Manuscript Detail

AM 595 a-b 4to

There are currently no images available for this manuscript.

Rómverja saga; Iceland, 1325-1350

This special character is not currently recognized (U+ef93).

Kålund, Kristian Peter Erasmus 
19 August 1844 
04 July 1919 
Librarian, scholar 
More Details
Hjalti Jónsson 
More Details

This special character is not currently recognized (U+ef97).

Högni Þorleifsson 
More Details
Þorleifur Einarsson 
More Details
Laale, Peder 
More Details
Publus Ovidius Naso 
22 March 0043 
More Details
Marteinn Einarsson 
More Details
Guðbrandur Þorláksson 
20 July 1627 
Owner; Author; Translator 
More Details
Árni Magnússon 
13 November 1663 
07 January 1730 
Professor, Arkivsekretær (Secretary of the Royal Archives) 
Scholar; Author; Scribe; Poet 
More Details

This special character is not currently recognized (U+f20d).

Þorvaldur Stefánsson 
Owner; Poet 
More Details
Þorsteinn Jónsson 
More Details
Driscoll, Matthew James 
15 May 1954 
Scholar; Cataloguer; Owner 
More Details


Rómverja saga
Language of Text



Rómverja saga (Part 1)

orð Jugurthe sialfs til huerer þat hafa gort.


“ok hafði allt hið sa|ma yfirbragð sem aðr ok uar fremstr i orrosto aðr hann felli.”

Upphaf Rómverja

“af romulo ok remo bræðrum”


Sva segia romuerskar bękr fra vppreist ok efleng romaborgar


“var hann af þui | kallaðr heilagr af Romueria aulldungum ok vpp hafinn millem sialfra guðanna”


These foliae were originally left blank (apart from the first three lines of text on fol. 29v), and later, probably in the second half of the fourteenth century, they were filled with this self-contained section.


Konráð Gíslason, Fire og fyrretyve Prøver p. 381-385:7

Rómverja saga (Part 2)

“her hefr annan lut romueria s?gv ok segir fyrst huersu lengi | hvert riki stoð”


Romulus ok remus uoro tueir konungar a italia landi.


“Nu er sa fra fallinn er allt folk uirði meira en sialfan friðinn

Physical Description



No. of leaves
ii (modern paper) + 38 + ii (modern paper). Fols 29v-30r were originally blank. 240 mm x 183 mm.

The manuscript was formerly in two parts and paginated 1-46 and 1-30 in black ink, but was foliated (by Kristian Kålund) 1-38 in red ink after rebinding as a single volume.


There were originally eight gatherings of eight leaves each, but only gatherings I and II are now complete.

  • I: fols 1-8. The outermost and innermost pairs of gathering I are conjoint.
  • II: fols 9-16. The two outer pairs of gathering II are conjoint.
  • III: fols 17-23. The sixth leaf, following fol. 21, is missing; the third leaf is consequently a singleton, the others conjoint.
  • IV: fols 24-26. Leaves 1-3 and 7-8 are lost; leaves 4-6 (fols 24-26) are separate, but with continuous text.
  • V: fols 27-30. Leaves 1 and 6-8 are lost; leaves 2-5 (fols 27-30) are separate, but with continous text.
  • VI: fols 31-35. Leaves 1, 5 and 8 are lost; leaves 2+7 and 3+6 are conjoint, 4 is a singleton.
  • VII: fols 36-37. Only two leaves remain, leaves 2 and 4-8 are lost.
  • VIII: fol. 38. Only one leaf is preserved.


Fols 24-25, 28 and 30 are damaged at the edges with some loss of text. The lower margins of fols 11 and 13 have been cut off, but without loss of text. Fols 24-25, 27, 29, 30 and 37 show signs of use as binding wrappers.


The manuscript is written in one column throughout. In the bulk of the first part of the manuscript, viz. fols 1-22 and 23v, there are 31 lines per page. However, there are some exceptions:

  • Fol. 23r: 30 lines.
  • Fols 24r-29r: 33 lines.
  • Fol. 29v (originally left blank): 35 lines.
  • Fol. 30r (originally left blank): 32 lines.
The added text ends three lines before the bottom of fol. 30r. In the remainder of the manuscript, fols 30v-38v, there are also 32 lines per page.


