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Runic Dictionary

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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, ‘ 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. <> (accessed 25 June 2022)

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, 887

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

7 — BjHall Kálffl 7I

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Alison Finlay (ed.) 2012, ‘Bjarni gullbrárskáld Hallbjarnarson, Kálfsflokkr 7’ 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. 887.

Þér frák, Þorbergs hlýri,
— þess gerðusk ér verðir —
— helt, unz hann of spillti —
Haralds bróðurson góðan.
Vǫkðu ǫfundmenn ykkar
iðula róg á miðli
(óþǫrf lízk mér) arfa
Ôleifs (í þeim môlum).

Frák {bróðurson Haralds} góðan þér, {hlýri Þorbergs}; ér gerðusk þess verðir; helt, unz hann of spillti. Ǫfundmenn vǫkðu iðula róg á miðli ykkar {arfa Ôleifs}; lízk mér óþǫrf í þeim môlum.

I have heard that {the son of Haraldr’s brother} [= Magnús] was good to you, {brother of Þorbergr} [= Kálfr]; you made yourself worthy of that; that lasted until he damaged [it]. Envious men constantly stirred up strife between you and {Óláfr’s heir} [= Magnús]; that seems to me an unnecessary thing in those matters.

texts: MGóð 24 (III 24), ÓH 203 (198), Hkr 403 (III 24)

editions: Skj Bjarni Hallbjarnarson gullbrárskáld: Kalfsflokkr 7 (AI, 395-6; BI, 364-5);

Skald I, 182, NN §2039Fms 5, 127Fms 12, 107ÓH 1941, I, 624 (ch. 259); Hkr 1893-1901, III, 28, IV, 187-8, ÍF 28, 25, Hkr 1991, II, 572 (MGóð ch. 14), F 1871, 176, E 1916, 16



Holm perg 2 4° (Holm2) 74r, 15 - 74r, 17 (ÓH)  transcr.  image  
Thott 972 folx (972x) 583va, 34 - 583va, 41 (ÓH)  image  image  
AM 321 4°x (321x) 281, 22 - 281, 25 (ÓH)  image  
AM 73 a folx (73ax) 215v, 25 - 215v, 32 (ÓH)  image  
Holm perg 4 4° (Holm4) 69vb, 10 - 69vb, 14 (ÓH)  image  
AM 61 fol (61) 130rb, 14 - 130rb, 17 (ÓH)  image  image  
AM 325 V 4° (325V) 89rb, 18 - 89rb, 23 (ÓH)  image  
AM 325 VI 4° (325VI) 42ra, 14 - 42ra, 17 (ÓH)  image  
AM 325 VII 4° (325VII) 41v, 11 - 41v, 12 (ÓH)  image  image  
Holm perg 1 fol (Bb) 206r, 14 - 206r, 19 (ÓH)  image  
GKS 1008 fol (Tóm) 161r, 23 - 161r, 25 (ÓH)  image  
AM 63 folx (Kx) 503r, 23 - 503v, 2 (Hkr)  image  
AM 39 fol (39) 14rb, 27 - 14rb, 30 (Hkr)  image  
AM 45 fol (F) 38vb, 8 - 38vb, 10 (Hkr)  image  image  image  image  
AM 38 folx (J2x) 244v, 20 - 244v, 27 (Hkr)  image  
AM 47 fol (E) 5r, 34 - 5v, 1 (Hkr)  image  
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