Here begins the Prologue
1) …tus] A large initial and between two and four other letters are missing at the beginning of the text, with the result that the author of the work referred to here as the Phllostratus has not certainly been identified. While Storm read the surviving letters as tus others have read the first letter as an i without its dot (e. g. Lehmann 1936-37, 2: 76; Koht 1950, 9; Ekrem 1998a, 22). No work entitled Phllostratus is known to have existed. Ekrem (1998a, 25-26) suggests that the work referred to here may be a version of the Imago mundi by Honorius Augustodunensis (c. 1110) supplemented by additional material from the Greek Elkones by Flavius Philostratus (c. 200), with the name of the latter work's author having become substituted for that of the work. The letters surviving in the manuscript might then be the last three of Honorius's name (reading i instead of Storm's t). Or they may be the final letters of the name Solinus (which would fit the manuscript lacuna better); it seems that the author of HN may have thought that Solinus was the author of Honorius's Imago mundi, either because he found that work together with Solinus's Collectanea rerum memorabilium (to which HN later refers, see 11/8) in his manuscript, or because reference to Solinus in the scholia to Honorius's work led the author of HNto believe that Honorius based his work on that of Solinus (Ekrem 1998a, 24). An alternative explanation offered by Ekrem (1998a, 26) would see the phllistratu of the manuscript as a misreading by the Scottish copyist of phie tratu, an abbreviation for philosophic tractaiu; either Honorius's Imago mundi or Solinus's Collectanea rerum memorabilium could be described as a "philosophical treatise". For the use in HN of Honorius's work see Skard 1930, 78-83; Steinnes 1946-48, 17-28.
2) Not by any means … many generosities] It was common practice in the Middle Ages to employ the modesty topos in prefaces and prologues and to ascribe a text's existence to the insistence of a patron; cf. also 1/29-1/30 below. On the modesty topos see Curtius 1953, 83-85.
3) to describe … both religions] The writer here sets out his three aims. The third of these is unrealised in the work as it survives.
4) hitherto unattempted in Latin discourse] This probably implies that the writer did not know of any Latin history of Norway. In particular it suggests he did not know of the work of Theodoricus, though he may have known Ari Þorgilsson's lost vernacular konunga ævi. It is also possible, however, to read this as implying that the writer knew of no work which attempted to fulfil all three of his aims: a geographical description, an account of Norway's rulers, and an account of the religious struggle between Christianity and paganism. This would leave open the possibility of the writer's knowing of Theodoricus's work since it does not contain a geographical description of the region.
5) Agnellus] The identity of the dedicatee of HN remains uncertain. The manuscript reads angnelle or anguelle, which Storm (1880, 72) emends to Agnelle. Most scholars have followed Storm (1880, xxiii) in identifying him with the Thomas Agnellus who was Archdeacon of Wells at the end of the twelfth century (see also Koht 1919-20, 110-11). Paasche (1957, 432) preferred a Franciscan called Agnellus who was in Oxford in 1224 and he has been another popular candidate (cf. Ekrem 1998a, 88; 1998b, 50), Bugge (1873, 34-35) suggests Agnellus could stand for the Norse name Lambi, and identifies him with a prior of that name at the Norwegian monastery in Elgseter c.1240, an identification dismissed by Storm (1880, xxi). Ekrem offers two possible alternatives: (i) Ormr, abbot of Munkeliv monastery in 1146 (by reading anguelle as the vocative of a diminutive of anguis, "snake, worm", the meaning of ON ormr (1998a, 72-73); a candidate also suggested by Hanssen 1949, 13-15, and Steinnes 1949-51, 184; 1965, 28); (ii) Eysteinn Erlendsson, Archbishop of Níðaróss 1161-88 (by reading agnelle, and taking this as an abbreviation for Augustinelle, the vocative of a diminutive form of Augustinus, the Latin equivalent of Eysteinn (1998a, 74-75)). This identification is also suggested by Sandaaker (1985, 86 n. 11). According to Ekrem the identification with Eysteinn need not rule out his possible authorship of HN since non-existent dedicatees were not unusual in the Middle Ages (1998a, 78).
6) teacher's authority] Steinnes (1965, 28) notes that the word for teacher here (didascalicus) has the specific sense of a canon in charge of the school at a cathedral.
Here begins the first book of the History of Norway
7) the first book of the History of Norway] This indicates clearly that the surviving text is only the beginning of the work, though it is uncertain whether what survives is all that was ever written or whether one or more subsequent books have now been lost.
8) Nórr] The S text (MS Stock. Perg. 4to nr 18) of the Norse translation of Oddr Snorrason's Life of Óláfr Tryggvason states that Sa konungr ræð fyrstr Norege er Nór het (Oddr 83; "The first king to rule Norway was called Nórr"). Nórr also appears in the section of the late fourteenth-century Flateyjarbók entitled Hversu Nóregrbyggðisk (Flat. I 21-24) and in Orkneyinga saga chs 1-2.
9) a very vast country] Gesta Hamm. IV.xxxi (30) says of Norway that "in its length that land extends into the farthest northern zone" (trans. Tschan 1959, 211).
10) from …, a great river] A manuscript lacuna. Storm (1880, 73) suggests Albia or Albiaem the light of Schol. 131 (126) to Gesta Hamm. IV.xxi (21), or alternatively Gautorum or Gautelf. Salvesen (1969, 19; cf. 39 n. 3) has [Göta-]elven, following Koht (1950, 11).
11) Lapps] Latin Finni. Like Old Norse finnr, Latin finnus may refer either to a Lapp (Saami) or to an inhabitant of Finland (Suomalainen) cf. MSE 379 s.v. " Lapland ".
12) Jamtaland] This province is here clearly regarded as outside Norway. Msk 353 and Snorri Sturluson in Msona (Hkr) ch. 15 hold that Eysteinn Magnússon annexed Jamtaland in 1110, but this is too early a date for the composition of HN; Hákonar saga Hákonarsonar ch. 11 states that King Sverrir annexed Jamtaland and Sverris saga ch. 26 suggests that this was done in 1177. This would fit with a dating of HN to before 1177. Ekrem (1998a, 29), however, suggests that HN is concerned with ecclesiastical boundaries; Jamtaland did not belong to the Niðaróss archdiocese until 1570.
13) Kirjalians, Kvænir, Horn-Lapps] Comparison with Egils saga ch. 14 suggests that by Horn-Lapps the author here means the inhabitants of Finland between the Kirjalians and the Kvasnir. Horn-Lapps also appear in the Icelandic Hauksbók (probably written c.1306-10; at any rate before Haukr Erlendsson's death in 1334), but by that time they have become man-eating creatures with horns on their heads inspired by Isidore of Seville's description of satyrs (cf. Storm 1880, 74-75).
14) people of the two Bjarmalands] Perhaps meaning Bjarmaland on each side of the White Sea (Koht 1950, 11). Saxo Grammaticus (Gesta Danorum VIIl.xiv.6) refers to Biarmia ulterior, thus perhaps implying the existence of Biarmia citerior (cf. Storm 1880, 75; Salvesen 1969, 39).
15) land between the Greenlanders and the Bjarmians] Implies a land connection between these north of the Atlantic Ocean; cf. the twelfth- or thirteenth-century Geographical Treatise preserved in an Icelandic manuscript of 1387: Af Biarmalandi ganga lond óbygd of nordrett, unz vidtekr Grenland (Kålund 1908, 12; "From Bjarmaland uninhabited land continues through the north until it joins Greenland").
16) a country of maidens … drink of water] Cf. Gesta Hamm. IV.xix (19): "Likewise, round about the shore of the Baltic Sea, it is said, live the Amazons in what is now called the land of women. Some declare that these women conceive by sipping water" (trans. Tschan 1959, 200).
17) Greenland] Note that Greenland appears within the description of Norway rather than separately among the tributary islands; this implies a date for the composition of HN before 1261, when Greenland began to pay tribute to the Norwegian crown. Greenland is described by Adam of Bremen in Gesta Hamm. IV.xxxvii (36) after a description of Iceland.
18) settled and confirmed in the universal faith by Icelanders] Icelandic accounts of the discovery, settlement and conversion of Greenland include Íslendingabók ch. 6, Eiriks saga rauda and Grœnlendinga saga. See further Jones 1986, especially 73-114, and Ólafur Halldórsson 1978.
19) Skrælings] ON Skrælingar ("wretches"). Although HN implies that these Skrælings live in Greenland, in Grænlendinga saga and Eiríks saga rauða this name is given to the inhabitants of Vinland, the part of North America (roughly northern Newfoundland) discovered and visited by Icelanders and Greenlanders around the year 1000. Ari writes of a people es Vínland hefir byggt ok Grœnlendingar kalla Skrælinga (Íslendingabók 13-14; "who inhabited Vinland and whom the Greenlanders call Skrælings").
The three inhabited parts of Norway
20) Decapolis] Greek for "ten cities". This name is used of a part of the Holy Land in the Gospels of Matthew (4: 25) and Mark (5: 20). Storm lists the ten Norwegian cities as Niðaross, Bergen, Oslo, Borg (Sarpsborg), Tunsberg, Konghelle, Stavanger, Veey (Veøy), Skiðan (Skien) and Kaupangr in Sogn (1880, 76; cf. Koht 1950, 13).
21) provinces] The Latin term is patria, referring here to the area red by a specific legal code (log). On the use of the term patria in HN see Robberstad 1949-51.
22) districts] The Latin term is provincia. For lists of the names of districts within the provinces mentioned here and references to the sources see Storm 1880, 77-78, and Koht 1950, 13-14.
23) Charybdis and Scylla] A whirlpool and a sea monster in classical legend, also briefly mentioned by Honorius (Imago mundi I.xxxv).
24) whirlpools from which there is no escape] Cf. Gesta Hamm. IV.xxxix-xl (38-39).
25) pistrix. … hafstrambr] The pistrix appears in one reading in Pliny's Naturalis historia IX.iv (3) (textual note). The hafstrambr is mentioned in a list of kinds of whale in the bulur attached to Skáldskaparmál in the Codex Regius manuscript of Snorri Sturluson's Edda (1998, 127), and in Konungs skuggsiá 27, 163.
26) hafgufa … hafrkitti] The hafgufa is also mentioned in the bulur appended to Skáldskaparmál (Snorri Sturluson, Edda 1998, 127), in Konungs skuggsiá 17 and in Orvar-Odds saga 132. The hafrkitti is mentioned in the discussion of different kinds of whale in Konungs skuggsiá 16.
The mountainous parts of Norway
27) In the mountainous region… cliffs of rock] Koht (1919-20, 112) took this passage as evidence that the author of HN was not from the east of Norway, arguing that no one who knew the area around the river in question (the Vorma) or around Oslo could have believed what is stated here. From Storm (1880, 82) onwards scholars have taken the reference to silver here as evidence supporting the belief that the abandoned mining galleries under Gamle Aker church in Oslo represent the earliest mining in Norway. If those mines date back to the second half of the twelfth century they would be by far the oldest in Norway. Recently, however, Moseng has exposed the shaky foundations on which this belief has been based. He points out (1992, 48-49) that HN (the only medieval source which might provide evidence of mining at Aker) mentions only silver, not silver mining, and is no more specific geographically than "close to the township of Oslo", a wide area. According to Moseng (1992, 61-69) there is no definite evidence of mining in Norway before 1490, and no reason to believe the mines at Aker were in operation before c.1532. He regards this passage in HN as typical of a common kind of medieval "tall story" about great quantities of precious metals.
28) whose skins they wear] Cf. Gesta Hamm. IV.xxxii (31): "They use the pelts of beasts for clothing" (trans. Tschan 1959, 212).
29) ondros] Not originally, as stated here, a Lappish term, but ON ondrar (sg. ondurr). These were skis, specifically those with seal or reindeer skin undersides (cf. Koht 1950, 17).
30) There is no limit … and beavers.] Cf. a similar list of wild animals in Gesta Hamm. IV.xxxii (31).
31) slave-beaver] The term biœuerthrel ("slave-beaver") is used in the Danish Chronicon Lethrense (49), written c.1170. The description of beavers and their behaviour in HN is strikingly similar to descriptions by Gerald of Wales in his Topographia Hibernica I.xxv-xxvi, Itinerarium Kambriae II.iii, and Descriptio Kambriae I.v (the last two of these passages are identical and are more extensive than the first; for translations see Thorpe 1978, 174-77, 227-29). HN and Gerald may depend on a lost common source, or simply depend on common oral traditions. See also Bernström 1957.
32) art of magic] The association of the Lapps with magic is commonplace in the Icelandic sagas and elsewhere (e. g. in Shakespeare, The Comedy of Errors IV.3.II).
33) gandus] Like ondros, an originally Norse rather than Lappish term (ON gandr). Tolley (1994, 143-48) compares Lappish and Norse beliefs about souls and spirits and concludes that the author of HN has given the Norse name gandr to a spirit with characteristics derived from (i) various Lappish spirits "both anthropomorphic and theriomorphic, as well as the shaman's free-soul and the dead" and (ii) the Norse gandr (including the ability to change into various forms). On the gandr see also Tolley 1995.