Hand 1 writes fols 1r-29v:3 and 30v-38v. The hand is clearly that of a professional scribe; the script is very regular and the orthography for the most part consistent. The script varies somewhat in size, and is rather smaller in the latter part (fols 30v-38v), where there is also some variation in orthography. The same hand is found in the Jónsbók manuscript AM 127 4to (Hand 1), which appears to come from the northern part of the Iceland (Eyjafjörður), making it likely that this manuscript does as well.

Hand 2 writes fols 29v:4-30r. This hand looks rather younger than the main hand, though not necessarily by much. The script is firm and clear and somewhat smaller than that of the main scribe.


Chapter titles are in red, as are most of the chapter initials; exceptions are in brown on fols 29v, 36r and 38, and in green on fols 36r and 38r. Initial letters have often not been entered in the spaces left for them, although in some cases these have been filled in later in black ink.

The margins contain a large number of sketches and scribbles of various kinds, including some possibly by the scribe himself, or at least by a contemporary. A few of these are clearly related to the text, but most are not. There are also many sketches from a later date, mostly of a rather clumsy kind, depicting various human and animal figures. These are probably not older than the seventeenth century.

    Marginal decoration thought to be the work of the main scribe or a contemporary:
  • Fol. 2r, lower: Human figures (3 male).
  • Fol. 2v, lower: Human figures (2 male, 1 female).
  • Fol. 3r, lower: Human figures (3 male).
  • Fol. 4r, lower: Human figures (1 male, armed with a sword, 1 man's head).
  • Fol. 4v, lower: The head of a horse and profile of a man.
  • Fol. 8r, lower: Human figures (1 male, 1 female).
  • Fol. 17r, lower: A human figure, possibly female.
  • Fol. 19r, lower: Two human figures, ostensibly female, but with the captions “madur” and “madur minn”.
  • Fol. 36v, lower: Erictho beating the corpse with a serpent, with Sixtus Pompeius standing by.
  • Fol. 37r, lower: A man.
  • Fol. 38r, lower: Cornelia being led ashore from the ship.
    Sketches, mostly of a rather clumsy kind, made in later times, probably not before the seventeenth century:
  • Fol. 5r, lower: A castle.
  • Fol. 6v, upper: The front part of a horse.
  • Fol. 7v, lower: The head and shoulders of a bearded man wearing a fur hat, with the caption “madur”.
  • Fol. 9r, lower: A saddled horse; a design, possibly representing a saddle.
  • Fol. 10r, lower: Two designs, possibly representing saddles.
  • Fol. 10v, lower: A saddled horse.
  • Fol. 14r, lower: An animal, probably a wolf, plus the words “homo adest” (!).
  • Fol. 15r, lower: Two figures, apparently representing a man and a woman.
  • Fol. 16r, lower: A bearded man with a broad-brimmed hat, and a lion.
  • Fol. 16v, lower: An animal, not obviously a horse, but with the caption “Equus”.
  • Fol. 18v, lower: A human figure (male), with the caption “madur”; the face and caption are repeated.
  • Fol. 21r, lower: A human figure.
  • Fol. 22v, left: An animal figure.
  • Fol. 23r, lower: The head of an animal, possibly a dragon.
  • Fol. 33v, lower left: A woman.


