Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Þorkell hamarskáld (Þham)

12th century; volume 2; ed. Kari Ellen Gade;

2. Lausavísa (Lv) - 1

Skj info: Þórkell hamarskáld, Islandsk skjald, omkr. 1100. (AI, 438-9, BI, 407-9).

Skj poems:
1. Magnúsdrápa
2. Lausavísur

Þorkell hamarskáld (Þham) is unknown. His nickname implies that he came from a farm called Hamarr (meaning ‘Crag’; Finnur Jónsson 1907, 246) or that he might have composed about a person with the nickname hamarr ‘Hammer’ (Lind 1920-1, 134). Þorkell must have stayed in Norway prior to 1066, because he composed a poem about Eysteinn orri ‘Black Grouse’ Þorbergsson (d. 1066) whom he seems to have known personally (Skáldatal, SnE 1848-87, III, 269, 286; Mork 1928-32, 279-80). Skáldatal also lists him among the poets of Óláfr kyrri ‘the Quiet’ Haraldsson and his son, Magnús berfœttr ‘Barelegs’ (SnE 1848-87, III, 254, 262, 275-6). We do not know whether Þorkell came from Norway or Iceland, but in a helmingr attributed to him in SnE (Skm), he speaks of a gift that a ruler had sent to him of svalan ægi ‘across the cool sea’ (Þham Frag 1/3III), which suggests that he was an Icelander. See also SnE 1848-87, III, 616-18; LH 1894-1901, II, 54-5. In addition to his drápa about Magnús berfœttr and the helmingr in SnE (edited in SkP III), one lv. by Þorkell survives (see Þham Lv below).

Lausavísa — Þham LvII

Kari Ellen Gade 2009, ‘(Introduction to) Þorkell hamarskáld, Lausavísa’ in Kari Ellen Gade (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 2: From c. 1035 to c. 1300. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 2. Brepols, Turnhout, pp. 414-15.


Skj: Þórkell hamarskáld: 2. Lausavísur (AI, 439, BI, 409); stanzas (if different): 1 | 2

in texts: Fsk, H-Hr, Hkr, Mberf, Mork

SkP info: II, 414-15

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance references search files


The lv. (Þham Lv) is preserved in Mork (Mork), Fsk Bˣ, FskAˣ (Fsk), Hkr (, 39, F, E, J2ˣ, 42ˣ) and H, Hr (H-Hr). Ms. F is treated as a Hkr ms. here (the variants do not allow for a definite attribution to either Hkr or Mork), and Mork has been chosen as the main ms. The name of the poet is given in Mork and H-Hr (the st. is anonymous in Fsk and Hkr). In AM 761 b 4°ˣ (761bˣ at 467r), Árni Magnússon assigns the st. to Þham Magndr, but that attribution is unlikely because the st. differs stylistically from the sts in Magndr (e.g. the apostrophe to an unknown woman, the report of direct speech). On the other hand, the verb frák ‘I heard’ indicates that the st. cannot have been composed at the time the events it describes took place. It shares features with Anon (Mberf) 2, which details the events leading up to the hanging of Egill, documented in the present st.
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