Árni Magnússon’s rearrangement of paper manuscripts

Repository for PhD project files by Beeke Stegmann

AM 554 a α 4to
AM 554 a α 4to (1601-1700, Iceland)
Stofnun Árna Magnússonar í íslenskum fræðum, Reykjavík
1. (1r-13r) Harðar saga og Hólmverja Icelandic Sagann Af Hørde Og Hans Fylgiurum Þeim Holmuerum A dogum Harallz hins haarfagra bigdest hefnd verid drepnn sem eptir hond og luku vier suo Holmueria Sogu Copy of AM 165 e fol. Note: The lower part of fol. 23r and all of fol. 23v were originally blank.
i, 25, i192 mm x 153 mm
The watermark resembles a crown or a city with three towers. On top of the towers, there are flower-like elements, and in the middle below them, there are two larger and two smaller circles. The details are:
  • fol. 1: towers (top)
  • fol. 2: "blank"
  • fol. 3: towers (bottom)
  • fol. 4: "blank"
  • fol. 5: "blank"
  • fol. 6: towers (top)
  • fol. 7: "blank"
  • fol. 8: towers (bottom)
  • fol. 9: "blank"
  • fol. 10: towers (bottom)
  • fol. 11: towers (bottom)
  • fol. 12: "blank"
  • fol. 13: "blank"
  • fol. 14: towers (top)
  • fol. 15: towers (top)
  • fol. 16: "blank"
  • fol. 17: ?
  • fol. 18: towers (bottom)
  • fol. 19: "blank"
  • fol. 20: "blank"
  • fol. 21: towers (top)
  • fol. 22: ?
  • fol. 23: "blank"
The watermark on the older bifolium in front is the countermark "PD".

There is modern foliation in pencil.
There are three quires:
  • Quire I: fols. 1-8 (1+8, 2+7, 3+6, 4+5) (4 bifolia) Note: Most of the leaves have been repaired close to the spine. Nevertheless, this is an original quire.
  • Quire II: fols. 9-16 (9+16, 10+15, 11+14, 12+13) (4 bifolia)
  • Quire III: fols. 17-23 (17+22, 18+21, 19+20, 23) (3 bifolia, 1 singleton) Note: The singleton leaf fol. 23 has been glued onto the outside of fol. 17. Based on the darker appearance of its verso-side, this seems to have been a singleton leaf at the end of the quire from the beginning.
There are no quire signatures.There are catchwords on most pages.
  • The leaves are rather dirty, especially at the original quire boundaries.
  • There are many stains.
  • The leaves have been trimmed so that some text is lost.
The text is written in one column. 180 mm x 140 mm24-2710-12Note: On some pages, the outer margins have been ruled with ink.
Unknown Mixed Sole
Info: The script changes in between chancery, hybrida and kurrent. The letter size also varies.
  • Initial: The first initial is written larger (2-3 lines) and bolder than the other letters.
  • Paratext: Some catchwords are decorated with lines or simple squiggles.
  • Frieze: At the end of the text on fol. 23r, there are two similar tail-pieces, one of which may be a later imitation of the other.
  • On fol. 23r, someone has added
    "Finis non finis"
  • On fol. 23v, there are several names and pen trials in different hands. Among them:
    "Siera Peter Gisusrsen[!]"
    "Halldor Magnuson"
    "Páll Oddsson"
    "Eyolfur Eynararsson"
    "Thorsteinn Kristinnsson(?)"
  • The scribe has added corrections and additions to the margins of fols. 4v, 7r, 10r, 15r-v, 16v, 18r and 21v.
  • In front of the manuscript, there is a bifolium that used to surround the manuscript. The leaves bear handwritten text and stem from another manuscript. The size of the leaves has been adjusted to the manuscript. The text is crossed out using the same ink as a note by Árni Magnússon on the recto-side of the first leaf (cf below). The text can be identified as part of Annals of the year 1413. It starts with
    "sem fölked var ecke sialf biarga"
    and ends with
    "þeim er á Lyra heiter i Leyrärsveit, færdest ur stad Biarg"
    . Note: Another bifolium of the same manuscript, also containing annals, is preserved in AM 588 r 4to.
  • Árni Magnússon has added to the recto-side of the first leaf ("a"):
    "Holmveria Saga. grey Exemplar. ur bok fra sira Þorkele Oddzsyne i Gaulveriabæ"
    . Note: From the missing letter in Árni's note can be deduced that the added leaves used to be larger when he first reused them and that they were trimmed later on.
  • The added bifolium in front has been foliated in pencil in the top outer corners as "a" and "b".
  • In the bottom margin of fol. 19r, there used to be marginalia (in the place where quire signatures usually are). This part has been cut off during trimming so that the script can not be identified or read. Note: It is unlikely that it was a quire signature, since no other leaves show traces of those. Moreover, the watermarks and the relative cleanliness of the page suggest that this page was located at the inside of a quire.

The current binding (197 mm x 176 mm x 11 mm) is a modern half binding with fabric on the boards from July 1976. It was made by Birgitte Dall in Copenhagen. The current flyleaves belong to this binding.
An older binding (203 mm x 165 mm x 3 mm) is kept in the same box as the manuscript. It is a grey cardboard binding with handcrafted paper on the boards. The pastedown is made from blank bluish paper. On the front cover, there are the title and the shelfmark, which were added by two different hands. On the spine, there are two stickers for the shelfmark and the running number.

There is a loose slip in front of the manuscript containing information about the restoration of the manuscript by Birgitte Dall in July 1976.
The codicological unit was written in Iceland. It is dated to the seventeenth century (Kålund 1889-1894, 1: 699). The codicological unit was most likely written at Eyjafjöll and was in the Vestmannaeyjar in the late seventeenth century (Hast 1960, 2: 151-152).
Árni Magnússon borrowed the codex, of which this codicological unit was a part, from séra Þorkell Oddsson in Gaulverjabær (see additions). Þorkell Oddsson had inherited the manuscript from his father Oddur Eyjólfsson the older. Earlier, it belonged to Einar Eyjólfsson, and after his death it came into the possession of the named Oddur Eyjólfsson, who married Einar Eyjólfsson's widow. Oddur Eyjólfsson lent the manuscript for some time to his relative Páll Oddsson (Hast 1960, 2: 151-152).

Former Physical Context:
  • When Árni Magnússon acquired the codicological unit it was part of Ms61.

Last update: 2015.
Please note: Bibliographical references are abbreviated. For complete references please contact the editor.
Den Arnamagnæanske Samling
Nordisk Forskningsinstitut
Københavns Universitet
Njalsgade 136
2300 København S
Nordisk Forskningsinstitut
Københavns Universitet
Njalsgade 136
2300 København S
Tel. +45 35 32 85 00