There are a great many marginal entries, mostly dating from the seventeenth century. These are of various kinds:

    Names of identifiable persons:
  • Fol. 1r: “Hialte Jonsson”; i.e. Hjalti Jónsson, lögréttumaður, Meðalnes í Fellum, N-Múl. (s. XVII).
  • Fol. 3v: “Hiallte Jonsson | med Eigenn hende”.
  • Fol. 5v: “Biarne Þorleifs | son eiginn h?nd”.
  • Fol. 8v: “Hogni | Þorleifs | son E.h.” (i.e. Högni Þorleifsson, lögrétturmaður, Stórabakki í Hróarstungu, N-Múl.).
  • Fol. 10v: “Stephan Jons|son”.
  • Fol. 15r: “fromvm og heidarlegvm | minvm elskulegum fodvr | Þorleifi Einar syni” (i.e. Þorleifur Einarsson, lögréttumaður, Múlaþing, he died after 1627).
  • Fol. 22r: “Magnus”.
  • Fol. 26r: “magnus peturson”.
  • Fol. 29v: “Høgni”.
  • Fol. 34v: “Þora Magnus Peturss | mppria. | Þorgrymur | Pietursson | Magnus”.
  • Fol. 35r: “Magnus Petursson”.
    Other names, which cannot be identified with any certainty:
  • Fol. 19r: “hakon”.
  • Fol. 21r: “Snæbiorn hefur goda”.
  • Fol. 26v: “Jens” (seven times).
  • Fol. 34v: “Amundj ødru nafne Jugurttha”, to which is added in another hand “hann var Saudaþiofur”.
    Names and other words taken from the text:
  • Fol. 2r: “albinus”.
  • Fol. 2v: “Albinus Spurius”.
  • Fol. 5v: “Metellus var med sina sueit” (cf. the beginning of the chapter on the same page).
  • Fol. 10r: “Gaida”.
  • Fol. 10v: “Turpilius”.
  • Fol. 11r: “napdalsa”.
  • Fol. 13r: “fra lande n”.
  • Fol. 24r: “h?fdingiar” (a damaged word in the text at the foot of the page).
  • Fol. 36v: “Iugurta”.
    Preambles to letters:
  • Fol. 1r: “Øllum þeim fromum monnum sem þetta Brief sea edur heyra | sendum vier epterskriffader menn Titill Titilson”.
  • Fol. 7v: “kiærleg H”.
  • Fol. 8v: “Kiærlig Heillan J Lifannda Gudi Til senndist ydur nu | og alla tima minn fromi og trwlynndi Trygda vin næst minnj Kiærri Kvediu”.
  • Fol. 10v: “Kiær leg H Heilsan”.
  • Fol. 21r: “Fromum”.
    Miscellaneous sentences, proverbs and invocations:
  • Fol. 1v: “Smidurinn hefur þuj teijngur ad hann vill ecki | brenna sijnar fijngur”. This is written in the same hand as the verses on fol. 32v and the remark about Ámundi on fol. 34v. (The proverb is found in Peder Låle's Parabolae (“Smedhen haffwer forthi tænggher at han wil eij brændhe sijne hændher”); see Östnordiska och latinska medeltidsordspråk vol. I p. 71. Icelandic proverb-collections have it in slightly different forms; see Safn af íslenzkum orðskviðum p. 319.)
  • Fol. 2v: “Gud minn | fader | kome | Thil | mijn | GH”.
  • Fol. 4v: “kalla ek uist að hann klori | skrafa uill a skinnum láfi”.
  • Fol. 10v: “nu Er Ecke g”.
  • Fol. 13r: “ave maria gracia plena dominus tecum bene |dicta tu in mvlieribus” (In the same hand as the verse on fol. 13v).
  • Fol. 14r: “homo adest”.
  • Fol. 18r, bottom: “aue unn minna er mer um suerre”.
  • Fol. 18v, bottom: “aue”, to which is added below “maria | de dʀon”.
  • Fol. 19v: “frödlejkur er fiemunum betre”. (The proverb is not in printed Icelandic collections, but corresponding sayings are known in a variety of languages, see e.g. Singer, Sprichwörter vol. II p. 83-84)
