5 The king as the slayer of evildoers—Hákon, who advances before his ranks. The translator has attempted to make this stanza adumbrate the involved manner of skaldic poetry.

 

6 This was King Harald Graycloak’s reputation.

 

7 Gamli Eiríksson?

 

8 Thórálf’s.

 

1 As a fact, Snorri quotes it in its entirety. It is worth noting that málaháttr is used for the narrative portions, ljóðaháttr for the dialogue and final elegiac passages.

 

2 Óthin. Gondul and Skogul are two of his valkyries.

 

3 Kenningar for “swords,” and “battle-axes,” respectively.

 

4 “Sea-of-wounds” and “stream-of-arrows” are kenningar for “blood.”

 

5 Kenningar for “battle.”

 

6 i.e. halcyon, elysian.

 

7 The messenger god, the god of poetry, and Óthin, respectively.

 

8 Because Hákon had deserted him for Christ?

 

9 Óthin’s warriors in Valholl.

 

10 Kenning for “king” as subduing them.

 

11 The sons of Harald Fairhair?

 

12 The monster which in “the twilight of the gods” swallows the sun and kills Óthin.

 

13 This line, as well as stanza 97, are echoes from the Eddic “Hávamál,” stanzas 1 and 76.

 

1 Ygg is one of Óthin’s names; his “hawks” are the ravens or eagles.

 

2 This is stanza 72, repeated.

 

3 i.e. ravens.

 

4 According to the legend, King Hrólf Kraki of Denmark “sowed” gold rings on the Fýri Plain to retard pursuit by the Swedes.

 

5 Ullr was a god.

 

6 As told in the Eddie “Lay of Grotti,” two captive giant maidens ground gold for King Fróthi on the wishing mill.

 

7 Thór’s mother is the earth.

 

8 Fulla is a goddess; her fillet, gold.

 

9 The gold hoard hidden in the River Rhine.

 

10 He had served King Harald Fairhair and King Hákon the Good.

 

11 That is, I am but a supernumerary now.

 

1 Both localities are east of the Trondheimfjord.

 

1 “Enumeration” (genealogy) of the princes of Hálogaland. It is in kviðuháttr, like Ynglingatal.

 

2 Óthin; his “swans” are the ravens.

 

3 An Icelandic skald. The title of his poem signifies “lack of gold.” See also stanza 101.

 

4 Hethin is a legendary hero; his “red-moon-of-battle” is a kenning for the round and red-stained war shield; its “whittler” a warrior.

 

5 Njorth is a god; the whole, a kenning for “warrior.”

 

6 Norway, from the point of view of the Icelander.

 

7 Atli and Leifi are sea kings. “Leifi’s weather (or storm)” is a kenning for “battle.”

 

1 The district south of Westfold, not to be confused with Greenland.

 

2 That is, Harald Grenski and Hrani.

 

1 The Firthafylki, the district lying between the Nordfjord and the Sognf jord.

 

1 That is, the hail of missiles on helmets, “battle.”

 

2 “The wine-of-Wayfarer (Óthin)” is “skaldship, the poem.”

 

3 Thrótt is a name of Óthin; the whole, a kenning for “battle.”

 

1 Svolnir is one of Óthin’s names; his mate is the earth.

 

2 The livestock which has to subsist on the buds of trees.

 

3 This has not been preserved.

 

4 The general assembly of Iceland.

 

5 Out of the silver donated.

 

6 Gerth is a goddess; the whole, a kenning for “woman.”

 

7 i.e. the fish.

 

1 On the coast of Jathar, though Snorri evidently thought it was somewhere in the Uppland districts.

 

1 Here also called Hólmgarth, the realm around the present Novgorod in Russia. Its king at the time was Vladimir the Great (980-1015).

 

1 The last two, semi-legendary kings.

 

1 He means the later King Svein Forkbeard.

 

2 By popular etymology interpreted as “hard distress.” Actually, it is the angr, “narrow fjord,” of the Horthar (the present Hardangerfjord).

 

1 The Limfjord.

 

2 Kenning for “gold.”

 

3 Earl Hákon.

 

1 Now Cape Lindesness.

 

1 An ornament worn by earls.

 

2 Kenning for “warrior, king”; here, Earl Hákon.

 

3 Earl Hákon.

 

1 Kenning for “battle.”

 

1 “Hethin’s-stormblast” is a kenning for “battle”; its Frey, “the king.”

 

2 Kenning for “warriors.”

 

3 A common practice in the earliest times for land warfare.

 

4 That is, as corpses.

 

1 Icelandic skald. His Drápa of the Gods, of which Snorri has preserved fragments here, celebrated the deeds of Eirík.

 

2 “Wound-flame” is a kenning for “sword.”

 

3 Kenning for “generous prince.”

 

4 This line is part of the refrain; which is completed in stanza 166, last line.

 

5 Kenning for “dragon ship.”

 

1 An insinuation of intimacy.

 

2 The island of Bornholm.

 

1 The present Pomerania.

 

2 The historic King Boleslav I (992-1025).

 

3 An Icelandic skald, about whom there exists a separate saga.

 

4 These lines hardly apply to the content of the chapter.

 

1 Otto II of Germany (973-983).

 

2 The line of fortifications extending in South Slesvik from the Baltic to the North Sea.

 

1 This kenning anticipates Óláf’s later role as missionary king.

 

1 Áli is a sea-king; the whole, a kenning for “ship.”

 

2 The inhabitants of Horthaland.

 

3 The king of Denmark.

 

4 Earl Hákon.

 

5 The emperor.

 

6 Kenning for “sailor, warrior”; here, Earl Hákon.

 

1 The Eyrar Sound (Öresund) and Scania are of course far to the south of the eastern mouth of the Limfjord.

 

2 Small islands at the mouth of the Gaut Elf (Göta Elf) River.

 

3 Kenning for “warrior.”

 

4 Sorli is a legendary hero; his “house” (or “roof”) is the shield.

 

1 The present town of Slesvik.

 

1 Kenning for “battle.”

 

2 The “steed-of-witches” is the wolf.

 

3 The king, as arbiter.

 

4 The Dutch island.

 

1 He reigned 938-980.

 

1 At the mouth of the Sognfjord.

 

2 To be likened to a mare was regarded as a mortal insult.

 

1 About him and other Jómsvíkings, see the Jómsvíkinga saga.

 

1 An Icelandic skald. About him and his rival in love and skaldship, Bjorn, see the Bjarnar saga Hitdœlakappa.

 

2 The planks of the Viking ship were secured by withies.

 

1 i.e. Earl Hákon (ironic).

 

2 An Icelandic skald.

 

3 A son of legendary King Jónakr.

 

1 An official appointed by the crown to administer lands and estates belonging to it.

 

2 Here, the Jómsvíkings, who had their stronghold in Wendish territory.

 

1 These cryptic words contain the reason for her otherwise inexplicable conduct: from the Legendary Saga of Saint Óláf we learn that she had wanted to become the mother of the saint. Note that she is called prescient about many things.

 

1 The present harbor of Osmondwall which, however, is not on (South) Ronaldshay but on the island of Hoy.

 

1 At the mouth of the Nith River.

 

2 An Icelandic skald.

 

1 Earl Eirík.

 

2 King Óláf.

 

3 Earl Hákon.

 

4 King Óláf. As to the kenning, see what is said about King Hrólf Kraki in chapter 29 of the “Ynglinga saga.”

 

5 Eirík. See his part in King Óláf’s fall, chapter 98th ff.

 

1 There is a gap here in all manuscripts of Heimskringla; but their names are known from other sources.

 

1 Not to be confused with Ástríth, the widow of King Harald of Grenland.

 

1 The intention of this symbolic act seems to be that Ástríth’s contrariness robs the king of the opportunity to raise Erling to the earldom. See the following chapter.

 

1 “Mouth of the Nith River,” the old name for the present city of Trondheim.

 

2 They carried with them a token in the shape of a carved stick or axe, which was sent from farm to farm.

 

1 Possibly identical with the persons of similar names in chapter 18 of “Hákonar saga Góða.”

 

1 The verses of both these skalds have come down to us in other sources.

 

1 The present Saltström, a powerful tidal current in and out of the Skjerstadfjord.

 

1 About him see the Laxdœla saga.

 

2 That is, of Njál and his family; about which see the Njáls saga; chapter 129.

 

3 Concerning the office of goði, see Introduction, page xi.

 

4 Vandræðaskjáld. See chapter 22, note 3.

 

1 That is, the “main” street of the town of Nitharós.

 

2 That is, if I do such a thing.

 

3 He who bestowed a name or cognomen on someone, whether child or adult, was expected to add a gift.

 

1 Now called Hornelen, on the island of Bremanger.

 

1 They are stanzas 161, 162 repeated.

 

2 Of Eyólf Dáthaskáld, see chapter 20.

 

3 Lines 4 and 8 are parts of the refrain.

 

4 On the German island of Fehmarn.

 

5 Lines 4 and 8 are parts of the refrain.

 

6 The raven.

 

1 The present town of Ladoga, near the lake of that name in Russia.

 

2 Esthonia and the island of Ösel, respectively.

 

3 Kenning for “sword.”

 

4 Lines 4 and 8 of each stanza are parts of the refrain.

 

5 Kenning for “king.”

 

1 The northern angelica is a large umbelliferous plant growing to a height of several feet. The stalks are used much like celery.

 

1 An Icelandic skald.

 

2 Olaf of Sweden (?).

 

3 Kenning for “ravens.”

 

1 The exact location of it is not known. In all probability, though, the battle took place near the German island of Rügen, and not, as Adam of Bremen would have it, in the sound.

 

1 King Óláf Tryggvason.

 

2 Earl Eirík or Sigvaldi?

 

1 This effective crescendo account of the approaching fleet of Óláf Tryggvason ultimately goes back, over Odd Snorrason and Fagrskinna, to the Monk of Saint Gall’s story of Desiderius, the King of the Langobards, who from a high tower in Pavia watches the approach of Charlemagne’s army.

