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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Þórðr Kolbeinsson (ÞKolb)

11th century; volume 1; ed. Jayne Carroll;

Eiríksdrápa (Eirdr) - 17

Skj info: Þórðr Kolbeinsson, Islandsk skjald, 11. årh. (AI, 212-19, BI, 202-9).

Skj poems:
1. Belgskakadrápa
2. Gunnlaugsdrápa ormstungu
3. Eiríksdrápa
4. Lausavísur

Þórðr Kolbeinsson (ÞKolb) was born c. 974 in Iceland (ÍF 3, lxxxviii). The Hauksbók version of Ldn names his father as Kolbeinn klakkhǫfði ‘Lump-head’ (?) Atlason, from Atley (Atløy) in Norway, while the Sturlubók version names him as Kolbeinn Þórðarson (ÍF 1, 99, 144, lxiv-vi). Þórðr’s mother is said in Bjarnar saga Hítdœlakappa (BjH, ÍF 3, 168) to be called Arnóra; in Ldn (ÍF 1, 142) she is also identified as the daughter of Gunnbjǫrn. Þórðr’s home was at Hítarnes in western Iceland; the poet Arnórr jarlaskáld (ArnII), one of Þórðr’s five sons, was born there. Two other sons, Kolbeinn and Kolli, are named in BjH, and three unnamed daughters are also mentioned (ÍF 3, 125, 171-2, 174, 179, 208). Nothing is known about Þórðr’s death.

Þórðr is famous as the villain of BjH, in which he marries Oddný eykyndill ‘Island-candle’ Þorkelsdóttir, having deceived her into believing that Bjǫrn Arngeirsson (BjhítV), to whom she is betrothed, is dead. This intensifies a life-long feud between Þórðr and Bjǫrn which ends with Bjǫrn’s death at Þórðr’s hands.

Skáldatal (SnE 1848-87, III, 253, 257, 258, 261, 262, 266, 274, 280, 283) names Þórðr as poet to four rulers: Eiríkr jarl Hákonarson of Hlaðir (Lade; d. c. 1023); the Norwegian kings Óláfr Haraldsson (d. 1030) and, in the U redaction, Magnús góði ‘the Good’ Óláfsson (d. 1047); and, in the 761aˣ redaction, the Danish king Sveinn Úlfsson (d. 1076). Of these, only Eiríkr is named in source texts as the recipient of surviving stanzas, although BjH (ÍF 3, 126-7) has Þórðr compose and recite a drápa for Óláfr. It is doubtful on chronological grounds that Þórðr composed for Sveinn Úlfsson, and it has been suggested (Fidjestøl 1982, 117) that confusion with Sveinn tjúguskegg ‘Fork-beard’ (d. 1014) might lie behind the erroneous listing. Seventeen stanzas about Eiríkr jarl survive, and in this edition all are attributed to Eiríksdrápa (ÞKolb Eirdr) with varying degrees of confidence. BjH places Þórðr in Eiríkr’s retinue in Norway, c. 1007, delivering a poem entitled Belgskakadrápa ‘Bag-shaking drápa’ (ÍF 3, 115-9), but this may be the same poem as Eirdr, whose content suggests that Þórðr paid court to Eiríkr in England after the conquest of Knútr inn ríki (Cnut the Great) in 1016 and before Eiríkr’s death c. 1023 (see Introduction to Eirdr). In addition to Eirdr, twelve lausavísur (ÞKolb Lv 1-12V) are preserved in BjH, mostly directed against the saga’s hero, Bjǫrn, and a single stanza said to be by Þórðr (ÞKolb GunndrV) survives in praise of the poet Gunnlaugr ormstungu ‘Serpent-tongue’ Illugason (GunnlIV, d. c. 1008; ÍF 3, 101-2). These are edited in SkP V.

Eiríksdrápa — ÞKolb EirdrI

Jayne Carroll 2012, ‘(Introduction to) Þórðr Kolbeinsson, Eiríksdrápa’ 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. 487.

 1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11   12   13   14   15   16   17 

Skj: Þórðr Kolbeinsson: 3. Eiríksdrápa, 1014 (AI, 213-217, BI, 203-206); stanzas (if different): 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14

SkP info: I, 499

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

7 — ÞKolb Eirdr 7I

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Jayne Carroll (ed.) 2012, ‘Þórðr Kolbeinsson, Eiríksdrápa 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. 499.