  • Fol. 20v: “dROTTINN”.
  • Fol. 21v: “sti gin 57 atta c 40 | sex sti Lier tolf og 27 sextan Ic attatijger | 3 linu sti 28+ seytian | Amu Ongl 21 Jarn f 15 | ij Lasar sap pottr 5 | þrir og tijutijger”. (These jottings are extremely hard to make sense of and the readings often uncertain. “sti” may stand for stykki, i.e. pieces.)
  • Fol. 23v: “heil maria full med nad herran”.
  • Fol. 25r: “laatit uti er uatta eru atta daler”.
  • Fol. 30r: “aue maria. | heil maria full med nad herran” (In the same hand as on fol. 23v).
  • Fol. 33v: “heil maria full med nad herrann er med þier”.
  • Fol. 35r: “dæma | þeir | mier | virdest | þo sem | ”.
    Verses and verse-fragments:
  • Fol. 6v: “Skiott fyrer | skrif liott | skil eg mier | þad Til | ad rietti þier | räd mitt”.
  • Fol. 7v: “Omnia sunt hominum Tenui | pendentia filo”. (The same line, from Ovid, Ex Ponto IV 3, 35, is found on fol. 8v.)
  • Fol. 13v: “let inn baull i læra havll”. (The rest of the verse is blotted out, presumably because of its obscenity; only odd words can be read. It is in the same hand as the Ave Maria on fol. 13r.)
  • Fol. 13v: “O gud vier þockum gjæsku þïn”. (Cf. hymn 22 in Bishop Marteinn Einarsson's hymnal: “Guð faðir, vér þökkum gæzku þín”, Upptök sálma og sálmalaga p. 56.)
  • Fol. 15v: “Si christum bene scis | sat est si cætera | nescis | Si Christum non scis nil est si cætera | discis”. (This is followed by “G” and “H” with a kind of ligatured rune between them; cf. “GH” on fol. 2v. See Proverbia sententiaequae latinitatis medii aevi vol. 2:2 p. nr. 10997 vol. 2:4 p. nr. 28231 and 28318.)
  • Fol. 24v: “Gud minn fader Eg þacka þier”. (Two hymns in Bishop Guðbrandur Þorláksson's hymnal [Hólar 1589] begin with this line, fols cciiij and ccviij.)
  • Fol. 27v: “Allar ungar stulkur / mann lijka suo ad þær sier hafe | þær vilia giarnann þeir gamne sier ”. (There is an illegible title above this verse, and the end of the text is mostly worn away. The melody has been scored above.)
  • Fol. 30v: “atta mæltta | Tungan Ein / wid Tannarein / Telst ei nein / ur mata sein | Ordagrein / ef eykur mein / Ecki er hrein | Aff hljoda tein”.
  • Fol. 31r: “ieg heyrde hlatur og org|umm heila borg”.
  • Fol. 32v: “Optt eru fløgd j fagri mynd fyrda true eg þad bleckj | eckj er a konunum øllum hind þo ætli þær þad eckj”, to which is added in another hand: “þad er hverju Ordi sannara”.
  • Fol. 32v: “Luckann Manna | J lagi er eins | og þä leikur | näl ä þrædj | Mun þad valld| id mans eda | sueins þo mang| i a þui grædj”. (The two verses on fol. 32v seem to be in the same hand as is found on fol. 1v and in the note about Ámundur on fol. 34v.)
  • Fol. 33v: “Madurenn liet sem irnar bleckte | einatt Neffndi äng Noffninn þeckte”.
  • Fol. 34v: “vier skrad r um Til reidu | stryda | haulldum hlifdar skilldj | hraustir J Godu Trausti | bænir af hiarta hreinu | heyte þad besta skeyti | Gudz ord godu suerdj | ger eg hulltur sie bera”.
  • Fol. 38v: “þvi sef eg lavngum dægra konnurnar kuitta | eg sie ramur eckki er mier ath hægra”. (This verse was printed in Íslenzk Fornkvæði vol. IV p. 5.)