34) under] Storm emended the MS reading sub to super. The translation here follows Tolley (1994, 136), who dismisses Storm's emendation as "needless". The cloth under which the shaman prepares himself is not found in later accounts of Lappish shamanism, although such accounts mention linen hats or veils worn by women assistants; Tolley (1994, 141) suggests the cloth is probably "a genuine feature which later disappeared amongst men" and which "may have symbolized the heavens to be traversed".
35) with hands extended … boat with oars] The lilting up of arms before entering a trance occurs in later descriptions of shamanistic séances (Tolley 1994, 141). The small decorated vessel like a sieve is probably some kind of percussion instrument; Tolley translates "like a tambourine" (1994, 137); see also his discussion of decorated Lappish drums (1994, 151-53).
36) After dancing … as an Ethiopian] Later accounts of Lappish shamanism feature leaping about, and one account from 1672 mentions that the shaman turns black before entering a trance. As Tolley (1994, 141 n. 9) notes, "given the lack of breathing that is emphasised in many of the accounts, it seems likely that the Lappish shaman did indeed turn distinctly off-colour during trance".
37) he gave up the ghost] Cf. Tolley 1994, 142: "The author writes of the collapse and death of the shaman without separating them, whereas in fact the shaman must first have collapsed as if lifeless, then sent out his soul, and subsequently have died while in trance as a result of the attack on his helping spirit".
38) whale] Latin cetus can refer to any large water creature and Tolley (1994, 137 n. 5) suggests that the usual translation "whale" may be problematic given the lake setting (unless stagnum should be translated "fjord" rather than "lake"). The ability of a sorcerer to turn himself into a whale is, however, also found elsewhere in Norse literature; see, for example, Knytlinga saga ch. 3; ÓlTrygg (Hkr) ch. 33.
39) an enemy gandus] Shamanic contests involved fights between animal spirit helpers in which anything suffered by these spirits would be reflected in the shaman who owned them (cf. Tolley 1994,149-50).
40) Their intolerable ungodliness … in the house] On this description of Lappish shamanistic practices see Bäärnhielm and Zachrisson (1994) and Tolley (1994; 1996). This passage includes the earliest detailed account of a Lappish shamanistic séance. Tolley's comparison of the account with later evidence for Lappish shamanism from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries demonstrates that despite some misunderstandings on the part of the author of HN and some assimilation to Norse rather than Lappish magical beliefs the account is an essentially reliable description of a Lappish séance (Tolley 1994). In a later article (1996), Tolley offers evidence that Snorri Sturluson may have used the description of the Lappish séance in HN when describing the supernatural powers of Óðinn in Yngl. ch. 7; Tolley does not, however, consider the question of whether Snorri could actually understand a Latin source text (on Snorri's acquaintance with Latin see Faulkes 1993).
41) for the benefit of people who live at a greater distance from them] One of several statements implying an intended foreign audience for HN.
The tributary islands
42) Scotland] The text has Hyberniam (MS Iberniam), that is Ireland (so Koht 1950, 20 and Salvesen 1969, 23). The islands in question, however, lie close to the Norwegian coast, thus between Norway and Scotland. A similar misunderstanding of the location of Ireland seems to be evident in Gesta Hatnm. IV.xxxv (34) and in the report of his voyages which Ohthere made to King Alfred and which was subsequently incorporated in the Old English translation of Orosius's Historia adversus paganos (Bateley 1980, 16/1-9). Bateley's note (1980, 193-94) on the passage in the Old English Orosius suggests that Ohthere may have been thinking in terms of sea-routes rather than actual geography and the same may be true of the author of HN.
43) the Orkney islands, more than thirty in number] By the Orkney islands the writer means Orkney, Shetland and the Hebrides (cf. 8/2-4 below and note). For the number "more than thirty" cf. Gesta Hamm. IV.xxxv (34): "The Orkney Islands, numbering nearly forty, lie close together" (trans. Tschan 1959, 215); and Honorius, Imago mundi I.xxxi: Orcades triginta tres (thirty-three Orkney islands ).
44) Orkan] Latin Orchanus. He is not mentioned in any other source and may be the author's invention, perhaps by analogy with Nórr (see above 2/11 and note).
45) various peoples] Storm (1880, 88) suggests Norse and Celtic peoples (i. e. those living in Orkney and the Hebrides respectively) are meant, but as the statement refers to the past it seems more likely that it is the Picts and Papar mentioned below that the writer has in mind.
46) two realms … rule of earls] The southern isles here are the Hebrides (ON Suðreyjar); the northern isles comprising the Orkney earldom included both Orkney and Shetland until 1195 when, following a rebellion against him, King Sverrir deprived the earls of Shetland.
47) Each of them pays no small tribute to the kings of Norway] Orkney paid tribute to the Norwegian king from 1150, the Hebrides from 1152 (Storm 1880, 88). The Hebrides were recognised as belonging to Scotland at the agreement of the Peace of Perth in 1266, although they had in practice ceased to be under Norwegian control in 1264. This sentence therefore suggests 1266 as the latest possible date for the composition of the text. Since there is no hint that Shetland does not belong to the Orkney earldom (see previous note) it is likely that HN was written before 1195.
The Orkney islands
48) Picts] The earliest known inhabitants of Scotland. With regard to the statement here that they were "little bigger than pygmies" Bugge (1873, 39) draws attention to a long-lived Orcadian tradition to this effect which is noted by Sir Walter Scott in Note C in his historical novel The Pirate (1996, 346). Scott tells of a clergyman visiting the island of North Ronaldsay c. 1800 who was suspected of being Pictish because he was "a very little man, dark complexioned … ill-dressed and unshaved". Munch (1850, 36-37) suggests that small structures known in Orkney as "picthouses" may have suggested that the Picts must have been unusually short.
49) the sea dividing... Pictland Firth] Now the Pentland Firth. It is significant that the Firth is said to "divide" Orkney from Scotland; this reinforces the connections between Orkney and Norway, and Ekrem (1998a, 42) takes this as supporting her theory that the opening geographical description in HN covers the region which would legitimately belong to a Norwegian archdiocese.
50) The greatest of all whirlpools ... at flood tide] The Pentland Firth retains a reputation today as a particularly rough stretch of sea.
