Hrómundar saga Gripssonar

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Hrómundar saga Gripssonar or The Saga of Hromund Gripsson is a legendary saga from Iceland. The original version has been lost, but its content has been preserved in the rímur of Hrómundr Gripsson published in Fernir forníslenzkar rímnaflokkar (1896). These rímur were the basis for the not very appreciated Hrómunds saga which is found in the MS of the Arnamagnæan Codex, nr 587, 4°, and which is preserved in the Fornaldarsögur.

According to the Sturlunga saga, the original version was composed by the farmer Rolf of Skálmarnes and was recited by him on the wedding of Reykjahólar in 1119.

The saga is about Hrómundr serving king Óláf Warrior-King (Óláfr konungr liði) and Hrómund's battles with the berserker Hröngvið and as well as the undead witch-king Þráinn, a draugr (he was a former king of Gaul, Valland). Þráinn had killed 420 men including the Swedish king Semingr with his enchanted sword Mistletoe (Mistilteinn.) Hrómund grapples with Þráinn and wins, burns his body and takes Mistletoe. Later he fights the two kings of Sweden named Haldingr, and their champion Helgi Haddingjaskati (Hröngvið's brother) who is aided in battle by his lover Kára's magic. During the battle, she is in the shape of a swan, and she is probably based on the Valkyrie Kára. By mistake Helgi hurts the swan with his sword and is no longer protected by Kára's magic, and is killed by Hrómund. After some adventures, Hrómund slays the last Swedish king Haldingr.

The saga reflects parts of the lost Káruljóð which is mentioned in the prose section of Helgakviða Hundingsbana II. This section says that Helgi Hundingsbane and his lover, the Valkyrie Sigrún are reborn as Helgi Haddingjaskati and Kára.

According to Landnámabók, Hrómundr Gripsson was the paternal great-grandfather of Ingolfr Arnarson, and this means that he would have lived in Norway in the first half of the 8th century.

It is probably not a historic account of real events since it was remarked by king Sverre of Norway, who heard it, that it was an amusing lying tale.


Hrómundr has been connected to Swedish legends of Ramunder hin Onde (Hrómundr the Evil). In these traditions he was a wild and evil Viking who founded the estate of Ramundeboda in the forest of Tiveden, Sweden. His daughter Skaga constructed the Skaga stave church.

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