 

1 In his Funeral Drápa of Óláf.

 

1 In the original, the two adjectives alliterate.

 

2 That is, fleeing.

 

1 The Swedes were still largely heathen at the time.

 

1 An Icelandic skald.

 

2 Eirík (?).

 

3 Kenning for “battle.”

 

4 They had sailed ahead.

 

1 Earl Eirík.

 

2 i.e. the Long Serpent’s. Fáfnir was the name of the dragon slain by Sigurth in the legend.

 

1 Two lines are evidently missing here, though none of the manuscripts gives an indication of that fact.

 

2 Kenning for “ships.”

 

3 Kenning for “king.”

 

1 Garm is the hell-hound; the whole, a kenning for “battle-axes,” which “bite” the shields with their thin (keen) edges.

 

2 That is, I am a skald.

 

1 King Óláf Tryggvason.

 

2 Earl Eirík.

 

3 Island off southern Hálogaland.

 

4 King Svein: a false rumor.

 

1 An Icelandic skald, nephew of Sigvat.

 

1 Kenning for “oars.” It was not considered beneath the dignity of kings to take a hand at the oar.

 

1 An Icelandic skald. The poem referred to is now called Víkingavísur “Stanzas Dealing with a Viking Expedition.”

 

2 The “long ship,” navis longa, is a battleship.

 

1 The present town of Sigtúna, on a branch of Lake Mælaren.

 

2 The outlet of Lake Mælaren, at the present site of Stockholm.

 

1 The island of Ösel, off Esthonia.

 

2 Kenning for “battle.”

 

1 The southern coast of Finland.

 

2 Kenning for “ships.”

 

1 On the west coast of Jutland.

 

2 Gondul is a valkyrie; her game, “battle.”

 

1 Part of the Dutch coast.

 

2 The king, as warder of the laws.

 

1 According to the legend, the Virgin Mary despatched Saint Mercury to kill the Apostate, and he ran the emperor through with his spear.

 

1 The present Ringmere in East Anglia, the district then ruled by Earl Úlfkel.

 

2 Kenning for “battle.”

 

3 Ella is one of the English kings of that name; the whole, a kenning for “the English.”

 

4 King Óláf.

 

5 King Knút’s bodyguard.

 

1 Here, King Óláf.

 

2 It is not known who these are.

 

3 Unknown place name.

 

1 Perhaps the village of Dol at the head of the Golfe de Saint Malo, near Saint Michel.

 

2 Kenning for “battle.”

 

1 Grislupollar, Williamsby, and Fetlafjord are unidentified.

 

2 The Guadalquivir River in southern Spain.

 

3 Unidentified.

 

1 The town of Guerande in southern Bretagne.

 

2 Touraine.

 

3 The Loire.

 

1 Óláf Tryggvason. See “Óláfs saga Tryggvasonar,” chapter 57.

 

2 Rognvald Úlfsson, earl of West Gautland. The second half of this stanza evidently does not belong here.

 

1 Bothn is the name of the vessel in which the mead of skaldship was brewed; its “flood” (contents), “skaldship.”

 

1 In kviðuháttr measure.

 

1 Unidentified.

 

2 The Wolds, or Lincoln Heights, are a ridge extending from Lincolnshire to Northumberland in a north-south direction.

 

1 Kenning for “king.”

 

2 Now, Selje, a small island on the southern side of Cape Stath.

 

3 Strait between the island of Vagsö and the mainland.

 

1 Narrows between the island of Atleö and the mainland.

 

1 Against gnats and flies ?

 

1 This and other localities mentioned in this chapter are in the Trondheimfjord.

 

1 A tax which foreigners had to pay on arrival in Norway as well as on their departure.

 

1 By the Icelandic skald, Thórth Særekksson. A flokk is a shorter poem without refrain.

 

1 The Translator has, in this half-stanza, tried to give an example of the interweaving of sentences in skaldic verse.

 

1 Atli is the name of a sea-king; the whole, a kenning for “ships.”

 

2 Kenning for “ravens.”

 

3 An Icelandic woman skald. Bersi was one of the skald Kormák’s adversaries. This flokk, of which we have only the three stanzas here translated, evidently was in the nature of a “head-ransom.”

 

4 Kenning for “warrior.”

 

5 Kenning for “the wealth-dispensing king.”

 

1 Kenning for “sailor, king.”

 

1 These were of lesser rank than the men composing the king’s bodyguard, the hirth. The “guests” fulfilled the role of his executive and were used for particularly dangerous missions.

 

1 His cognomen inn digri, “the Stout,” may also have this meaning.

 

1 It still forms part of the boundary between Norway and Sweden.

 

2 The site of the present town of Sarpsborg.

 

1 A farm in Ranríki.

 

1 The present city of Novgorod.

 

1 It was believed that a king’s “luck” was potent and could be conferred by him on one going on a dangerous errand.

 

1 In the translation of this and following stanzas of Sigvat’s poem Austrfararvísur “Stanzas About a Journey East” the attempt has been made to reproduce both the alliteration and the internal rimes of the original.