51) the Papar... German tongue] An alb is a white linen garment reaching from the neck to the ankles which is worn by the clergy at Mass. The Latin term papce is here (wrongly) derived from Low German pape (cf. MHG pfaffe). Latin papa, "father", was a title used by priests and is the source of ON papar and modern English "pope". Finnur Jonsson (1920-24, II598-99) and Lehmann (1936-37, 2:75) believed the author of HN could have been a German living in Norway, but it would have been easy for a Norwegian to acquire sufficient German to make this statement in those parts of Norway, such as Bergen, which had trading links with Germany (cf. Koht 1919-20, 113). Whereas HN says these people were called Papar only because their dress resembled that of priests, Ari refers to Papar in Iceland before the settlement by Scandinavians who were Irish Christians: "Þá váru hér menn kristnir, þeir es Norðmenn kalla papa … þeir váru menn írskir" (Íslendingabók 5; "Those Christian men were here then whom Norse people call papar… They were Irish").
52) an island still today called Papey after them] Several island and place-names in Orkney and Shetland derive from papar.
53) It is seen … practised Judaism] The source for this remarkable statement is unknown. Storm (1880, 89) suggests that the books referred to may have been fragments of Old Testament books. While this might explain the Judaism, it can hardly account for the idea that they came from Africa. Perhaps this was suggested by the fact that a chapter on Africa follows that on Orkney in Honorius's Imago mundi (I.xxxi-xxxii). It may also be significant that one of the features suggesting Pictish race to the early nineteenth-century inhabitants of North Ronaldsay was their visiting clergyman's "dark complexion" (Scott 1996, 346; cf. note to 8/8 above). Ari's papar left books behind them in Iceland, but these indicated that they were Irish and Christian (Íslendingabók 5).
54) Rognvaldr] Rognvaldr was made earl of Mœrr in Norway by King Haraldr hárfagri and was given Orkney and Shetland as compensation for the death of his son Ívarr on campaign with King Haraldr. Rognvaldr then granted control of Orkney to various other members of his family in turn. See Orkneyinga saga ch. 4; Hhárf (Hkr) chs 24, 27.
55) Gongu-Hrólfr] Literally, "Walk-Hrólfr", a son of Rognvaldr of Moerr. Identified with Rollo, ancestor of the dukes of Normandy.
56) Rouen] Latin Roda rather than the usual Rothomus or Rodomus, probably reflecting the Norse form of the name (cf. Old Icelandic Ruða); see Storm 1880, 90.
57) count] Cf. 9/26 "count of Normandy". Latin comes rather than dux, "duke"; the words are used interchangeably at this date, but the choice of comes here perhaps emphasises Hrólfr's Norse origins by highlighting his relationship to the earls, jarlar, of Mœrr (cf. Ekrem 1998a, 43).
58) The younger Richard was the father of William the Bastard] A generation is missing here and the text may originally have read "The younger Richard had a son Robert who was the father of William the Bastard" (cf. Storm 1880, 91). William the Bastard is better known today as William the Conqueror (king of England 1066-1087).
59) Henry, who in the prophecies of Merlin is styled the Lion of Justice] The Prophetiae Merlini comprise sections 111-17 of Geoffrey of Monmouth's Historia regum Britanniae, and the leo iustitiae is mentioned in section 112 (11). Skard (1930, 77) notes that Geoffrey does not explicitly identify the Lion of Justice with King Henry I of England (r. 1100-35); this is, however, made explicit by Orderic Vitalis in Book XII of his Historia ecclesiastica (VI 386-89), suggesting that the author of HNmay have used Orderic's text, though the identification is also made in the Liber de legibus Angliae (Stubbs 1868-71, II 241). In HN the Latin actually reads qui in prophetia Merlini regis leo justifies pnenominalus est, "who in the prophecies of King Merlin is styled the Lion of Justice". Storm (1880, 91) argues that as Merlin is never called a king elsewhere, regis here stands for in historia regum, a reference to the title of Geoffrey of Monmouth's work. Skard (1930, 77 n. 1), however, draws attention to possible sources for the belief that Merlin was a king; see in particular Geoffrey of Monmouth's Vita Merlini52 (line 21): Rex erat et votes… ("He was a king and prophet").
60) Having obtained … his stepson] This information on Norman dukes and English kings probably derives from the Descriptio genealogiae ducum Normannorum in the Liber de legibus Angliae (Stubbs 1868-71, II 239-41; see the Introduction above pp. xxii-xxiii). Ellehøj (1965, 161-74), however, argues that the information on Norman dukes in HN derives from Ari Þorgilsson's lost konunga œvi. In a table at the end of his book Ellehøj provides a useful overview of information on the Norman dukes from several Norse sources in parallel columns.
61) subject to the kings of Norway by due payment of tribute] Cf. note to 8/5 above.
The Faroe islands
62) "islands of sheep", eighteen in number] Cf. ON fœr, "sheep". The ninth-century Irish writer Dicuil (Liber de mensura orbis terrae VII.15) refers to unnamed islands north of Britain filled with innumerable sheep.
63) our kings] This implies that the author was Norwegian.
64) island which the Italians called Ultima Thule] By Italians the writer means Romans; cf. Gesta Hamm. IV.xxxvi (35). Adam of Bremen cites several early writers who refer to an island north of Britain called Thule and states that "This Thule is now called Iceland, from the ice which binds the ocean" (trans. Tschan 1959, 217).
65) a vast empty land and unknown to men] The author of HN is either unaware of traditions recorded by Dicuil (Liber de mensura orbis terrae VII. 7-13; taking Dicuil's Thule to refer to Iceland) and Ari (Íslendingabók 5) that Irish hermits inhabited Iceland before the arrival of Scandinavian settlers (Storm 1880, 92), or he deliberately avoids mentioning them so as not to compromise the Norse origins of Iceland and its consequent place within the archdiocese of Niðaróss (Ekrem 1998a, 44-45).
66) Ingólfr and Hjorleifr, Norwegians] In Íslendingabok 5 Ari Þorgilsson states that Ingólfr was the first Norwegian to come to Iceland. The much fuller account of the discovery of Iceland in Landnámabók 34-47 mentions others who arrived there earlier but did not settle there: Naddodd(r) the Viking (from the Faroes), Garbarr Svávarsson (a Swede) and Flóki Vilgerðarson. Garbarr is said in HN to have discovered Iceland (10/15), but his Swedish nationality is not mentioned, perhaps because the author wishes to stress Iceland's Norwegian origins for church political reasons. Landnámabók also tells of Ingólfr's sworn brother and fellow-settler, Leifr (later Hjorleifr).
