svíra
snarr Skônunga harri;
undrs, nema allvaldr Lundar
aldrprúðr fyrir haldi.
Gær flugu mold ok mýrar
(merki jarls ins sterkja
slóð drap framm at flóði)
flaugardǫrr (of hauga).

Snarr harri Skônunga bar saurstokkinn svíra; undrs, nema aldrprúðr allvaldr Lundar haldi fyrir. Flaugardǫrr flugu gær mold ok mýrar; merki ins sterkja jarls drap slóð of hauga framm at flóði.

The valiant ruler of the Skánungar [= Magnús] went with a mud-spattered neck; it is a wonder unless the life-splendid overlord of Lund [= Magnús] holds out. Flighted spears flew yesterday over earth and bogs; the standard of the powerful jarl beat a track across the hills onwards to the sea.


[2] Skônunga harri: harri mjǫg fjarri Hr


[2, 3] harri Skônunga; allvaldr Lundar ‘ruler of the Skánungar [= Magnús]; overlord of Lund [= Magnús]’: These must refer to the victorious Magnús, who claimed supremacy over Skåne (Skáney), now in southern Sweden, but formerly part of the Dan. territories (cf. Magn 9, where í Danmǫrku ‘in Denmark’ and of Skáney ‘across Skåne’ are juxtaposed. Lund (from ON lundr m. ‘grove’) is one of the largest and oldest centres of population in Skåne. That it was Magnús who got a saurstokkinn svíra ‘mud-spattered neck’ (i.e. was spattered right up to the neck) might seem undignified, but taken together with ll. 3-4 this seems to suggest that he stopped at nothing, hacking through bogs to pursue his enemy and defend his perceived rights.




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