Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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2. Manuals and Guidelines

1. Mini Manual (HB)
2. Manual Supplement 2 (HB)
3. Guidelines supplement (TW)

(2. Manuals and Guidelines > 1. Mini Manual)

1. Mini Manual (HB)

(subheadings only)

i. (Preface)

The present handbook acts as a supplement to and update of previous editions of the Editors' Manual, and should be used in conjunction with the information provided there. It includes material useful for Contributing Editors deriving from the Third Edition, originally intended for the use of General Editors and Research Associates, and reflects changes and additions to the guidelines as agreed at the General Editors' meetings in 2005, 2006 and 2007. This material supersedes equivalent information in previous editions, and Contributing Editors should follow the guidelines given in the present edition where these are additional or representative of changes of practice. Please note that owing to continuing development of the database interface, the procedure for web submission is subject to ongoing modification and instructions have consequently not been included here; guidelines for this process will be kept up-to-date on the skaldic website. The list of sigla for the corpus (which is large and also subject to revision) has similarly been excluded from this handbook; the most up-to-date version can be found under the 'database' tab on the website, headed 'skj refs' for material in Skjaldedigtning or 'SkP refs' for material new to our edition (you need to be logged in to access this information).

The following symbols indicate new material for this edition:

          Material in the Third Edition deriving from the Supplement
          Material in the Third Edition deriving from correspondence
#          Material extra to the Third Edition, agreed 2005-07.

1. Checklist for editors

In addition to the edited text and accompanying materials for the poem or stanzas edited, editors are asked to pass to their Volume Editor the following:

a.      A complete list of the mss used, listed by both full and abbreviated sigla. If a siglum required is not available on the project website, this must be established in consultation with the relevant Volume Editor and Tarrin Wills. Editors will need to incorporate these lists into their introductions.

b.      Transcriptions of at least the main ms. of each stanza, according to the instructions in >> 3. Guidelines on presentation for submission B-11. # If the transcription was made by Valgerður Erna Þorvaldsdóttir and is therefore already in the database, please indicate this to your Volume Editor.

c.       A list of material from your edited text for inclusion in the general indices, viz.:

i.       personal names, with dates where known, and nicknames, if known, the latter translated into English, as in Þorgeirr flekkr 'Spot'. Include among personal names mythological beings and names of Christian figures, excluding 'God' (not regarded as a personal name);

ii.      indigenous terms for which there is no precise English translation (e.g. hersir, drómundr) and suggested explanations;

iii.     place- and district-names;

iv.     major battles;

v.      ethnic and regional names, e.g. Upplendingar, Danir.

d.      Full bibliographical references, in accordance with the Bibliographical guidelines (>>7. II-IV), for any primary or secondary sources referred to and for which abbreviated references are not provided.

e.       First lines of verses where major variants exist, to be incorporated in the Index of First Lines.

2. Information about the Edition

i. Publication schedule
ii. Quality control

3. Guidelines on presentation for submission

A. Format, corpus and general layout
B. Presentation of individual verses

4. Guidelines on Normalisation

# Please note that this section acts a supplement to the guidelines on normalisation and the chronology of sound changes in previous editions of the Manual and should be used in conjunction with the material presented there.

I. Normalisation of fourteenth-century poetry
II. Normalisation procedures for forthcoming volumes

5. Sigla for sources

This chapter sets out a series of sigla for sources, both for manuscripts and for major prose works in which skaldic verse is embedded. Editors should use these sigla for manuscripts, sources of skaldic poetry, poems and poets. In the majority of cases, we will use the sigla in ONP Registre, which is available online via the skaldic website (under 'Links'). Editors may also consult the printed listing of medieval manuscripts in ONP Registre, pp. 431-97.

A. How to refer to mss by using sigla
B. How to use ms. sigla when editing
C. Sigla for sources of skaldic poetry (i.e. prose texts)

6. Guidelines for the English translation

1. General
2. Vocabulary
3. Kennings
4. Word order
5. Other features

7. General conventions, abbreviations and bibliographical guidelines

I. General conventions and abbreviations
II. Introduction to bibliographical guidelines
III. Special and abbreviated bibliographical references
IV. How to enter material in the bibliography

8. Sample stanza

Knátti eðr við illan

Jǫrmunrekkr at vakna

með dreyrfáar dróttir

draum í sverða flaumi.

Rósta varð í ranni

Randvés hǫfuðniðja,

þás hrafnbláir hefndu

harma Erps of barmar.

{= Skj Bragi enn gamli, Ragnarsdrápa 3}

Prose order: Jǫrmunrekkr knátti eðr at vakna við illan draum með dreyrfáar dróttir í {sverða flaumi}. Rósta varð í ranni {hǫfuðniðja Randvés}, þás {hrafnbláir barmar Erps} of hefndu harma.