67) Anbi] Storm (1880, 93) suggests this name may be a corruption of Oddo (= Nadoddr) or Auda (= Auðr djúpauðga, an important early settler of Iceland). Koht gives the form Ambe in his translation (1950, 26).
68) fifty years] According to Ari wise men said that Iceland was settled in sixty years (Íslendingabók 9).
69) land of ice] Cf. Gesta Hamm. IV.xxxvi (35): " Thule is now called Iceland, from the ice which binds the ocean" (trans. Tschan 1959, 217).
70) Mount Hekla which, quaking all over like Mount Etna] The volcanic Mount Etna is mentioned by Honorius Augustodunensis (Imago mundi I.xxxv and I.xli-xliii); news of its eruption in 1169 spread throughout Europe (Koht 1950, 27). The Icelandic annals refer to eruptions of Hekla in 1104, 1158, 1206, 1222 and 1300 (see Islandske Annaler).
71) what is reported to have occurred in our own time] Many scholars have agreed with Bugge's suggestion (1873, 35-37) that the eruption referred to here is the one recorded in Icelandic annals for the year 1211, suggesting that HN was written soon after that date. But see Storm 1873, 377-78 and Koht 1919-20, 104 for reasons for doubting this.
72) the book Solinus wrote on the wonders of the world] A reference to C. Julius Solinus's Collectanea rerum memorabilium (written c.200). At this point, however, HN is based not on Solinus but on Honorius Augustodunensis's description of Mount Etna in Imago mundi I.xli-xliii. On possible reasons for the reference to Solinus when basing the text on Honorius see note to 1/2 above and the Introduction, p. xxii.
73) the fountains of the great deep were broken up] Genesis 7:11.
74) Earthquakes] Bede gives a similar description in De natura rerum chs 28 and 49 (PL 90, cols 249-50A and 275B).
75) brings to light... in darkness] Cf. 1 Corinthians 4:5.
The origin of the kings
76) The origin of (he kings] HN is one of a number of sources listing the Yngling kings of Sweden from whom the earliest Norwegian kings were believed to be descended. The surviving texts include: Ynglingatal, a probably ninth-century poem by Þjóðólfr of Hvin; a genealogical list at the end of the extant version of Ari Þorgilsson's Íslendingabók (27-28) which may be indicative of the contents of his lost konunga œvi; Snorri Sturluson's Yngl.; genealogies in Langfeðga tal frá Nóa in MS AM 415 4to (Kålund 1917-18, 57-58) and Ættartala Haralldz frá Óðni in Flat. (I 26-27); and, for the kings from Óláfr trételgja onwards, Af Upplendinga konungum in Hauksbók 456-57. Ellehøj (1965, 114-15) prints lists of the kings from these sources in parallel columns, from which it is clear that HN is closest to Íslendingabok, though it occasionally shows connections with Yngl. and the Flat. genealogy. Various explanations of the relationships between the texts have been put forward. For brief summaries see Magerøy 1976, Rausing 1993; for a full discussion with reference to earlier scholarship and arguing that HN used Ari's lost konunga œvi as a source, see Ellehøj 1965,109-41 and 293-94; Krag 1991 offers a reinterpretation of the evidence based on a redating of Ynglingatal to the twelfth century. On genealogies with mythological names generally see Faulkes 1978-79.
77) Þrándheimr, the principal region of Norway] Also the region in which the shrine and cathedral of St Óláfr Haraldsson were situated and the seat of the archdiocese of Niðaross.
78) Ingvi] The Yngling kings are named after him. In the list of kings appended to Ari's Íslendingabók (27) Yngvi is a Turkish, i. e. Trojan, king (Tyrkjakonungr) in accord with the widespread medieval tendency, following Virgil's Aeneid, to trace the origins of western European royal lines back to Troy. In HN he is the first Swedish king, either because this was the case in Ari's original version of Íslendingabók or because the author of HN altered his source at this point. Ari and HN agree that Yngvi is the father of Njorðr the father of Freyr, but Snorri has Óðinn as the father of Njorðr and states that Freyr hét Yngvi oðru nafni ("Freyr was also called Yngvi"; Yngl. 24). Flat. I 26 has Óðinn-Freyr-Njorðr-Freyr.
79) Njorðr, who fathered Freyr – both these were worshipped as gods by their posterity] Njorðr is the first Svíakonungr ("king of the Swedes") in the appendix to Íslendingabók (21). For this euhemerising explanation of the pagan gods cf. the Prologues to Snorri Sturluson's Edda (1982, 3-4), Hkr (I 3-5) and SepÓlhelg (3).
80) Fjolnir] The first of the kings to be mentioned in Þjóðolfr of Hvin's Ynglingatal (st. 1).
81) Ceres] A classical rather than Norse deity. The name may be used for the benefit of readers outside Scandinavia as an equivalent of Freyja.
82) Dómaldi, was hanged by the Swedes … fertility of the crops] The form Dómald in HN corresponds to Dómaldr in Ari (Íslendingabók 27); Yngl. (ch. 15) and Ynglingatal (st. 5) have the form Dómaldi. Yngl. and Ynglingatal also state that he was sacrificed, but only HN mentions that he was hanged. The close relationship between the king and the fertility of the land, together with the belief that the sacrifice of a king could secure fertility, were ancient and long-lived beliefs of the Germanic peoples. Lönnroth (1986) discusses Snorri's version of the story of Dómaldi in relation to these beliefs.
83) Alrekr was the father of Hogni] HN alone has the name Hogni (Latin Hogna) which appears to be an error for Agni; cf., for example, Íslendingabók 27. HN agrees with Ari that Alrekr was the father of Agni/Hogni, whereas Snorri has them the other way round (Yngl. chs 19-20).
84) Agnafit, which is now called Stockholm] The phrase qui nunc Stokholm dicitur and the description of the manner of Agni's death are not in the Dalhousie manuscript of HN but are added by Storm from the Swedish king lists which depend on an earlier text of HN. Evans (1981, 90 n. 3) claims that the reference to Stockholm almost certainly does not derive from the original version of HN and points out (1981, 101-02) that the name Stockholm is not found in Swedish sources until 1252. Ynglingatal and Yngl. give fuller accounts of the events alluded to here; see further Evans 1981.
85) Ingjaldr] Ynglingatal (st. 12), Ari (Íslendingabók 27), Snorri (Yngl. ch. 21) and Flat. (I 26) all have the name Yngvi. It is not clear why HN has a different name.
86) Bera (which is ursa in Latin)] Both mean "bear".