 

2 Kenning for “ships.”

 

3 Kenning for “ships.”

 

4 Ræfil is the name of a sea-king; the whole, a kenning for “ships.” They were dragged ashore on rollers for winter.

 

1 That is, Sarpsborg.

 

1 That is, the present Gudbrands Dale and adjoining valleys.

 

2 This, as well as the localities mentioned in the next chapter, is located near Lake Mjors.

 

1 The present town of Eidsvoll.

 

2 Here, the forest between southern Norway and Sweden.

 

1 Near Uppsala.

 

1 It was etiquette to defer broaching the purpose of one’s visit. The more important this purpose, the longer the wait.

 

1 The present Karelia, Esthonia, and Courland, respectively.

 

2 Very likely, Snorri is thinking of the Mórathing, the assembly near Uppsala, where the Swedish kings received the oath of allegiance.

 

1 The raised platform along the sides of a hall.

 

1 Lough Larne, in Ireland.

 

1 The following stanzas are part of his Austrfararvísur, see chapter 71, note 1.

 

2 Here the Eith Forest.

 

3 Ironic kennings for “boat.”

 

4 Sacrificial feasts for the elves (álfar), the álfablot, took place in fall. It has been surmised that the álfar were the souls of departed ancestors.

 

5 Ironic kenning for “generous man.”

 

6 The person referred to is unknown.

 

7 The Sognings are the people of the Sogn District; the whole, a kenning for “King Óláf.”

 

8 Kenning for “ocean.”

 

9 In other words, emissaries from either ruler are to be treated well, reciprocally.

 

10 Earl Rognvald.

 

11 This paragraph repeats what was said above.

 

12 Jaroslav, king of Kiev and Novgorod (1016-1054).

 

1 Valdimar, Vsevolod. Jarizleif’s daughter by Ingigerth was Ellisif, who married King Harald Hardruler. See his saga, chapter 17.

 

1 Or what he considered to be so.

 

2 Since the verb etja means “to incite,” the name Atti probably signifies “the contentious one.” Dœlskr denotes a “stay-at-home, a dunce.”

 

3 At the mouth of the Fýrisá River, near Uppsala.

 

4 After the death of King Emund the Old who succeeded his brother Jákob (Onund), Earl Steinkel was elected king of Sweden (1060). He had married Emund’s daughter.

 

1 This chapter is in part a recapitulation of “Haralds saga Hárfagra,” chapters 27 ff.

 

2 By Thorbjorn Hornklofi. See “Haralds saga Hárfagra,” chapter 9, note 1.

 

3 King Malcolm McKenneth (1005-1034).

 

4 For this famous battle see the Njals saga, Chapter 157.

 

5 An Icelandic skald, attached first to the Orkney earls, Rognvald and Thorfinn, then to King Magnús. This half stanza is part of his Thorfinn’s drápa.

 

1 In chapter 86. Eyvind had fought against Einar.

 

2 That is, Earl Einar’s.

 

1 Norway, from the point of view of the Western Islands.

 

1 The Orkneyinga saga, chapter 19.

 

1 The fur trade with the Finns (or, rather, Lapps) was a royal monopoly.

 

1 The heathen gods.

 

1 The “lair-hoard” of the dragon is gold; its “loather” (enemy), the generous prince.

 

2 The name of a difficult passage between the hamlets of Vági and Sil.

 

1 See “Hákonar saga Góða,” chapter 11, note 1.

 

1 It is, rather, on the large island of Hinney in the northern Lofoten Islands.

 

1 According to the Old Norse adage náttvíg eru morðvíg “night slayings are murder.”

 

2 The office of the ninth hour, three o’clock in the afternoon.

 

1 It is not known what mounds are referred to nor why this warning is uttered.

 

2 Lake Vangsmjösen.

 

3 That is, between Lake Vangsmjösen and the Slidrefjord.

 

1 Carolus Magnus, Charlemagne.

 

1 A fair held in spring at the end of the fishing season.

 

1 An Icelandic skald, so called because he is said to have composed a poem (now lost) on his paramour, “coalbrows.” There exists a separate saga about him.

 

1 An Icelandic skald, see chapter 50, note 2.

 

1 Permia.

 

2 On the island of Ringvatsöy (latitude 70).

 

3 Finnish Jumala “God.”

 

4 On the island of Mageröy, not far from the North Cape.

 

5 Settlement opposite the large island of Senja.

 

1 Small island northwest of Bergen.

 

2 Island off Horthaland.

 

1 This is a repetition of the account given in greater detail in “Hákonar saga Góða,” chapter 12.

 

1 An Icelandic skald.

 

2 That is, the lampooning verse Stein had composed about him.

 

3 Just west of the city of Trondheim.

 

4 Small island not far to the northwest of the town of Álesund.

 

5 As a baptismal present.

 

6 The name of the place is not given in the best manuscripts.

 

7 At the entrance of the Trondheimfjord.

 

1 A mark is equal in weight to eight ounces.

 

2 Note that the fine was assessed in gold, but that the payments made are in silver.

 

3 This is a hint as to the role Thórir plays in the battle of Stiklarstathir.

 

1 On the day following?

 

1 A group of small islands west of Ålesund.

 

1 There is a lacuna here in the best manuscripts and the remainder are vague. Obviously words are missing to the effect that the king was enraged and vowed vengeance, but…

 

2 The reference is to the Fœringa saga, from which much of the preceding account is taken.

 

1 Óláf Tryggvason.

 

2 Óláf Haraldsson.