Translation: Jǫrmunrekkr was then awakened by an evil dream among the blood-stained troops in {the eddy of swords} [BATTLE]. There was tumult in the hall {of the chief kinsmen of Randvér} [= the dynasty of the Goths] when {the raven-black brothers of Erpr} [= Hamðir and Sǫrli] avenged [their] injuries.

Mss: R(30v), T«(32r) C(2r) (SnE); W(113) (FoGT).

Editions: Skj AI, 1, Skj BI, 1, Skald I, 1, NN §§1909A, 2507; SnE 1848-87, I, 372, SnE 1931, 134, SnE 1998, I, 50; SnE 1848-87, II, 208, FoGT 1884, 129.

Readings: [1] Knátti: knátt W;   eðr: ‘ørr’ W, áðr C   [2] Jǫrmunrekkr: ‘erminrekkr’ W, ‘ermenrekkr’ C   [3] dróttir: dóttur C   [5] Rósta varð: ‘rostu vann’ C   [6] Randvés: randvers C   [7] hrafnbláir: ‘hrafn blám’ W, -bláir corrected from -blár R   [8] of: ok W, um C;   barmar: barma W.

Context: With st. 3 begins that part of Bragi's poetry that we can confidently assign to Rdr on Snorri Sturluson’s authority. Sts 3-7, comprising four dróttkvætt stanzas and a stef, are quoted as a block in mss R, T and C of SnE (W has st. 3 only in FoGT as an example of the rhetorical figure of ekbasis or digression) and are there preceded by the following prose introduction: Bragi hinn gamli orti um fall Sǫrla ok Hamðis í drápu þeiri er hann orti um Ragnar loðbrók... ‘Bragi the old composed [verses] about the death of Sǫrli and Hamðir in the drápa which he composed about Ragnarr loðbrók…’ (SnE 1998, I, 50). The general context is Snorri’s lengthy account of various legends of the Niflungar, Atli (Attila) and Jǫrmunrekkr (Ermanaric).

Notes: [All]: This is the first of four sts in which Bragi depicts the destructive vengeance carried out by the brothers Hamðir and Sǫrli upon the Gothic king Jǫrmunrekkr, the historical Ermanaric (d. 375 AD), because he had their sister and his wife Svanhildr put to death for supposed adultery with his own son Randvér. Svanhildr was torn apart by wild horses and Randvér was hanged according to Hamð 2-3 and 17. For other OIcel. accounts of the legend, see Snorri’s prose preceding these sts and Vǫls chs 41-4 (Finch 1965, 74-8); for the historical record, Ammianus Marcellinus, Rerum gestarum libri qui supersunt XXXI, ch. 3; Jordanes, Getica §§ 129-30. Dronke 1969, 159-242 discusses the verbal and thematic connections between Bragi's sts, Hamð and some verses attributed to the late C9th Orkney jarl Torf-Einarr (TorfE LvI; cf. also Olsen 1936). Unlike the eddic Hamð, with which Bragi's poetry shares some verbal similarities, Bragi begins in medias res with a depiction of the blood and chaos that follows the brothers’ onslaught upon Jǫrmunrekkr, sleeping among his drunken entourage in the Goths’ ancestral hall. The poem's st. is decidedly anti-heroic; following the Norse legend, the brothers maim, but do not kill the king outright. The Goths then turn upon Hamðir and Sǫrli, pelting them to death with stones. — [3] dreyrfáar ‘blood-stained’: In order to produce a 6-syllable l., the uncontracted form -fáar is required, though it is not indicated in any ms. — [4] sverða flaumi ‘eddy of swords’: Battle-kenning in which the base-word flaumr ‘eddy, torrent’ may connote blood as well as a multitude of weapons. — [4] rósta varð í ranni ‘there was tumult in the hall’: Closely paralleled by Hamð 23/1 Styrr varð í ranni ‘there was uproar in the hall’ (the rest of this st. being closer to Rdr 4/5-8); cf. also Hamð 18/1 Glaumr var í hǫllo ‘there was noisy merriment in the hall’ (of the Goths’ drinking party before the brothers arrive). The formula ‘noise word (happy or anguished) + verb + in + hall word’ occurs in a number of other contexts in which hall fights are described; cf. Beowulf 1302a Hream wearð in Heorote ‘There was uproar in Heorot’. — [5-6] ranni hǫfuðniðja Randvérs ‘the hall of the chief kinsmen of Randvér [= the dynasty of the Goths]’: The designation of the hall as that of Randvér’s chief kinsmen, that is, of the royal house of the Goths, is one of several ironic allusions to the disunity of the families in conflict in this myth. To define the Goths here with reference to the son that Jǫrmunrekkr supposed committed adultery with his wife does not connote dynastic solidarity. A similar irony is achieved in l. 8 by means of the designation Erps barmar ‘Erpr’s brothers’, for Hamðir and Sǫrli. Hamð 12-15 gives a graphic account of how Erpr, inn sundrmœðri, a half-brother born of a different mother (hence the word barmi, ‘fed at the same breast’, ‘brother’ is doubly ironic if its etymology was apparent to Bragi’s audience), was killed by his two brothers even as he offered to ride with them and attack Jǫrmunrekkr, an action they later regret (Hamð 26-8). Bragi gives none of this circumstantial detail, but his audience is likely to have known and relished it. — [7] hrafnbláir ‘raven-black’: This epithet is intended to refer to the hair colour of Hamðir and Sǫrli, who, in the tradition known in Iceland, and as recounted by Snorri (SnE 1998, I, 49), were thought unhistorically to belong to the family of the Niflungar, traditionally supposed to have been dark-haired.