87) Jorundr] Ynglmgatal (si. 14) and Snorri (Yngl. ch. 24) state that he was hanged by Gýlaugr Háleygjakonungr.
88) Aun] The MS has Auchim (emended in Storm 1880, 100 to Auchun), perhaps a mistake for Authun. He is known in other sources as Aun, which Koht suggests might be an abbreviation of Audun or Audvin (1950, 29).
89) Egill, nicknamed Vendilkráki] In giving this cognomen to Egill HN agrees with Íslendingabók 27, but in Yngl. ch. 27 the name, as is more correct, belongs to his son Óttarr who is said in Þjoðólfr's Ynglingatal st. 19 to have died in Vendill. Though Egill dies in exile according to HN and Ynglingatal St. 20, in Yngl. (ch. 26) he returns to Sweden and dies there.
90) Aðils, or Aðísl] Ari has the form Aðísl (Íslendingabók 27), Ynglingatal st. 21 and Yngl. ch. 29 have ABils. Yngl. ch. 29 has a different account of his death from that given here: Snorri records that Aðils attended a sacrifice at Uppsala and rode around the hall on his horse. The horse stumbled; Aðils was thrown and broke his skull against a rock. Aðils appears in Hrólfs saga kraka and, as Eadgils, in the Anglo-Saxon poem Beowulf.
91) Diana] Another classical rather than Norse deity (cf. 12/24). In Breta Sogur (Hauksbók 241) Diana is made equivalent to Gefjun, though Snorri says that the sacrifice A8ils attended was made to the female guardian spirits known as disir (Yngl. ch. 29).
92) Gautar] Ynglingatal St. 23 and Yngl. ch. 31 assert that he was killed by Jutlanders (see further Krag 1991, 125-26).
93) Braut-Onundr who was killed by his brother, Sigvarðr] No other surviving source says that he was killed by his brother (but cf. Krag 1991, 128-29).
94) Ingjaldr] Nicknamed (enn) illráði ("the Wicked") in Íslendingabók 27 and Yngl. ch. 41.
95) víðfaðmi] "Far-reaching".
96) Óláfr, with the nickname "Tree-feller"] Ari (Íslendingabók 27) and Ynglingatal (st. 29) count Óláfr trételgja among Swedish kings, as here; in Snorri's Yngl. ch. 43 he is a king in Vermaland. Snorri also records a quite different manner of death: in Yngl. ch. 43 Óláfr is burned as a sacrifice to Óðinn. The list of Uppland kings in Hauksbók (456) begins with Óláfr trételgja.
97) Halfdan, with the nickname "White-leg"] The first of the Ynglingar to rule in Norway in this text. Ari (Íslendingabók 27) and Hauksbók (456) agree with HN that Hálfdan ruled the Uppland area; Ynglingatal (st. 30) and Yngl. (ch. 46) claim that he also ruled Vestfold (see further Krag 1991,133).
98) Eysteinn, nicknamed "Fart"] He appears with the nickname fretr ("fart") in a genealogy which though interpolated after the Prologue of Íslendingabók largely agrees with the genealogy appended to that work and so may depend on Ari's original version (Íslendingabók 3). The cognomen is not found in Ynglingatal, Yngl. or Af Upplendinga konungum in Hauksbók
99) Halfdan who was lavish … sparing of food] In the interpolated genealogy after the Prologue of Íslendingabók (see preceding note) Hálfdan is called enn mildi ok enn matarilli, "the munificent and stingy with food" (Íslendingabók 3).
100) Guðrøðr the Hunter-king] Called veiðikonungr ("Hunter-king") in the genealogy interpolated after the Prologue of Íslendingabók (3). In Ynglingatal st. 33 and Hauksbók 457 he is nicknamed gofugláti ("generous"), and Yngl. ch. 48 says hann var kallaðr Guðrøðr inn gofugláti, en sumir kolluðu hann veiðikonung ("he was called the Generous, but some called him Hunter-king").
101) Hálfdan, nicknamed "the Black"] His life is recounted by Snorri Sturluson in Hálfdsv (Hkr).
102) On his way … under the ice] Cf. Ágrip 2. Other sources, including Hálfdsv (Hkr) 91-92, record that the feast was a mid-winter Yule-feast.
103) Haraldr hárfagri] Snorri tells in Hkr of Haraldr's promise not to cut or comb his hair until he was king of all Norway ; when this had been achieved he did have it cut and acquired the nickname hárfagri, "fine-hair" (Hhárf (Hkr) 97, 122).
104) seventy-three years] Theodoricus (ch. 1) and Ari (Íslendingabók 6) state that Haraldr ruled seventy years; according to Ágrip (6) he ruled sixty years after winning the whole of Norway. Other sources agree with HN that he ruled for seventy-three (e.g. Nóregskonungatal St. 9; Fskch. 5; SepÓlhelgch. 1); cf. further references in McDougall and McDougall 1998, 57-58 n. 18.
105) sixteen sons] Ágrip (4) and Hkr state that Haraldr had twenty sons, though their lists are not identical (cf. Agrip, 84-85 n. 10). Thirteen of the sons listed in HN are in the list in Agrip; three of those listed here do not appear elsewhere (Jorundr (14/34), Yngvarr (15/1), and Hrólfr (15/2)). Comparison of the remaining names with other sources suggests that Gunnrøðr and Guðrøðr (14/30) were originally one and the same person, as also were Sigtryygr (15/1) and Tryggvi (15/2); cf. Koht 1950, 34-35.
106) Eiríkr, nicknamed blóðøx] The nickname is usually explained as due to the fact that he killed so many of his brothers (cf., for example, Ágrip 8), though Fsk 79 says that he acquired the name because of his activity as a viking.
107) Rognvaldr réttilbeini] The nickname means "straight-leg".
108) Gunnhildr, the daughter of the notably foolish Gormr, king of the Danes] Among Scandinavian sources, only HN records, as was in fact the case, that Gunnhildr was the daughter of Gormr of Denmark (d. c. 940; cf. the naming of one of Eiríkr's sons Gormr after him); Norse sources maintain that Gunnhildr was the daughter of one Ozurr, that she came from Hálogaland and that she was brought up among the Lapps (Finnar; cf., for example, Ágrip 8, Hhárf (Hkr) 135, Fsk 74, Egils saga 94, Njáls saga 11). Jómsvíkingasaga ch. 1 (Blake 1962, 2) records that Gormr was known as "the Foolish" at first, but later as Gormr the Old or the Mighty.
