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a Norwegian or Icelandic poet of the ninth through 13th centuries. The poetry of the skalds has survived as fragments in the 13th-century Icelandic literary classics the Prose Edda and the sagas. Before being written down, Skaldic poetry existed in oral tradition. The poetry of about 250 skalds is known. The earliest skalds were Norwegians. The most famous skald was the Icelander Egill Skallagrímsson (tenth century).

The skalds composed eulogistic, derogatory, and occasional verse. Their poetry generally set down contemporary facts and hence is regarded as a reliable historical source. For mannered intricacy of form, skaldic poetry is without parallel in world literature. The meter is strict and complex and the language abounds in complicated periphrases (kennings) and poetic synonyms (heitis); phrases are intertwined with one another. Skaldic poetry is difficult to interpret.


Den norsk-islandske skjaldedigtning, 1A-2A (manuscript text); 1B-2B (corrected text with Danish translation). Edited by F. Jónsson. Copenhagen, 1908-15.


Steblin-Kamenskii, M. I. “Proiskhozhdenie poezii skal’dov.” In Skandinavskii sbornik, fasc. 3. Tallinn, 1958.
De Vries, J. Altnordische Literaturgeschichte, 2nd ed., vols. 1-2. Berlin, 1964-67.


References in periodicals archive ?
skald or national poets -- that is, poets who had so sung themselves into people's consciousness that they had practically become part of the common psyche.
Skald pam & wesh pam & dry pam with a clothe, & do pam in a pane, & do perto half vinegre & half wyne, & seth pam were; & take vp pe fysh & pike pam smale & take pe broth & cole it throgh a clothe into an erthyn pan, & do perto powdyr of pepyr & saferon.
Announcement of competition: This competition comes to cleaning of Sarpsborg District Court premises in Sigvat Skalds gate 3, Sarpsborg.
The skalds, Lindow stresses, participated in the development of the cult of this important Saint, who is still recognized by tradition as the perpetual king of Norway.
The arrangement of named skalds is chronological; a small final section treats anonymous poetry and anonymous lausavisur.