9. Sigla for the corpus

This chapter describes how reference should be made to items in the corpus, illustrating the principles for sigla formation (for poets, groups of verses (poems etc.) and verses). # For the sigla themselves, please check the lists on the skaldic website ('database' > 'skj refs' for material in Skjaldedigtning; 'database' > 'SkP refs' for material new to our edition, including sigla for runic inscriptions).

A. Sigla principles and formats

1. General conventions

i.       A superscript roman numeral indicating the volume in which the verse referred to is located should be suffixed to the siglum, e.g. Anon Eirm 3I; Bragi Rdr 7III; Egill Lv 4V.

ii.      The volume numbering can be dropped for references to items within the same volume. The sigla should remain unique because of the numbering systems described below.

iii.     With the possible exception of runic poetry, all sigla for skaldic poetry will be combined sigla (see § 4. below) which include:

- a siglum for the skald's name, 'Anon.' or 'Þul'

- a siglum for the poem or group of verses or an indication that this is a lausavísa or fragment.

2. Sigla for skalds

i.       Use the list in Lexicon Poeticum. Where LP does not have the skald's name, the siglum from the database should be used.

ii.      In vols V and VIII, verses are attributed to a 'skald' if the skald is named in the prose text, even if the skald is dead, three years old, a troll or a person in a dream. Inanimate 'skalds' (rocks, cloaks) or verses not attributed to named beings are listed as Anonymous, and þulur are abbreviated as Þul.

3. Names and sigla for poems and groups of verses

i.       Use the list in Lexicon Poeticum. Since LP most commonly refers to a poem by a number referring to its position in a skald's œuvre, a great many new sigla have been created. Where LP does not have a siglum for a poem:

a.       Where it is necessary to devise sigla for poems, the normal pattern in the case of poems with medieval titles will be:

- first syllable of subject

- abbreviation of type of poem: –dr for drápa, -fl for flokkr, -kv for kvæði or kviða, -v for vísur. Other types (e.g. -mál, -stefja) will not have an abbreviation of the type of poem.

Thus Magnúsdrápa > Magndr, Hákonarflokkr > Hákfl, Knútsdrápa > Knútdr

b.      Titles that are not recorded in medieval sources but are traditional are retained, e.g. Heilagra manna drápa > Heil (as in LP). Although the siglum does not indicate that the title is not medieval, a discussion of its provenance should be included in the Introduction (see also >> 3. Guidelines on presentation for submission A-3-c). Please be aware, however, that the issue of non-medieval titles is currently under review by the General Editors and practice may be subject to change.

c.       Where a title as such is not recorded in medieval sources, but there is strong internal evidence suggestive of one, the title may be assumed. For example, a poem that is clearly (a) a drápa and (b) about Haraldr, should be Haraldsdrápa (siglum Hardr).

ii.      Same title, same siglum — the three Eiríksdrápur should all be called Eirdr; the numerous Hákonardrápur are Hákdr.

iii.     Different title, different siglum — Hákonarkviða is Hákkv to distinguish it from the Hákonardrápur (both Hák in LP).

iv.     Sigla for poems that do not have established titles (either medieval or traditional, as under § i. above) should be based on the subject (if identifiable) alone and italicised — so Bragi's verses about Þórr's fishing expedition (formerly thought to be part of Rdr) are Bragi Þórr.

v.      Where the poem is not about a person, place or event with an Icelandic name, e.g. an unidentified person ('a woman') or a general topic ('gifts'), the siglum will have to be formed from the English title and be presented in italics, so: Ormr Poem about a woman; siglum: Ormr Woman 1-5III.