109) six sons] Snorri names seven sons (Hhárf (Hkr) ch. 43), Ágrip (8) ten. It seems that Gamli and Gormr were originally the same person (Koht 1950, 36; Ágrip 88 n. 15).
110) Eiríkr withdrew … foster-father] HN agrees with Ágrip (8, 16) and Theodoricus (ch. 2) that Eiríkr went directly to England (via Denmark, according to Ágrip). Hkr (I 152, II 159) and Egils saga (176) record that he arrived in England after visiting Orkney. Hákon's foster-father, Æthelstan, reigned 925-39 and Eiríkr is unlikely to have arrived in England during his reign. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (MS D) records s. a. 948 that King Eadred invaded Northumbria in that year to win it back from Eiríkr's control. Hkr (1152-53) says that Æthelstan offered Eiríkr rule (ríki, i. e. presumably an earldom) in England (cf. Ágrip 16); he is thought to have become ruler there in 847/48.
111) Spain] Ágrip (16) also records that Eiríkr died in Spain. All other Norse sources agree that he died in battle on Stainmoor in Westmorland in 954.
112) he nevertheless observed… heathen age] In Ágrip, Fsk and once in Hkr Hákon is called "the Good".
113) Two of their battles] Fsk (81-82, 88-93) also mentions two battles, but Theodoricus mentions just one (ch. 4), and Ágrip (10-12) and Hkr (Hákonar saga góða chs 19-31) mention three.
114) fourteen years] Hkr (I 239) gives fifteen years, Theodoricus twelve (ch. 4), Sasmundr the Wise (as preserved in Nóregskonungatal st. 18) nine. Ágrip 18 may have either xv or xii (cf. Ágrip 91 n. 33). See Ólafia Einarsdóttir 1964, 177-79.
115) volubrjótr] This may mean "breaker of sorceresses" or "knuckle-cruncher".
116) klyppr] "squarely-built".
117) But…] The manuscript shows no sign of a lacuna, but it seems that a section of the text telling how Haraldr Eiríksson died has been lost here.
118) Halfdan High-leg was killed by the Orkney islanders] Cf. Orkneyinga saga ch. 8 and Hhárf (Hkr) ch. 30.
119) Rognvaldr réttilbeini … father's orders] Rognvaldr is said above to have been fostered by a sorceress and to have followed her in the practice of magic (14/32-34). The practice of magic (seidr) was often associated with ergi, "unmanliness" including (passive) homosexual activity, and this may explain the "degrading practices" referred to here which impel Rognvaldr's father to order his death by drowning (cf. Strom 1974, 8-9,16-17). In Hhárf (Hkr) ch. 34 Rognvaldr is burnt to death in a house by his half-brother, Eiríkr Bloodaxe, but it is probable that HN preserves the more original version of events.
120) Óláfr and Óláfr] I. e. Óláfr Tryggvason and St Óláfr Haraldsson. The manner in which they are introduced together here may be seen as part of the sustained attempt by HN to present Óláfr Tryggvason as just as worthy of canonisation as his sainted namesake (on this see Ekrem 1998a, 60-63; 1998b, 58-59).
121) Grenland] Elsewhere, Bjorn and his son Guðrøðr are said to have ruled Vestfold (cf. Hhárf (Hkr) ch. 35; Hkr, Haraldssaga gráfeldar ch. 1).
122) kula] "Knob, ball".
123) perpetual king of Norway] At his coronation in 1163/64 Magnus Erlingsson received Norway to rule on behalf of her perpetual king in heaven, St Óláfr.
124) Sow] The Latin scrofa used here means "sow", but the Norse form of the nickname, syr, often declines differently from the common noun sýr, "sow", possibly indicating a different original meaning.
125) Sigvarðr risi (that is "the Giant")] In Icelandic sources his nickname is hrisi (Ágrip 4, Hhárf (Hkr) ch. 25, Msk 56, 190 and Fsk 71, 226); with the long vowel this means not "giant" but "illegitimate son/bastard" (cf. ON hrísungr).
126) Óláfr] In Ágrip 4 he has the nickname digrbeinn ("stout-leg"), but in Hkr I 119 is called Geirstaðaálfr ("elf of Geirstaðir") after an earlier character of that name who also, according to Ólhelg (Leg) 30 had the additional nickname digrbeinn.
127) a small island] The mound Tryggvareyrr (see 18/2) is modern Tryggvarör on Tryggvaey (modern Tryggo) to the west of Sótanes (Ranríki). Ágrip 26, Oddr 6 and other sources place Tryggvareyrr on Sótanes.
128) Saxi, Skorri and Skreyja] All nicknames of men whose names are not now known.
129) Ástriðr herself… Orkney islands] HN is the only source to record that Óláfr was born in Orkney; all others have him born in Norway. Ágrip 26 has Ástriðr flee to Orkney after Tryggvi's death with a three-year-old Óláfr. In ÓlTrygg (Hkr) ch. 1 Óláfr is born on an island in a lake after Tryggvi's death.
130) when he learnt… deprive him of the kingdom] Here the young Óláfr Tryggvason is strikingly compared to the Christ-Child (a "fatherless boy") and Hákon jarl to Herod; cf. Matthew 2: 1-18. The comparison of Óláfr with the Christ-Child is made more explicitly in Oddr 22-23.
131) a kinsman] Ástrioðs brother, Sigurðr Eiríksson was at the court of Vladimir, son of Grand Prince Svyatoslav of Kiev.
132) When he was about twelve … adopted as a son] A slightly fuller account of this deed is in Ágrip ch. 18, though that text makes no mention of Óláfr's adoption by the king. Oddr 26-28 provides a much fuller account in which Óláfr is said to have been nine years old.
133) Practising piracy as a youth] On Óláfr's Viking activity see Jones 1984, 131-33. See also note to 23/24-25 below.
134) Jómsborg] Only HN and Agrip state that this was Óláfr's winter base. The main source of information on this south Baltic town and the Vikings who inhabited it is the early thirteenth-century Jómsvíkinga saga, though it is not clear how much faith may be put in the historical accuracy of its account. See Blake 1962.
135) a small island off Britain] Ágrip 28 refers simply to "a place in England", but most other sources agree that the hermit lived in the Isles of Scilly. Britannia in HN corresponds to ON Bretland, referring specifically to the Celtic parts of Britain, here Cornwall. The story of Óláfr's encounter with the hermit and subsequent baptism parallels a similar story told of his namesake Óláfr Haraldsson in Ólhelg (Leg) 64. (On the transfer of stories concerning St Óláfr Haraldsson to his namesake in an attempt to promote Óláfr Tryggvason's sanctity see Lönnroth 1963; 1965, 16-18.) Turville-Petre (1967, 135-36) draws attention to a source for the stories in the Dialogues of Gregory the Great. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle s. a. 994 states that Óláfr was baptised (or possibly confirmed) at Andover in that year.