 

1 This is part of the refrain of the drápa. It is completed in stanzas 287, 288. The measure of the Knútsdrápa is töglag; which consists of eight four syllable lines, with the odd and even lines held together by alliteration, the even lines (in the original) showing aðalhending (complete inner rime), the odd lines, irregularly, skothending (consonant inner rime).

 

2 That is, Óláf.

 

1 The stanza does not seem to fit the context. Nothing is known about Earl Hákon (Eiríksson) having tried to reconcile the king with his yeomen.

 

1 Icelandic skald. Only this one stanza of his drápa is preserved.

 

2 The Egthirs and Skanings were the inhabitants of the districts of Agthir and Scania.

 

3 Knút.

 

1 Inlet in the Swedish province of Blekinge.

 

1 The present town of Roskilde.

 

1 Points of land near the present town of Skanör, at the southern entrance to the sound.

 

2 Smaller island off the coast of Halland.

 

3 Fróthi is a sea-king; the whole, a kenning for “the sea.”

 

1 Of Heithmork. See chapter 75.

 

1 On the boundary between the districts of Grenland and East Agthir.

 

1 Which is all that has come down to us of this poem.

 

2 Concerning its measure see note on stanza 279.

 

3 The portion of the refrain completing this line is not transmitted.

 

4 A bold headland just west of Lithandisness.

 

5 The present Tjernagel, a cluster of houses some fifteen miles north of the town of Haugesund; or, more likely, the peak of Hornelen. See “Óláfs saga Tryggvasonar,” chapter 85, note 1.

 

6 Now, Stemshesten, a high promontory north of the town of Molde.

 

7 Eelhome is the sea.

 

8 The valley (?) of the Nith River in Trondheim.

 

9 That is, the ravens.

 

1 An Icelandic skald. Only a few stanzas of his poem on King Knút are preserved.

 

2 Kenning for “warrior.”

 

1 A cluster of small islands west of Cape Lithandisness.

 

1 The single sail, fastened to a boom, could be hoisted or lowered by a halyard along the mast.

 

1 Small islands between the island of Bókn and Tunguness, northwest of the present city of Stavanger.

 

2 Kenning for “the sea.”

 

3 Erling.

 

4 Kenning for “the earth.”

 

5 On the island of Mosterey, near the present town of Ålesund, at the southern entrance of Bóknfjord.

 

6 The people of Horthaland.

 

1 i.e. the possession of land, of which he strove to deprive Óláf.

 

2 An Icelandic skald. Eight stanzas are preserved of this poem.

 

3 Gríthr is a troll woman; her “steed” is “the wolf.”

 

4 West of Ålesund, as are the localities mentioned in the next chapter.

 

1 Northwest of the town of Molde.

 

1 Near Lesjar in the Guthbrands Dale.

 

1 Between lakes Veneren and Vettern. His route apparently lay over the frozen Veneren, then through the Tiveden Forest.

 

2 Euphemistic for “beheaded.”

 

1 Something of the spirit of the previous rightful owner was supposed to reside in a treasured possession of his which would take revenge on the unlawful owner.

 

2 On his return from Russia.

 

1 King Óláf.

 

2 Russia. The two helmings seem to be from different poems.

 

3 That is, with King Óláf.

 

1 Name of the tidal current in the Pentland Firth.

 

1 That is, Great Bulgaria, a dominion about the middle course of the Volga.

 

1 The present Swedish province of Dalarne.

 

1 Kenning for “fire.”

 

2 People of the district of Trondheim.

 

1 All Icelandic skalds.

 

2 “Hethin’s leman” is the valkyrie Hild, whose name signifies “battle.”

 

3 That is, in Norway.

 

4 Thund is one of Óthin’s names; his “thing-of-arrows” is a kenning for “battle.”

 

1 In fornyrðislag meter. (Bothvar) Bjarki was one of the heroes among the legendary Danish King Hrólf Kraki’s warriors who fell fighting for his lord. These stanzas are the only ones of the lay preserved in the original. The remainder are found in Saxo Grammaticus’ Latin version, Gesta Danorum, Book II, 7. For a restoration of it see Axel Olrik’s The Heroic Legends of Denmark, vol. I, chapter II.

 

2 King Hrólf’s ally.

 

3 “Wound-snake” is a kenning for “sword.”

 

1 Hrút signifies “ram.”

 

2 Kenning for “battle.”

 

1 Some twenty-eight stanzas of this drápa are preserved, but not the burden.

 

2 That is, Thórth.

 

1 In Nitharós; see chapter 245.

 

1 Not to be confused with King Óláf’s bishop of the same name.

 

1 One of Kálf Árnason’s brothers.

 

1 That is, after Óláf was declared a saint.

 

2 Kenning for “warriors.”

 

1 Ygg is one of the names of Óthin; the whole a kenning for “warrior.”

 

2 Kenning for “warrior.”

 

3 Perhaps Sigvat returned from Rome by way of England.

 

1 The Old Norse bjorn means “bear.”

 

1 Kenning for “warrior.”

 

2 Kenning for “woman.”

 

1 Actually, the 31st of August (1030), as determined by the occurrence of the eclipse.

 

2 Kenning for “blood.”

 

1 In the kviðuháttr measure. See chapter 245 for the rest of the poem. Its title apparently means “Sea-calm-lay”—why is not known.

