Egla, 50

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Chapter 50

Of Athelstan king of the English

Alfred the Great[1] ruled England, being of his family the first supreme king over England. That was in the days of Harold Fairhair, king of Norway. After Alfred, Edward his son was king in England. He was father of Athelstan the Victorious, who was foster-father of Hacon the Good. It was at this time of our story that Athelstan took the kingdom after his father. There were several brothers sons of Edward.

But when Athelstan had taken the kingdom, then those chieftains who had before lost their power to his forefathers rose in rebellion; now they thought was the easiest time to claim back their own, when a young king ruled the realm. These were Britons, Scots, and Irish.[2] King Athelstan therefore gathered him an army, and gave pay to all such as wished to enrich themselves, both foreigners and natives.

The brothers Thorolf and Egil were standing southwards along Saxony and Flanders, when they heard that the king of England wanted men, and that there was in his service hope of much gain. So they resolved to take their force thither. And they went on that autumn till they came to king Athelstan. He received them well; he saw plainly that such followers would be a great help. Full soon did the English king decide to ask them to join him, to take pay there, and become defenders of his land. They so agreed between them that they became king Athelstan's men.[3]

England was thoroughly Christian in faith, and had long been so, when these things happened. King Athelstan was a good Christian; he was called Athelstan the Faithful. The king asked Thorolf and his brother to consent to take the first signing with the cross, for this was then a common custom both with merchants and those who took soldiers' pay in Christian armies, since those who were 'prime-signed' (as 'twas termed) could hold all intercourse with Christians and heathens alike, while retaining the faith which was most to their mind. Thorolf and Egil did this at the king's request, and both let themselves be prime-signed.[4] They had three hundred men with them who took the king's pay.

References

  1. Alfred the Great: "The battle at Vínheiðr has some similarities with the great battle of Brunanburh in 937, recorded in English sources, according to which King Athelstan won a famous victory against invading Northmen supported by forces from Scotland and Wales (see the poem The Battle of Brunanburh in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle and the description of the battle in William of Malmesbury’s De Gestis Regum Anglorum). It seems reasonable to assume an English source for the outlines of the episode in Egils saga, from the account of King Elfráðr inn ríki (Alfred the Great) in Ch. 50 to the end of the battle in Ch. 54." Bjarni Einarsson. Foreword, Afterword (p. ??).
  2. Britons, Scots, and Irish: „Egils saga shows a knowledge of tenth-century English politics that can scarcely have been invented by an Icelandic compiler of c. 1200.“ Smyth, Alfred P.. Scandinavian York and Dublin (p. 168).
  3. became king Athelstan's men: “Bei der E g i l s s a g a tritt der seltene Fall ein, daß wir eine Isländersaga durch engliche Nachrichten controlieren könne, indem des Isländers Egils Wanderfahrten sich auch nach England, zur Zeit König Aethelstanʼs, erstreckten, und wir so Berichte der Angelsächsischen Chronik über diesen König zur Vergleichung heranzuziehen vermögen.“ Jessen, C. A. E.. Über die Glaubwurdigkeit der Egils-Saga und anerer Isländer-Sagas (p. 66).
  4. let themselves be prime-signed: "Cette remarque rappelle que, bien des années plus tôt, Egill et Þórólfr, son frère, avaient reçu ce type de prébaptême, appelé prima signatio, lorsqu'ils étaient entrés au service du roi chrétien Aðalsteinn d'Angleterre." Torfi H. Tulinius. Le statut théologique d‘Egill Skalla-Grímsson (p. 282).

Kafli 50

Elfráður hinn ríki[1] réð fyrir Englandi. Hann var fyrstur einvaldskonungur yfir Englandi sinna kynsmanna. Það var á dögum Haralds hins hárfagra Noregskonungs. Eftir hann var konungur í Englandi son hans Játvarður. Hann var faðir Aðalsteins hins sigursæla, fóstra Hákonar hins góða. Í þenna tíma tók Aðalsteinn konungdóm í Englandi eftir föður sinn. Þeir voru fleiri bræður, synir Játvarðs.