136) the blessed Óláfr] Cf. 23/17. Ekrem (1998a, 61-62; 1998b, 58-59) adduces this title as evidence of an attempt by the writer of HN to advance Óláfr Tryggvason's canonisation. St Óláfr Haraldsson is referred to below as beatissimus, "most blessed" (24/4).
137) the health-giving change … Most High] Cf. Psalm 76: 11 (77: 10).
138) Johannes] Cf. Gesta Hamm. II.xxxvii (35), Oddr ch. 26 (17). Other sources (Ágrich. 19, Theodoricus ch. 8) give the bishop's name as Sigeweard/Sigurðr. Oddr (91-92) introduces him as Jon, but later (98, 246) says that he was also called Sigurðr.
139) Þangbrandr] A prominent early foreign missionary to Iceland. He was rather more successful at making (and in some cases slaying) enemies than converting heathens. See Íslendingabók 14; Kristnisaga 14-30).
140) one mind and one mouth] Cf. Romans 15: 6.
141) Karkr killed him despicably by night] Parallel accounts tell how Karkr murdered Hákon in a pigsty (cf. Theodoricus ch. 10, Ágrip ch. 13, Oddr ch. 21 (15), ÓlTrygg (Hkr) chs 48-49). On Karkr's name in different texts and its possible meaning see Agrip 92 n. 40.
142) the Shetlanders … Icelanders] All peoples who came under the jurisdiction of the archdiocese of Niðaróss when it was established in 1152/53. Shetlanders and Orcadians are listed separately here, though in the earlier geographical description the Shetland islands were not mentioned.
143) shining in faith … ardent in charity] Cf. Romans 12: 10-12.
144) the duke of Slavland] Pyri had in fact been married to Búrizleifr (Boleslaw the Brave), ruler of Poland 992-1025. HN here agrees closely with Ágrip 32, but a slightly different account is given in Hkr (I 273, 341-43), Oddr 143-47 and Fsk 145-47.
145) while sailing past Sjáland] What follows is an account of the Battle of Svolðr, the location of which is now uncertain. HN follows Gesta Hamm. II.xl (38) and agrees with Ágrip ch. 20 in locating the battle near Sjáland (Sjælland) in Øresund. See further McDougall and McDougall 1998, 74 n. 113 and references there.
146) But when the battle … an uncertain fact] For similar uncertainty about Óláfr's fate, see Theodoricus ch. 14, Ágrip ch. 20, ÓlTrygg (Hkr) ch. 112 (citing Hallfreðr vandræðaskald's Óláfsdrápa (erfidrápa)). Oddr (chs 73 (61) to 75 (63), 78 (65) to 81) claims that Óláfr escaped the battle, visited the Holy Land and died a monk.
147) almost uprooted … Johannes watered] Cf. 1 Corinthians 3: 6; Matthew 15: 13. See also Oddr 1.
148) in Eapolis] The manuscript reads in ea poll or in eo poli, where poli is presumably ablative of the Latinised Greek word polis, "city". Koht (1950, 49) adopts the latter reading, taking poli to refer to Hólmgarðr.
149) he constantly harassed all the peoples round the Baltic Sea] Óláfr's Viking activities are recorded in Sigvatr Þórðarson's Víkingarvísur and Óttarr svarti's Hofuðlausn.
150) he was invited … to England] Sveinn sailed to England in 1013, but Óláfr did not accompany him. Óláfr had been in England in the army of the Dane Porkell Strút-Haraldsson inn hávi between 1009 and 1012, then went to France and Spain, wintering in Rouen in 1013-14. On Þorkell's campaign and Óláfr's activities in England see Campbell 1949, 73-82.
151) most blessed tyrant] Latin beatissimus tyrannus. Tyrannus here may have the sense of "Viking"; cf. Skard 1930, 23, 51; Ekrem 1998a, 43, 61.
152) Æthelred] Æthelred "the Unready" (Old English unræd, "ill-advised"), fled England late in 1013 but returned after Sveinn's death on 2 February 1014 with Óláfr among his followers. Æthelred then reigned again until his own death in 1016.
153) they eagerly started off together] In fact, Óláfr was not with Knútr; cf. notes above to 24/1-2 and 24/4.
154) King Edmund was staying at the time] Æthelred died in 1016 and Edmund was in London that year; Óláfr had already returned to Norway by then. He had, however, been involved in a battle for London in the winter of 1009-10; Sigvatr's Víkingarvísur and Óttarr's Hofuðlausn celebrate his attack on London Bridge then. See Ólhelg (Hkr) chs 12-13.
155) Ælfgifu] This is the Anglo-Saxon name used by Emma of Normandy, Æthelred's widow and the daughter of Richard I of Normandy. HN is the only foreign source to use this name rather than Emma; see Campbell 1949, 55-58 (especially 56-57). Storm (1880, 123 n. 6), however, suggests the following manuscript lacuna may have provided her alternative name Emma.
156) Knútr, nicknamed "the Hard"] Norse sagas refer to him as Horða-Knútr, i.e. Knútr from Horð in Jutland. The nickname in HN agrees with that found in Danish sources. Knútr was the only son of Knútr Sveinsson and Emma/Ælfgifu of Normandy ; his half-brother Sveinn was Knútr's son by his concubine, Ælfgifu of Northampton.
157) Margaret] She was the sister of Knútr, not of Óláfr of Sweden. Other sources record that Óláfr was betrothed to Ingigerðr, a daughter of Óláfr of Sweden, and that he eventually married her sister, Ástriðr; see, for example, Theodoricus ch. 16, Ágrip ch. 25, Fsk ch. 30, Ólhelg (Hkr) chs 88-93.
158) by her had ...] Ágrip (ch. 25) gives Óláfr's daughter's name as Gunnhildr, but other sources (e. g. Theodoricus ch. 16, Fsk ch. 30, Ólhelg (Hkr) chs 181, 197) give Óláfr's daughter's name as Úlfhildr, which is more likely to be correct.
159) Four bishops] Also listed in Cesta Hamm. II.lvii (55) as among the many English bishops and priests Óláfr had with him.
160) The end] HN cannot originally have been intended to end here and in such a perfunctory manner. Ekrem (1998a, 87) suggests that the word Explicit may have been transferred here from the end of what was originally Book II, or alternatively that the original reading was Explicit liber I.