 

2 “Descendant of the mythical King Dag, prince.”

 

3 The royal race of Denmark, descendants of King Knút.

 

1 This miracle is not reported elsewhere.

 

1 Referring to King Óláf’s army before the battle of Stiklarstath.

 

1 See “Óláfs saga Tryggvasonar,” chapter 32.

 

1 Attributed to Sigvat. No more of it is preserved.

 

2 The only stanza preserved of this poem by an unknown skald.

 

1 In dróttkvœtt measure, as distinguished from his Magnússdrápa in hrynhent, stanzas 374, 375, which has an extra foot.

 

2 This locality has not been identified.

 

3 That is, Harald Fairhair’s.

 

4 The son of the skald Arnór. His poem, called Magnússflokkr, appears to have been preserved in its entirety.

 

1 See chapter 1, note 1, for the metre.

 

2 Kenning for “battle.”

 

3 The œgishjálmr of the original is probably (like the corresponding Greek, AIγιs) a helmet (or shield) decorated with the terror-inspiring Medusa or dragon. It is here used figuratively.

 

4 The ravens.

 

1 The “market town,” here, Nitharós.

 

1 It is uncertain what locality or occasion is referred to.

 

2 Sigvat’s father.

 

1 East of Cape Lithandisness.

 

2 The warriors’ shields were hung along the gunwales of the warships.

 

3 Nothing of this has come down to us.

 

1 See “Óláfs saga Helga,” chapter 122.

 

1 See “Óláfs saga Helga,” chapter 203.

 

2 The following lines are in the fornyrðislag meter.

 

1 That is, Harald Hardruler’s, Magnús.

 

1 Not to be confused with Thorgeir Flekk; see “Óláfs saga Helga,” chapter 203 and chapter 13 above.

 

1 Probably preserved in its entirety.

 

2 See “Haralds saga Hárfagra,” chapter 39.

 

3 Probably to the effect to let bygones be bygones.

 

4 Probably from the color of its parchment binding.

 

1 Probably the side planks of the beak.

 

2 This stanza is from his Magnúss drápa hrynhent.

 

3 The present city of Stavanger.

 

1 In north central Jutland.

 

1 See “Óláfs saga Helga,” chapter 153.

 

1 Stanzas 39, 40 are in hrynhent.

 

1 Western Pomerania and the island of Rügen, respectively.

 

1 “Sea-glow” is a kenning for “gold” (from the treasure of the Niflungs thrown into the Rhine). Its “keepers” are the kings.

 

2 Hethin’s maid is the valkyrie Hild, “battle.”

 

3 Kenning for “king.”

 

4 Kenning for “warriors.”

 

5 Kenning for “battle.”

 

1 That is, who was the leader of the enemy.

 

2 Earl Svein.

 

3 Men of the Raums Dale.

 

4 Scandinavian term for franklins, farmers.

 

1 Earl Svein.

 

2 Inhabitants of Scania.

 

1 A Norwegian skald. Only two stanzas of his poem about King Magnús have come down to us.

 

2 See chapter 1, note 1 for the verse.

 

3 Kenning for “blood.”

 

4 Kenning for “battle.”

 

1 Reference to a later exploit of Harald not told by Snorri but evidently known to Thjóthólf.

 

1 A brother of Thjóthólf. Of his drápa about Harald, only this stanza and 80, 98, and 102 have come down to us besides a few other fragments.

 

2 Kenning for “warrior.”

 

3 In the hrynhent measure, which has end rimes. Of this poem about Harald only a few verses are preserved.

 

1 She ruled 1028-1052; Michael Katalaktes, 1034-1041.

 

2 The name of the North Germanic mercenaries serving under the Greek empire.

 

1 Mercenaries from the Romance countries; or, possibly, Normans who spoke French.

 

2 An Icelandic skald. Only a few verses of his poem on Harald have come down to us.

 

3 The legendary king of the Huns who with treacherous intention invited the Burgundian kings Gunnar and Hogni to his court. See the Eddic lay of “Atlakviða.” In the original the sentence forms part of the refrain.

 

1 Stúf the Blind was an Icelandic skald at the court of Harald. Some eight stanzas of his drápa have come down to us.

 

2 This is part of the refrain, completed in stanzas 452 and 475.

 

3 The people of the district of Agthir.

 

1 He ruled (with Zóë) 1042-1054.

 

1 An Icelandic skald. No other verse by him has been preserved.

 

1 The harbor of Byzantium.

 

2 The lagoon at the mouth of the Dniepr.

 

3 Of these, only three stanzas besides the one cited here have come down to us.

 

4 Gerth is a goddess; the whole, a kenning for “woman.”

 

1 “Palace-plundering.”