vi.     'Frag' covers everything that isn't above or a lausavísa. A fragment (Frag) is an isolated verse of 8 lines or fewer, which appears not to be a lausavísa (most often because it doesn't occur in a lausavísa-type narrative context); there is no poem mentioned in a medieval source to which it can be assigned; and there is no other verse it clearly belongs together with. If a skald has more than one such verse, these are collected under the heading 'Fragments' and arranged thematically if possible. For example, Skraut-Oddr has two verses, one of which appears to be about a woman and the second of which is unclear in its subject. These would be SkrautO Frag 1III and SkrautO Frag 2III.

vii.    Frag and Lv are the only 'poem' sigla which are not italicised. No plural form is used in sigla — so Bragi Lv 1-3 is the siglum for his first three lausavísur, in contrast to the discursive use of the plural, lvv. (e.g. ' also found in various lvv. of Egill (Egill Lv 1–7)...').

4. Sigla for individual verses

There are three basic siglum formats. Of these, (a) is used for poetry of any sort assigned to a named skald, and for anonymous poems (however fragmentary); (b) is for anonymous lausavísur or fragments presented under the heading of a prose work (not in vols V or VIII); and (c) is for poetry which is included under the heading of a saga in vols V or VIII. For clarity, these types are subdivided in order to show their application to anonymous and named skalds; and to poem or verses.

a.      Sigla for verses arranged by skald or anonymous poem

i.       Sigla referring to a named skald and poem

Format: skald poem numberVOL

Example: Bragi Rdr 7III

The poet and poem sigla will normally be the same as those in LP.  Differences only arise where: (a) the LP skald siglum conflicts with our prose text siglum, e.g. LP has 'Eg' where we have Egill=skald, Eg=Egils saga; (b) our poem siglum is different in conformity with the principles outlined above.

ii.      Sigla referring to named skald and lausavísur or fragments

Format: skald Lv/Frag numberVOL

Example: Oddi Lv 2II

If the lvv or fragments for a particular skald occur in more than one volume, the numbering of verses does not restart for each volume. For example, the lvv of Máni and Einarr Eyjolfsson occur in more than one volume: Máni Lv 1II, Máni Lv 2II, Máni Lv 3II, Máni Lv 4IV, Máni Lv 5III; Eþver Lv 1I, Eþver Lv 2V (Glúm 11) — see § c. below for this last format.

iii.     Sigla referring to anonymous poems

Format: Anon Poem numberVOL

Examples: Anon Eirm 2I; Anon Sól 34VII

b.      Sigla referring to anon. verse in a prose work (vols I, II, III, IV and VII)

This format is used for verses appearing in volumes I, II, III, IV and VII, in which all non-anonymous poetry is arranged according to skalds, but anon. poetry appears under the prose work in which it is preserved.

Format: Anon (saga) numberVOL

Examples: Anon (ÓTOdd) 1I, Anon (SnE) 4III, etc.

The prose work sigla are those listed in >> 5. Sigla for sources. Anonymous verses are numbered in a single continuous sequence by prose work.

c.       Sigla referring to a verse in a fornaldar- or íslendingasaga (i.e. in vol. V or VIII)

These sigla use the same formats as shown above, but with an optional designation of the saga location. This is because vols V and VIII are arranged entirely by saga, rather than by skald.

Format: skald/Anon poem/Lv/Frag numberVOL [(saga num)]

Examples: Grett Æv 6V (Gr 41), Anon (Gr) 1V (Gr 6)

Anon (Gr) 1V is thus the sixth verse in Grettis saga, but the first anonymous verse.

d.      Sigla for þulur

These are in a similar format to the skald/Anon-poem sigla, with the Icelandic name of the þulur category given in italics, if specified in the manuscript. A roman numeral is given where more than one list exists for a particular category. Þulur with names (i.e. Kálfsvísa and Þorgrímsþula) are treated as anonymous poems.

Format: Þul things numberIII

Examples: Þul sverða 2III, Þul jǫtna I 1III, Anon Kálfsv 1III

e.       Sigla for runic inscriptions

These are currently all listed under 'Anonymous Runic' in the database, but please note that the categorisation of the runic material has not yet been finalised and may change.

© Skaldic Project Academic Body, unless otherwise noted. Database structure and interface © Tarrin Wills. All users of material on this database are reminded that it is either subject to copyright restrictions or is the property of the custodians of linked databases that have given permission for members of the skaldic project to use their material for research purposes. Those users who have been given access to as yet unpublished material are further reminded that they may not use, publish or otherwise manipulate such material except with the express permission of the individual editor of the material in question and the General Editor of the volume in which the material is to be published. Applications for permission to use such material should be made in the first instance to the General Editor of the volume in question. All information that appears in the published volumes has been thoroughly reviewed. If you believe some information here is incorrect please contact Tarrin Wills with full details.