Thorgils Skarthi

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Thorgils Skarthi (hare-lip) [1] (Old Norse: Þorgils Skarði) was a Viking leader and poet. He is associated with the founding of Scarborough, England. [2]

Thorgils Skarthi is reputed to have founded Skarðaborg in North Yorkshire, England about 966. The new settlement was later burned to the ground by Tostig Godwinson, Earl of Northumbria and Lord of the Manor of Hougun. [3] [4]

Tostig Godwinson was an Anglo-Saxon Earl of Northumbria and brother of King Harold Godwinson. After being exiled by his brother, Tostig supported the Norwegian king Harald Hardrada's invasion of England, and was killed at the Battle of Stamford Bridge.

Earl of Northumbria was a title in the Anglo-Danish, late Anglo-Saxon, and early Anglo-Norman period in England. The earldom of Northumbria was the successor of the earldom of Bamburgh. In the seventh century, the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of Bernicia and Deira were united in the kingdom of Northumbria, but this was destroyed by the Vikings in 867. Southern Northumbria, the former Deira, then became the Viking kingdom of York, while English earls ruled the former northern kingdom of Bernicia from their base at Bamburgh. The northern part of Bernicia was lost to the Scots, probably in the late tenth century. In 1006 Uhtred the Bold was earl of Bamburgh, and Æthelred the Unready appointed him earl of York as well, re-uniting the area of Northumbria still under English control into a single earldom. Uhtred was murdered in 1016, and Cnut then appointed Eric of Hlathir earl of Northumbria at York, but Uhtred's dynasty held onto Bernicia until 1041, when the earldom was again united. A descendant of Uhtred, Gospatric, was appointed earl by William the Conqueror in 1067, but William expelled him in 1072. Gospatric was then given lands in Scotland, and his descendants became earls of Dunbar. The earldom of Northumbria was broken up in the early Norman period and dissolved into the earldoms of York and Northumberland, with much land going to the prince-bishopric of Durham.

The Manor of Hougun is the historic name for an area which now forms part of the county of Cumbria in north-west England. Of the three most northern counties of England surveyed in the Domesday Book of 1086, only the southern band of land in the south of Cumbria was recorded. The westernmost entries for Cumbria, covering the Duddon and Furness Peninsulas are largely recorded as part of the Manor of Hougun. The entry in Domesday Book covering Hougun refers to the time when it was held by Tostig Godwinson, Earl of Northumbria.

Thorgils Skarthi is described in the Kormáks saga which is principally about his brother, the Icelandic skald, Kormákr Ögmundarson who was the court poet of Norwegian nobleman Sigurd Haakonsson. [5] English chronicler Robert Mannyng of Brunne in his book Story of Inglande (1338) quoted from two lost romances about Þorgils Skarði, including that he had a brother called Fleyn. If so, Kormákr may have had the nickname Fleinn. In that case he may have founded Flamborough in Yorkshire (from Old Norse Fleinaborg). Thorgils and Kormákr came to England (ca. 965) not long after the expedition of King Harald Greycloak of Norway to Bjarmaland, today the area of Arkhangelsk in northern Russia. [6] [7] [8]

Kormáks saga is one of the Icelanders' sagas. It tells of the tenth-century Icelandic poet, Kormákr Ögmundarson, and Steingerðr, the love of his life. The saga preserves a significant amount of poetry attributed to Kormákr, much of it dealing with his love for Steingerðr. Though the saga is believed to have been among the earliest sagas composed it is well preserved. The unknown author clearly relies on oral tradition and seems unwilling to add much of his own or even to fully integrate the different accounts he knew of Kormákr. Often he does little more than briefly set the scenes for Kormákr's stanzas.

Skald profession

Skald, or skáld, is generally a term used for poets who composed at the courts of Scandinavian leaders during the Viking Age and into the Middle Ages. Skaldic poetry forms one of two main groupings of Old Norse poetry, the other being the anonymous Eddic poetry.

Kormákr Ögmundarson was a 10th-century Icelandic skald. He is the protagonist of Kormáks saga which preserves a significant amount of poetry attributed to him. According to Skáldatal he was also the court poet of Sigurðr Hlaðajarl and fragments of a drápa to the jarl are preserved in Skáldskaparmál.

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  1. Richard Fletcher (2004) "Bloodfeud: Murder and Revenge in Anglo-Saxon England" (Oxford University Press) ISBN   978-0195179446
  2. "History of Scarborough". Scarb. 26 April 2011. Retrieved April 1, 2016.
  3. "Origins of the Name Scarborough". Retrieved April 1, 2016.
  4. "Scarborough History : Life of a Norman Earl 1066 - 1166" Archived 2010-06-14 at the Wayback Machine
  5. English, transl. W.G. Collingwood and J. Stefansson (1901). "The Saga of Cormac the Skald". Kormáks saga. Retrieved April 1, 2016.CS1 maint: Uses authors parameter (link)
  6. Finnur Jónsson. "Kormákr Ögmundarson". Retrieved April 1, 2016.
  7. Per G. Norseng Bjarmeland Store norske leksikon
  8. Claus Krag. "Harald 2 Eiriksson Gråfell, Konge". Norsk biografisk leksikon. Retrieved April 1, 2016.