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Runic Dictionary

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Guthormr sindri (Gsind)

10th century; volume 1; ed. Russell Poole;

Hákonardrápa (Hákdr) - 8

Skáldatal (SnE 1848-87, III, 273) lists Guthormr (Gsind) among the skalds serving the following kings: Haraldr hárfagri ‘Fair-hair’; Hálfdan svarti ‘the Black’ Haraldsson (no other skalds listed; omitted in the U text of Skáldatal); and Hákon góði ‘the Good’. Of the poems he may have composed for these rulers, only eight stanzas are extant, all apparently from Hákonardrápa (Hákdr).

Little is otherwise known about Guthormr’s identity, life and career. His place of origin is unknown, but Icelandic birth is hardly likely at this early date, and the name was always much commoner in Norway than in Iceland (Lind 1905-15, 397); equally unknown are his patronymic or matronymic. On the basis of internal evidence in Hákdr, he must have survived the battle at Rastarkálfr on the island of Fræði (Frei) c. 955; he is not mentioned after the death of King Hákon (c. 961), by which time, if he indeed composed for Haraldr hárfagri, he would have been an old man. The sole anecdote about Guthormr, transmitted in Hkr (HHárf, ÍF 26, 141-2) and ÓT (1958-2000, I, 12-13), tells that he was a good skald and a member of the following of Hálfdan svarti. He had earlier been in the entourage of Hálfdan’s father Haraldr hárfagri, was a friend of both men, and had composed a poem about each of them, for which he declined any reward, asking instead that the two men grant a special request from him on some future occasion. When Haraldr and Hálfdan subsequently fell out, his request was that they reconcile with one another, which they did. Credence is lent to this story by the Sendibítr of Jórunn skáldmær (Jór Send), which makes allusion to Guthormr and his stratagem with evident approval, though the details remain obscure (Kreutzer 1972; Jesch 1987, 6-10).

The spelling of the skald’s given name varies (Lind 1905-15, 397) and it is often abbreviated in references to him. The variation may reflect dual origins, in compounds of goð ‘god’ with either þormr ‘protector’ or ormr ‘snake’; alternatively the ‑ormr variant may derive from ‑þormr (AEW: Guðþormr). The name is mentioned in Jór Send 5/3 (see below) but the internal rhyming there provides no means of determining whether the first syllable terminated in ‑t or ‑ð. The standard spelling for the name when used in reference to this individual in the kings’ sagas was apparently Guthormr (Finnur Jónsson, LH I, 442), and that has been adopted in this edition. His nickname is vouched for in Jór Send 4/8. It may mean ‘Spark’ but its exact significance remains unclear. The name Sindri appears in SnE ms. R (added in a later hand) in reference to a dwarf craftsman (SnE 1998, I, 141) and is etymologically related to sindr n. ‘slag, dross’ (CVC: sindr; cf. LH I, 442 n. 4) and sindra ‘to sparkle’ (Lind 1920-1, 308). The nickname may therefore relate to smithing and crafts, perhaps meaning ‘metal-worker’, though the sense ‘shining’ is also possible, given that a mythical hall made of gold is said to be either owned by Sindri’s kin (Vsp 37/3-4) or named Sindri (SnE 2005, 53).

Hákonardrápa (‘Drápa about Hákon’) — Gsind HákdrI

Russell Poole 2012, ‘ Guthormr sindri, Hákonardrápa’ 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. 156. <> (accessed 4 August 2021)

stanzas:  1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8 

Skj: Goþþormr sindri: Hákonardrápa (AI, 61-3, BI, 55-6)

SkP info: I, 163

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

5 — Gsind Hákdr 5I

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Note: The following transcriptions have been entered to aid the editing process. These may not have been fully reviewed and checked and may therefore not be reliable. You may wish to consult the manuscript images. Any corrections can be notified to the database editor.

 Kx Oc socn hattar[14] setti | svellrioðr[15] at þvi flioði | onars ⸌Einars⸍ eiki grono (grǫno) | ꜹstr geð bø̨ti[16] hrꜹstan | þaɴ er aðr fra irom | iðvandr vm ⸌of⸍ com sceiðom (sudom) | salbrygðandi svegðis | svanvangs liþi þangat . |   [VEÞ]  edit 
 F Ok sokn hvattr setti svell rioðr at þvi flioði · onars eiki gróno | ꜹstr geðbø̨ti hrꜹ́stan · þaɴ er aðr fra írom iðvandr of kom | skiðom sal brigðandi sveígðís svanvangs liþi þangat · |   [VEÞ]  edit 
 J1x Oc sokn hattar setti suel r | ioðr at þi flioðe einars eiki grónu austr geþbóþi | hrꜹstan þann er aðr fra iromiðvanðr of kom skeidom | salbrigþande sveigdes svanfangs liðe þangat |   [VEÞ]  edit 
 61 Ok sokn hattar setti suell rioðr at þui flioði . einars eki seima || austr geð bœti hraustum . þann er aðr fra írum . iðuandr of kom | skiðum . salbrigðandi sueigðis suan fangs liði þangat . |   [VEÞ]  edit 
 Bb Ok soknn hittir settí suelrio | dr ath þvi fliodí einars eikí græno austr sid bæ | tí hraustan . þann er adr fra Jrum id vandar ok kom skidum | salbrigdandí sueigdís suanfangs lidí þangat |   [VEÞ]  edit 
 Flat Ok soknn hattar sette suol ríodr af þvi fliode onars | ekki grœnum austrs gedbœtis hraustan · þann er adr fra írum iduandr er kom | skidum salbrigdande sueigdízst suanfangs líde þangat   [VEÞ]  edit 

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