Codex Regius

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Codex Regius and Flateyjarbók (open).

Codex Regius (Latin: Cōdex Rēgius, "(The) Royal Book"; Icelandic: Konungsbók) or GKS 2365 4º is an Icelandic codex in which many Old Norse poems are preserved. It is made up of 45 vellum leaves, thought to have been written in the 1270s. It originally contained a further 8 leaves, which are now missing. It is the sole source for most of the poems it contains. In scholarly texts, this manuscript is commonly abbreviated as [R] for Codex Regius, or as [K] for Konungsbók.

Nothing was known of its whereabouts until 1643 when it came into the possession of Brynjólfur Sveinsson, then Bishop of Skálholt, who sent it as a present to King Frederick III of Denmark in 1662, hence the name. It was then kept in the Royal Library in Copenhagen until April 21, 1971, when it was brought back to Reykjavík[1] and is now kept in the Árni Magnússon Institute for Icelandic Studies. Since air travel was not to be entirely trusted at the time with such precious cargo, it was transported by ship, accompanied by a military escort[citation needed].

One of the principal manuscripts of Snorri's Edda (GKS 2367 4to) also goes by the name of the Codex Regius. It is made up of 55 vellum pages dating from the early 14th century. It was part of the same gift from Bishop Brynjólfur to Frederick III. It was returned to Iceland in 1985, where it is now also in the Árni Magnússon Institute for Icelandic Studies.


Völuspá (Prophecy of the Völva)
Hávamál (Sayings of the high one)
Vafþrúðnismál (Vafþrúðnir's sayings)
Grímnismál (Sayings of Grímnir)
Skírnismál (Sayings of Skírnir)
Hárbarðsljóð (Lay of Hárbarðr)
Hymiskviða (Hymir's poem)
Lokasenna (Loki's quarrel)
Þrymskviða (Thrym's poem)
Völundarkviða (Völundr's poem)
Alvíssmál (Talk of Alvíss)
Helgakviða Hundingsbana I (First Lay of Helgi Hundingsbane)
Helgakviða Hjörvarðssonar (Lay of Helgi Hjörvarðsson)
Helgakviða Hundingsbana II (Second Lay of Helgi Hundingsbane)
Frá dauða Sinfjötla (On the death of Sinfjötli)
Grípisspá (Grípir's prophecy)
Reginsmál (Reginn's sayings)
Fáfnismál (Fáfnir's sayings)
Sigrdrífumál (Sigrdrífa sayings)
The Great Lacuna A lacuna, not a portion of the text
Brot af Sigurðarkviðu (The Broken off Lay of Sigurd)
Guðrúnarkviða I (First Lay of Guðrún)
Sigurðarkviða hin skamma (The Short Lay of Sigurd)
Helreið Brynhildar (Brynhild's Hel-Ride)
Dráp Niflunga (Niflungs' Killing)
Guðrúnarkviða II (The Second Lay of Gudrún)
Guðrúnarkviða III (The Third Lay of Gudrún)
Oddrúnargrátr (Oddrún's Lament)
Atlakviða (The Lay of Atli)
Atlamál (The Greenlandic Lay of Atli)
Guðrúnarhvöt (Guðrún's Cause)
Hamðismál (Talk of Hamðir)

In popular culture[edit]


  1. ^ Greenfield, Jeanette. The Return of Cultural Treasures. p. 38.

External links[edit]