En er Aðalsteinn hafði tekið konungdóm þá hófust upp til ófriðar þeir höfðingjar er áður höfðu látið ríki sín fyrir þeim langfeðgum, þótti nú sem dælst mundi til að kalla er ungur konungur réð fyrir ríki. Voru það bæði Bretar og Skotar og Írar.[2] En Aðalsteinn konungur safnaði herliði að sér og gaf mála þeim mönnum öllum er það vildu hafa til féfangs sér bæði útlenskum og innlenskum.

Þeir bræður Þórólfur og Egill héldu suður fyrir Saxland og Flæmingjaland. Þá spurðu þeir að Englandskonungur þóttist liðs þurfa og þar var von féfangs mikils. Gera þeir þá það ráð að halda þangað liði sínu. Fóru þeir þá um haustið til þess er þeir komu á fund Aðalsteins konungs. Tók hann vel við þeim og leist svo á að liðsemd mikil mundi vera að fylgd þeirra. Verður það brátt í ræðum Englandskonungs að hann býður þeim til sín að taka þar mála og gerast landvarnarmenn hans. Semja þeir það sín í milli að þeir gerast menn Aðalsteins.[3]

England var kristið og hafði lengi verið þá er þetta var tíðinda. Aðalsteinn konungur var vel kristinn. Hann var kallaður Aðalsteinn hinn trúfasti. Konungur bað Þórólf og þá bræður að þeir skyldu láta prímsignast því að það var þá mikill siður bæði með kaupmönnum og þeim mönnum er á mála gengu með kristnum mönnum, því að þeir menn er prímsignaðir voru höfðu allt samneyti við kristna menn og svo heiðna en höfðu það að átrúnaði er þeim var skapfelldast. Þeir Þórólfur og Egill gerðu það eftir bæn konungs og létu prímsignast báðir.[4] Þeir höfðu þar þrjú hundruð sinna manna, þeirra er mála tóku af konungi.

Tilvísanir

  1. Elfráður hinn ríki: "The battle at Vínheiðr has some similarities with the great battle of Brunanburh in 937, recorded in English sources, according to which King Athelstan won a famous victory against invading Northmen supported by forces from Scotland and Wales (see the poem The Battle of Brunanburh in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle and the description of the battle in William of Malmesbury’s De Gestis Regum Anglorum). It seems reasonable to assume an English source for the outlines of the episode in Egils saga, from the account of King Elfráðr inn ríki (Alfred the Great) in Ch. 50 to the end of the battle in Ch. 54." Bjarni Einarsson. Foreword, Afterword (s. ??).
  2. Bretar og Skotar og Írar: „Egils saga shows a knowledge of tenth-century English politics that can scarcely have been invented by an Icelandic compiler of c. 1200.“ Smyth, Alfred P.. Scandinavian York and Dublin (s. 168).
  3. gerast menn Aðalsteins: “Bei der E g i l s s a g a tritt der seltene Fall ein, daß wir eine Isländersaga durch engliche Nachrichten controlieren könne, indem des Isländers Egils Wanderfahrten sich auch nach England, zur Zeit König Aethelstanʼs, erstreckten, und wir so Berichte der Angelsächsischen Chronik über diesen König zur Vergleichung heranzuziehen vermögen.“ Jessen, C. A. E.. Über die Glaubwurdigkeit der Egils-Saga und anerer Isländer-Sagas (s. 66).
  4. létu prímsignast báðir: "Cette remarque rappelle que, bien des années plus tôt, Egill et Þórólfr, son frère, avaient reçu ce type de prébaptême, appelé prima signatio, lorsqu'ils étaient entrés au service du roi chrétien Aðalsteinn d'Angleterre." Torfi H. Tulinius. Le statut théologique d‘Egill Skalla-Grímsson (s. 282).

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