Formerly unbound, the two fragments were bound into a single volume in February 1888, but there is nothing remaining of this binding. The manuscript was restored and rebound in the standard AMI binding of the time, canvas with leather spine and corners, in February 1967. The binding dimensions are: 265 mm x 215 mm x 43 mm.

Accompanying Material

Two slips with comments by Árni Magnússon have been bound into the manuscript between the fly-leaf and first leaf of the manuscript. The first reads: “þetta fragment hefi eg | feinged ur ?ðrum stad. | Mier virðest það ur s?|mu bokinne.” The second reads: “fra Sira Þorvallde Stefans-|syne, og er þetta er Rom-|veria s?gunni sem eg var so | leinge ad spyria epter.” Following this, Árni has transcribed the rubric of the second part, fol. 30v: “her hefr annan lut romueria s?gv | ok seger fyrst hversu lengi hvert | riki stoð”.



The manuscript was written in Iceland. Kristian Kålund (Katalog vol. I p. 763) has dated the manuscript to the first half of the fourteenth century, and fols 29v-30v to second half of the fourteenth century. Jakob Benediktsson (Catilina and Jugurtha by Sallust and Pharsalia by Lucan in Old Norse p. 15) agrees with the dating of fols 29v-30v, but has suggested that the bulk of the manuscript should be dated to 1325-50.


From several of the names written in the margin it is clear that the manuscript was in Fljótsdalshérað in the seventeenth century.


The manuscript was acquired by Árni Magnússon from Þorvaldur Stefánsson some time after 1700; cf. the statement in his catalogue of manuscripts in AM 435 a 4to, fol. 143v: “Romveria Saga, 4to, ubivis | mutila. | Komin til min fra Sira Þorvallde | Stefans syne. Er | Salustii Bellum Jugurtinum | Ejusdem Bellum Catilinarium. | Lucani Bellum civile Cæsaris | et Pompeji”. This agrees with the information on the second of the two slips bound with the manuscript. On the first of the two slips Árni indicates that part of the manuscript was acquired separately; this doubtless refers to fol. 24, on the recto side of which an early eighteenth-century hand has written “Þetta blad fundid | á slödum Sira Þorsteinz | Slg. Jönssonar ad Gilsárteigi”. Þorsteinn Jónsson had preceded Þorvaldur Stefánsson as parson of Eiðar and had also lived at Gilsárteigur.


Record History

Catalogued 29 February 2000 by MJD, on the basis of Early Icelandic Manuscripts in Facsimile vol. XIII.


Accessible for use.

Custodial History

Minor repairs, chiefly the removal of earlier repairs, carried out in December 1962.

Restored and rebound in February 1967. The individual quires were mounted on guards and the single fragmentary leaf 24 placed in a plastic envelope.


70 mm 21 October 1962 before restoration Facsimile Early Icelandic Manuscripts in Facsimile vol. XIII


Fire og Fyrretyve for en stor Deel forhen utrykte Prøver af oldnordisk Sprog og Litteratured. Konráð Gíslasonp. 108-380
Rómveriasaga: Untersuchungen und Texte aus der deutschen und englischen Philologie, Palaestraed. Rudolf Meissner1910; LXXXVIII
Peder LåleÖstnordiska och Latinska medeltidsordspråk: Peder Låles ordspråk och en motsvarande svensk samling, STUAGNLed. Axel Kock, ed. Carl af Petersens1889-1894; XX
Guðmundur JónssonSafn af Íslenzkum orðskviðump. 319
Samuel SingerLexikon der Sprichwörter des romanisch-germanischen Mittelalters1946; II
Páll Eggert ÓlasonUpptök sálma og sálmalaga í lútherskum sið á Íslandip. 56
Hans WaltherProverbia sententiaequae latinitatis medii aevi: Lateinische Sprichwörter und Sentenzen des Mittelalters in alphabetischer Anordnung, Carmina medii aevi posterioris latina1969; II
Íslenzk Fornkvæði: Islandske Folkeviser Bd I-VIII, ed. Jón Helgason1962-1981; X-XVII
Katalog over Den Arnamagnæanske Håndskriftsamlinged. Kristian KålundI: p. 763
Catilina and Jugurtha by Sallust and Pharsalia by Lucan in Old Norse: Rómverjasaga: AM 595 a-b, 4to, Early Icelandic Manuscripts in Facsimileed. Jakob Benediktsson1980; XIII
« »