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Bjarni gullbrárskáld Hallbjarnarson (BjHall)

11th century; volume 1; ed. Alison Finlay;

Kálfsflokkr (Kálffl) - 8

Bjarni gullbrárskáld Hallbjarnarson (BjHall) is mentioned only in the passages in the kings’ sagas in which stanzas from Kálfsflokkr, his sole surviving poem, are cited. He is generally identified, however, with the Icelander Bjarni Hallbjarnarson named in Þorgríms þáttr Hallasonar, which is preserved in Hulda-Hrokkinskinna (H-Hr; Fms 6, 32; ÍF 9, 298-303). He is there said to be the son of Hallbjǫrn skefill ‘Scraper’ of Laxárdalur in Skagafjörður, northern Iceland, and to have a brother called Þórðr, neither of whom is known elsewhere. The þáttr represents Bjarni, early in the reign of King Magnús Óláfsson (1035-47), presenting a poem to Kálfr Árnason, which includes praise of his deeds at the battle of Stiklastaðir (Stiklestad, 1030), and being killed immediately by Þorgrímr Hallason, a follower of King Óláfr; see further Biography of Kolgrímr litli ‘the Small’ (KolgrII), and Kolg ÓlII. This cannot be true according to the evidence of the stanzas printed below, however, since those representing Kálfr’s loss of the friendship of King Magnús and his campaigning in Orkney must have been composed as late as the mid 1040s. It seems most likely that the author of the þáttr knew of a poem by Bjarni in honour of Kálfr, but was not familiar with its content.

In the U redaction of Skáldatal ‘biarni gvllbraskalld’ is listed as a poet of Kálfr Árnason, and also included among the poets of Óláfr Tryggvason (r. c. 995-c. 1000), which must be a mistake: in the 761aˣ redaction this poet is simply named Bjarni skáld (SnE 1848-87, III, 253, 261, 269).

Bjarni’s nickname (recorded both with and without inflectional ‑(a)r-; see Lind 1920-1, 123) suggests that Bjarni was identified as the poet of someone, presumably a woman, nicknamed gullbrá ‘Gold-eyelash’. The same nickname gullbrá or gullbráskáld is also associated with the elusive Gizurr svarti (Gizsv; see his Biography in this volume).

my abbr.

Kálfsflokkr (‘Flokkr about Kálfr’) — BjHall KálfflI

Alison Finlay 2012, ‘(Introduction to) Bjarni gullbrárskáld Hallbjarnarson, Kálfsflokkr’ in Diana Whaley (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 1: From Mythical Times to c. 1035. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 1. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 877.

stanzas:  1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8 

Skj: Bjarni Hallbjarnarson gullbrárskáld: Kalfsflokkr, o. 1050 (AI, 393-6, BI, 363-5)

SkP info: I, 883

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

4 — BjHall Kálffl 4I

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


The following text is from a superseded edition and is not the work of the editor(s) named on this page. It is included for reference only. Do not refer to this site when using this text but rather consult the original edition (Skj where relevant).

Átt þú Engla drótni,
ógnrakkr, gjafar þakka,
jarls niðr; komtu yðru
ótála vel máli;
þér lét fold áðr fœrir
(frest urðut þess) vestan,
líf þitt esa lítit,
Lundúna gramr fundna.

texts: Flat 580, Fsk 161 [5-8], ÓH 143 (139), ÓHHkr 136 (II 136), Hkr 337 (II 136)

editions: Skj Bjarni Hallbjarnarson gullbrárskáld: Kalfsflokkr 4 (AI, 394-5; BI, 364); Skald I, 182Fms 5, 32, Fms 12, 97, ÓH 1941, I, 508 (ch. 179), Flat 1860-8, II, 318-19; Hkr 1893-1901, II, 427, IV, 161-2, ÍF 27, 334-5, Hkr 1991, II, 497 (ÓHHkr ch. 183); Fsk 1902-3, 180 (ch. 28), ÍF 29, 199 (ch. 34). 


Holm perg 2 4° (Holm2) 60v, 7 - 60v, 8 (ÓH)  transcr.  image  
Thott 972 folx (972x) 451va, 21 - 451va, 28 (ÓH)  image  image  
AM 321 4°x (321x) 228, 22 - 228, 25 (ÓH)  image  
AM 73 b fol (Bæb) 3ra, 6 - 3ra, 10 (ÓH)  image  image  
AM 73 a folx (73ax) 185r, 14 - 185r, 21 (ÓH)  image  
AM 68 fol (68) 59v, 36 - 59v, 38 (ÓH)  image  
AM 61 fol (61) 118vb, 15 - 118vb, 18 (ÓH)  image  image  
AM 325 V 4° (325V) 72rb, 33 - 72va, 5 (ÓH)  image  
AM 325 VII 4° (325VII) 34r, 5 - 34r, 7 (ÓH)  image  
Holm perg 1 fol (Bb) 191vb, 35 - 192ra, 4 (ÓH)  image  
GKS 1005 fol (Flat) 120rb, 5 - 120rb, 8 (ÓH)  image  image  image  
GKS 1008 fol (Tóm) 148v, 33 - 148v, 35 (ÓH)  image  
AM 36 folx (Kx) 441v, 22 - 441v, 29 (Hkr)  image  
AM 303 4°x (FskAx) 188, 12 - 188, 15 (Fsk)  image  
AM 301 4°x (301x) 69r, 22 - 69r, 3 (Fsk)  
Runic data from Samnordisk runtextdatabas, Uppsala universitet, unless otherwise stated