 

1 An Icelandic skald. Besides this stanza and 459-462 we have some eight stanzas by him of a poem about Harald.

 

1 This sentence is supplied from other sources.

 

1 Harald.

 

1 The present Randersfjord.

 

2 Kennings for “woman.”

 

3 Kenning for the fluke of an anchor.

 

4 A skald unknown otherwise.

 

1 Of this poem we have some twelve stanzas.

 

2 That is, the inhabitants of the inner reaches of the Trondheimfjord.

 

3 That is, with warlike intent. Red shields indicated that.

 

4 Buthli is a sea-king; his pathway, “the sea.”

 

5 The present Danish district of Thy which, however, is on the the west side of Jutland.

 

6 Incomplete refrain.

 

1 Ironic, of course.

 

1 About 350 pounds.

 

2 The general assembly of Iceland.

 

1 An Icelandic skald. Stanza 497 seems to be the only one of his Úlfsflokk that has come down to us.

 

1 That is, be slain.

 

1 That is, he had to cut Kálf down to prevent his acquiring more power.

 

1 King of Dublin 1035-1038 and 1046-1052.

 

1 The cross, with the image of Christ on it.

 

1 A type of merchant vessel also used for war.

 

1 Kenning for “storm.”

 

2 That is, a meeting.

 

3 A point of land near the mouth of the Gaut Elf River.

 

1 The archipelago south of Funen.

 

2 Now called Laholms Bay.

 

3 In his Nizarvísur (Níz River Strains), of which seven stanzas are preserved.

 

1 Kelpland is “the sea”; the whole, a kenning for “ships.”

 

1 Here, honorific for “kings.”

 

2 That is, Harald’s ship.

 

3 Kenning for Svein.

 

1 “One who is in trouble.”

 

2 Which his exhumed skeleton proved to be true.

 

3 Supplied from the Friisbok version.

 

1 Snorri evidently does not know who composed it.

 

2 “Blueland” is a poetic synonym for “sea.”

 

1 Their present name is Trollhättan Falls, in the Gaut Elf River.

 

2 King Harald.

 

3 King Steinkel.

 

1 Logi is “wild-fire,” and also the name of the divinity of fire; the whole, a kenning for “conflagration.”

 

1 Because of a lack of seed corn and draft animals.

 

1 Ironic: to join the company of the departed.

 

2 That is, with the prince who feeds them.

 

1 Giant, troll.

 

2 The repetition of the last line is a feature of the galdralag or “magic measure.”

 

1 Meaning Óláf the Stout.

 

2 Kenning for “wolf,” which is the troll women’s mount.

 

1 This is the first line of the refrain of Stein’s Óláfs drápa, continued in stanza 535, and completed in a stanza handed down elsewhere. We have about seventeen stanzas of this drápa.

 

2 “Short poem about Harald,” in the fornyrðislag measure. Its author is not known.

 

1 Rime here in the original. The measure is fornyrðislag, considered inferior to dróttkvœtt.

 

2 Hild is a valkyrie; the whole, a kenning for “proud woman.”

 

1 An Icelandic (?) skald. Of his poem only this and the following stanza are preserved.

 

2 Valthjóf is the Old Norse form of Old English Wæltheow.

 

3 Ygg is one of Óthin’s names; the whole, a kenning for “warrior.”

 

4 Kenning for “wolf” as the mount of troll women.

 

1 See the estimate given of King Harold, chapter 91.

 

2 Equivalent to eight ounces of gold.

 

1 The reference both here and in the following verse is probably to Saint Óláf.

 

1 See “Haralds saga Sigurðarsonar,” chapter 85, note 1.

 

1 Which would have been a fire hazard with the open langeldar (long fire) in the middle of the hall.

 

2 The guilds were secular brotherhoods that functioned for the mutual protection of the members.

 

3 “The town’s help, or improvement.”

 

1 The wolves.

 

1 For these functionaries, see “Óláfs saga Helga,” chapter 57, note.

 

1 In a procession.

 

1 A short distance west of the town.

 

2 East of the town.

 

1 An Icelandic skald. Nine stanzas of his poem are handed down by Snorri in the following chapters.

 

2 That is, Magnús.

 

1 An Icelandic skald. Besides this one, four other stanzas of his poem are preserved.

 

1 Svein, Egil, Skjálg, and Thórir himself.

 

2 Kenning for “woman.”

 

3 “The fire-of-fray” is a kenning for “sword”; “its waster,” “the warrior.”

 

1 The wolves.

 

1 District in southern Norway.

 

1 Saint Columba’s Church on Iona.

 

1 Inhabitants of Horthaland.

 

1 Muirkertach, the son of Tirdelvagh, was king of Munster 1086-1119.

 

1 See “Magnúss saga ins Góða,” chapter 11, for his name and genealogy. We are not told of his being outlawed.

 

1 An Icelandic skald. The following stanza, as well as stanzas 562 and 563 are part of a drápa (in the second töglag meter) of which some seven stanzas are preserved.

 

2 An Icelandic skald and King Eystein’s marshal. Of him we have more verse material than of any other skald, barring Sigvat (whom he resembled in some respects).

 

1 The Holy Land (?).

 

2 Kenning for “the sky.”

 

3 Of Compostella, in Galicia.

 

4 An Icelandic skald, who seems to have accompanied Sigurth on this expedition. Of his Útferðar drápa (Drápa about a Journey Abroad) all we have is preserved by Snorri.

 

1 That is, Mohammedan.

 

2 Not identified with certainty. Arabic al-kasr means “fortification.”

 

1 Here, the Barbary Coast.

 

2 The southwesternmost of the Balearic Islands.

 

3 A fornyrðislag stanza, as in 564.

 

4 Kenning for “ships.”

 

5 Kenning for “ships.”

 

1 A short distance north of Forminterra.

 

1 The Norwegian king.

 

1 For βλαχέρναɩ the location of the imperial palace.

 

1 Close to, or identical with, Slesvík.

 

1 Not identified.

 

1 Actually, Lund, on the west side of Scania, is about seventy-five miles distant from Thumathorp.

 

1 The present St. Halvard’s Street in Oslo.

 

1 This drápa of 71 stanzas, also called Geisli (Ray), is preserved in its entirety.

 

1 Or Plenarium: book containing all the material required for the Roman Catholic liturgical service.

 

1 Earlier Eirík had fled from his father’s brother, Níkolás, to Norway, and had probably received aid from Harald.

 

1 Njorth is a god; the whole, a kenning for “prince.”

 

2 King Sigar’s enemy is the hero Hagbarth, who seduced his daughter and was hanged; the whole, a kenning for “the gallows.”

 

3 English Husting, originally a meeting called by the king.

 

1 Concerning these see “Óláfs saga Helga,” chapter 57, note 1.

 

1 Múgi means “mob, multitude of men.”

 

1 The present Øvregaten in Bergen.

 

1 Snorri’s foster father.

 

1 Ratibor, duke of Pomerania, († 1152).

 

1 Concerning these see “Haralds saga Sigurðarsonar,” chapter 32.

 

2 Contrary to the king’s command?

 

1 On the island of Munkholm, outside of the town of Nitharós.

 

2 Weeds (garments)-of-Óthin is a kenning for “armor”; their reddener, “the warrior.”

 

1 An Icelandic skald. His poem, of some forty-six stanzas, in fornyrðislag, seems preserved in its entirety.

 

1 Held at Sarpsborg.

 

1 An Icelandic skald. Six stanzas of his drápa about King Ingi have come down to us.

 

2 Part of the refrain, which has not been handed down completely.

 

3 In the Ranríki District.

 

1 The patron saint of the Vík District.

 

2 Near Oslo.

 

1 The present Ærø, south of Funen.

 

1 Small island near the present town of Florø (Søndfjord).

 

2 So that it would not be visible above the water when sunk.

 

3 The largest island of Norway, lat. 68.30-69.

 

4 In fornyrðislag, as is 584.

 

5 Of Hálogaland.

 

1 The fortieth day after Easter.

 

1 Island group south of Eastfold, at the entrance of the Oslofjord.

 

2 That is, in heaven.

 

1 About him, see introduction p. xvii.

 

1 A lacuna in the manuscripts of Heimskringla at this point is supplied from the Fagrskinna codex.

 

1 Kenning for “shields”: the sword blows break against them as the waves on a ness.

 

1 An Icelandic skald. Only three stanzas of his poem are preserved.

 

2 Kenning for “warriors.”

 

1 In his poem on Eystein (in riming hrynhent measure) of which ten stanzas ara preserved.

 

1 1135-1154.

 

2 Location unknown.

 

3 Location unknown.

 

4 Substituted here for the (unidentified) Partar of the original.

 

5 There is a Great and Little Langton in the North Riding of Yorkshire.

 

1 Inhabitants of Raumaríki.

 

1 Not far from the present town of Skien.

 

2 The present village of Etne in Hardanger.

 

1 It is not clear which place by that name is meant.

 

2 This statement is not supported.

 

1 Unidentified.

 

1 “(Ship) clinker-built with beech planks.”

 

1 Kenning for “wolf,” the ogresses’ mount.

 

2 Karmt is an island off the southwest coast of Norway; its “ring,” the sea surrounding it.

 

3 Kenning for “ships.”

 

4 Only these two stanzas of it are handed down to us.

 

1 It empties into the sea at the present town of Uddevalla, Sweden.

 

2 “Fated to die.”

 

3 Near the present town of Skien.

 

1 Meaning, to heaven.

 

1 The localities mentioned here and in the following chapters are near Oslo.

 

1 That is, daughter of King Sigurth Jerusalemfarer.

 

1 See “Magnússona saga,” chapter 9.

 

2 That is, in the poem called Geisli, stanza 43. See “Magnússona saga,” chapter 30, note 1.

 

1 Inhabited by Petchenegs, a Turkish tribe, along the lower Danube.

 

1 Waldemar I, “The Great.” He ruled 1157-1182.

 

1 Close to Tunsberg.

 

2 “Brave warriors.” Here, ironical.

 

1 There is in all manuscripts a lacuna here for the name.

 

2 Apparently a kind of scaffold by the mast (to fight from?).

 

1 Both claiming direct descent from King Harald Gilli.

 

1 Both in the environs of Bergen.

 

1 It is to be borne in mind that no previous king of Norway was crowned nor given the clerical unction.

 

1 On the island of Tysnäsø off the southwest coast of Norway.

 

1 The present town of Randers.

 

1 There is in all manuscripts a lacuna here for the name; but the lake clearly is Lake Mjors.

 

1 From twenty-five to thirty English miles.

 

1 Whence his cognomen Skakki, which means “Wry-necked.”