This article has multiple issues. Please help talk page. (Learn how and when to remove these template messages)( or discuss these issues on the Learn how and when to remove this template message)
Skald, or skáld (Old Norse: ['skald], later ['sk?:ld]; Icelandic: ['skault], meaning "poet"), is generally a term used for poets who composed at the courts of Scandinavian leaders during the Viking Age and into the Middle Ages. Skaldic poetry forms one of two main groupings of Old Norse poetry, the other being the anonymous Eddic poetry.
The most prevalent metre of skaldic poetry is dróttkvætt. The subject is usually historical and encomiastic, detailing the deeds of the skald's patron. There is no evidence that the skalds employed musical instruments, but some speculate that they may have accompanied their verses with the harp or lyre.
The word skald is perhaps ultimately related to Proto-Germanic: *skalliz, lit. 'sound, voice, shout' (Old High German: skal, lit. 'sound'). Old High German has skalsang, 'song of praise, psalm', and skellan, 'ring, clang, resound'. The Old High German variant stem skeltan etymologically identical to the skald- stem (Proto-Germanic: *skeldan) means "to scold, blame, accuse, insult". The person doing the insulting is a skelto or skelt?ri. The West Germanic counterpart of the skald is the scop. Like the scop, which is related to Modern English scoff, the name skald is continued in English scold, reflecting the central position of mocking taunts in Germanic poetry. 
However, many skalds came after him, like Egill Skallagrímsson and Torbjørn Hornklove (Þorbjörn Hornklofi), who gained much fame in the 10th century for the poems composed for the kings they served of their own exploits. At the time, the Icelanders and Nordic people were still pagan, and their work reflected that by many references to gods like Thor and Odin and to seers and runes. The poetry from then also can be noted for its portrayal of a "heroic age" for the Vikings and "praise poetry, designed to commemorate kings and other prominent people, often in the form of quite long poems."
As time went on, skalds became the main source of Icelandic and Norse history and culture, as it was the skalds who learned and shared the largely oral history. That led to a shift in the role of the skald, allowing them to gain more prominent positions. Every king and chieftain needed a skald to record their feats and ensure their legacy lived on, as well as becoming the main historians of their society. The written artefacts of that time come from skalds, as they were the first from the time and place to record on paper. Some skalds became clerical workers, recording laws and happenings of the government, some even being elected to the Thing and Althing, while others worked with churches to record the lives and miracles of Saints, along with passing on the ideals of Christianity. The last point is very important, as skalds were the main agents of culture when they began glorifying and passing on Christianity over the old pagan beliefs, the Viking culture shifted towards Christianity, as well.
As time passed, the skald profession was threatened with extinction until Snorri Sturluson compiled the Prose Edda, as a manual to preserve an appreciative understanding of their art. Snorri, born in Iceland during the 12th century, played a very important part in the history of Skaldic poetry. In addition to being a great poet, he was leader of the Althing for part of his life, leading the government of Iceland. His Prose Edda preserved and passed on the traditions and methods of the Skalds, adding a much needed stimulus to the profession, and providing much of the information now known about skalds and how they worked. For example, the Prose Edda broke down and explained kennings used in skaldic poetry, allowing many of them to be understood today. Beyond writing the Prose Edda, Snorri wrote other important works, from retelling old Norse legends to tales of the exploits of kings, which gave him much fame and made his reputation live on beyond his death.
Eddic verse was usually simple, in terms of content, style and metre, dealing largely with mythological or heroic content. Skaldic verse, conversely, was complex, and usually composed as a tribute or homage to a particular jarl or king. There is debate over the performance of skaldic poetry, but there is a general scholarly consensus that it was spoken rather than sung.
Unlike many other literary forms of the time, much skaldic poetry is attributable to an author (called a skald), and those attributions may be relied on with a reasonable degree of confidence. Many skalds were men of influence and power and so were biographically noted. The metre is ornate, usually dróttkvætt or a variation thereof. The syntax is complex, with sentences commonly interwoven, with kennings and heiti being used frequently and gratuitously.
Skaldic poetry was written in variants and dialects of Old Norse. Technically, the verse was usually a form of alliterative verse and almost always used the dróttkvætt stanza (also known as the Court or Lordly Metre). Dróttkvætt is effectively an eight-line form, and each pair of lines is an original single long line which is conventionally written as two lines.
These are forms of skaldic poetry:
The verses of the skalds contain a great profusion of kennings, the fixed metaphors found in most Northern European poetry of the time. Kennings are devices ready to supply a standard image to form an alliterating half-line to fit the requirements of dróttkvætt, but the substantially greater technical demands of skaldic verse required the devices to be multiplied and compounded to meet its demands for skill and wordplay. The images can therefore become somewhat hermetic, at least to those who fail to grasp the allusions that are at the root of many of them.
Most skaldic poetry are poems composed to individual kings by their court poets. They typically have historical content, relating battles and other deeds from the king's career.
A few surviving skaldic poems have mythological content.
To that could be added two poems relating the death of a king and his reception in Valhalla.
Some other were composed as circumstance pieces, such as those by Egill Skallagrímsson
More than 300 skalds are known from the period between 800 and 1200 AD. Many are listed in the Skáldatal, not all of whom are known from extant material. Notable names include: