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Runic Dictionary

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Einarr þambarskelfir Eindriðason (Eþsk)

volume 1; ed. Kari Ellen Gade;

Couplet (Couplet) - 1

Einarr þambarskelfir ‘Paunch-shaker’ (?) Eindriðason (Eþsk; c. 987-1051/52) was one of the most powerful Norwegian district chieftains of his time. At the age of thirteen, he participated in the naval battle of Svǫlðr (c. 1000), fighting alongside King Óláfr Tryggvason on Óláfr’s ship, the famous Ormr inn langi (‘the Long Serpent’). Subsequently, he served as the adviser and regent to Óláfr Haraldsson’s young son, Magnús inn góði ‘the Good’ (r. 1035-47). After Magnús’s death, Einarr became a district chieftain of King Haraldr harðráði ‘Hard-rule’ Sigurðarson, but their relationship turned sour (see Hharð Lv 6-7II). Eventually Einarr and his son Eindriði were ambushed and killed by King Haraldr and his men in Trondheim, c. 1051/52. The meaning of Einarr’s nickname þambarskelfir is possibly ‘Paunch-shaker’, but has been much debated: see Gade (1995b), Gade (1995c), Sayers (1995) and Liberman (1996). Other than the couplet below, no poetry is attributed to Einarr.

Kock, Skald. I 79

Couplet — Eþsk CoupletI

Kari Ellen Gade 2012, ‘(Introduction to) Einarr þambarskelfir Eindriðason, Couplet’ 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. 452.

stanzas:  1 

in texts: Hkr, ÓT

SkP info: I, 452

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance references search files


This couplet in fornyrðislag metre (Eþsk Couplet) is not included in Skj, probably because Finnur Jónsson was unaware of the fact that it is metrical, but it is edited in Skald. It is transmitted in ÓTHkr and in ÓT, in the mss listed below; is the main ms.

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