Hafði sér við særi
— slíks vas vôn at hônum —
auðs, an upp of kvæði,
Eirekr í hug meira.
Sótti reiðr at rôðum
— rann engi því manna —
— þrályndi gafsk Þrœndum —
þrœnzkr jarl konung sœnskan.

Eirekr hafði sér meira í hug við {særi auðs} an of kvæði upp; slíks vas vôn at hônum. Reiðr þrœnzkr jarl sótti sœnskan konung at rôðum; engi manna rann því; þrályndi gafsk Þrœndum.

Eiríkr had more in mind for {the wounder of wealth} [GENEROUS MAN = Óláfr Tryggvason] than he declared; such was to be expected of him. The angry jarl of Trøndelag [Eiríkr] sought counsel from the Swedish king; no person obstructed that; obstinacy affected the Þrœndir.

Mss: (172v), Kˣ(199r) (l. 1), F(29ra-b), J1ˣ(103v), J1ˣ(122r) (l. 1), J2ˣ(96r), J2ˣ(108v) (l. 1) (Hkr); 61(26rb), 53(23vb), 54(24vb), Bb(36ra), Flat(32vb) (ÓT); FskBˣ(32r-v), FskAˣ(118) (Fsk); A(7r), W(109) (TGT, ll. 5-8)

Readings: [2] vas: om. FskBˣ;    hônum: ‘hamun’ J1ˣ(103v)    [3] auðs: ‘auðrs’ FskAˣ;    an: enn Kˣ(172v), F, J2ˣ(96r), FskBˣ, FskAˣ, en J1ˣ(103v), 61, 53, 54, Flat, er Bb    [5] reiðr: reið FskBˣ    [6] engi: eigi J1ˣ(103v);    því: þar Flat    [7] þrályndi: ‘því flyndr’ Flat;    gafsk: so F, J1ˣ(103v), 61, 53, 54, Bb, Flat, FskBˣ, FskAˣ, fekksk Kˣ(172v), J2ˣ(96r), A, W    [8] konung: gram 61, kong 54;    sœnskan: þrœnzkan F

Editions: Skj: Þórðr Kolbeinsson, 1. Belgskakadrápa 3: AI, 212, BI, 202-3, Skald I, 106; Hkr 1893-1901, I, 358, 415, IV, 92, ÍF 26, 300, 337, Hkr 1991, I, 202, 228 (ÓTHkr chs 51, 89), F 1871, 132; ÓT 1958-2000, I, 254 (ch. 109), Flat 1860-8, I, 247; Fsk 1902-3, 107 (ch. 20), ÍF 29, 140-1 (ch. 22); SnE 1848-87, II, 168-9, 423, TGT 1884, 28, 108, 224, TGT 1927, 80, 106, TGT 1998, 218-19.


For Hkr, where the stanza is cited twice, and ÓT, where the stanza is cited once only, see st. 6; for Fsk, see st. 5. The second helmingr is cited in the A ms. of TGT to illustrate epiteton ‘epithet’ relating to place; here presumably þrœnzkr ‘from Trøndelag’. In the W ms. it illustrates catachresis (inappropriate use of one word for another, particularly in metaphors), probably here the unusual use of rann (l. 6); see Note below.

Notes: [All]: In Fsk, ll. 1-4 form the second helmingr of a stanza with st. 6/5-8 as the first helmingr; see Introduction. — [1, 3] særi auðs ‘the wounder of wealth [GENEROUS MAN = Óláfr Tryggvason]’: According to the Hkr and ÓT context, this refers to Óláfr Tryggvason (though the note in ÍF 26 differs); the Fsk context is less diagnostic. — [3] an ‘than’: The mss give variously enn or en (with the exception of Bb, which has er). Although en could be taken as the conj. ‘but, and’, the sense, with comp. meira ‘more’, requires an, and this normalisation is generally adopted. — [6] rann ‘obstructed’: For this transitive use of rinna ‘run’, with dat. object and the sense ‘stop, obstruct’, see TGT 1884, 224; Fritzner: rinna 7; LP: rinna 12. The weak verb renna took on this sense in later Icel. (ÍF 26). — [7] þrályndi gafsk ‘obstinacy affected’: I.e. the Þrœndir proved obstinate (in swearing allegiance to Óláfr Tryggvason). For gefask in the sense ‘to be experienced as an outcome, to show itself, prove’; see LP: gefa 11. Fekksk ‘was given, was granted’, the reading of , J2ˣ and the TGT mss, is also possible, with similar sense: ‘obstinacy was granted to the Þrœndir’, ‘the Þrœndir grew obstinate’. It has less comprehensive support across the ms. groupings, however.

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