Ragnarsdrápa (Ragnar's Poem) is a skaldic poem said to have been composed in honour of the Scandinavian hero, Ragnar Lodbrok, but likely actually addressed to some later Ragnar. It is attributed to the oldest known skald, Bragi Boddason, who lived in the 9th century, and was composed for the Swedish king Björn at Haugi. Bragi describes the images on a decorated shield which Ragnar had given to him. The images included:
- the attack of Hamdir and Sorli against King Jörmunrekkr
- the never-ending battle between Heðinn and Hǫgni.
- Thor's fishing for Jörmungandr (The Midgard Serpent)
- Gefjun's ploughing of Zealand from the soil of Sweden
The extant fragments of Ragnarsdrápa are preserved in Snorri Sturluson's Prose Edda. The episodes of Hamdir and Sorli and Heðinn and Hǫgni are explicitly ascribed to Ragnarsdrápa while the other parts are inferred by scholars to belong to the same poem, describing the images on the four quarters of the shield, in four stanzas each with, presumably, a lost refrain.
The poem is often compared with Húsdrápa and Haustlöng, which also describe artworks depicting mythological scenes. Like Haustlöng, it uses archaic and complex kennings in a manner which strains the syntax. Although the dróttkvætt metre violates some of the rules developed later, it is well executed; this and the complexity of language demonstrate that there had already been considerable development of skaldic verse.
- Pollard, Justin (2015). The World of Vikings. San Francisco: Chronicle Books. p. 8. Retrieved December 21, 2018.
- Whittock,, Martyn; Whittock, Hannah (2018). Vikings: From Odin to Christ. Oxford: Lion Hudson. Retrieved December 21, 2018.
- Vésteinn Ólason, "Old Icelandic Poetry", in A History of Icelandic Literature, ed. Daisy Neijmann, Histories of Scandinavian Literature 5, The American-Scandinavian Foundation, Lincoln, Nebraska: University of Nebraska, 2006, ISBN 9780803233461, pp. 1–63, p. 28.
- Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica. 26 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 198. .
- Lee M. Hollander, The Skalds: A Selection of Their Poems, With Introduction and Notes, The American-Scandinavian Foundation, 1945, repr. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University, 1947, OCLC 66725164, pp. 25–26.
- Vésteinn, p. 32.
- Hollander, p. 26.