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, 508

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

14 — ÞKolb Eirdr 14I

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Jayne Carroll (ed.) 2012, ‘Þórðr Kolbeinsson, Eiríksdrápa 14’ 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. 508.

Gollkennir lét
lét gunni
(grœðis hests) fyr
fyr vestan
(Þundr leyfðr til
til landa)
Lundún saman
saman bundit.
Fekk, — regn Þorins
Þorins rekka
rann — of þinga
ýglig hǫgg, þars eggjar,
Ulfkell, bláar skulfu.


{The gold-master} [GENEROUS MAN = Eiríkr] joined battle west of London; {the celebrated Þundr {of the horse of the sea}} [SHIP > SEAFARER = Eiríkr] won lands by fighting. Ulfcytel received terrible blows, where dark blades shook over the þingamenn; {the rain {of the men of Þorinn}} [DWARFS > POETRY] streamed.

context: In Hkr, ÓH, and ÓT, Eiríkr joins Knútr in England and is with him at the conquest of London. Eiríkr slays Úlfkell snillingr in battle, west of London. In Knýtl’s account (the more historically accurate), Eiríkr leaves his ships, engages Úlfkell in battle, and puts him to flight.

notes: [1-4]: That the two warrior-kennings in this helmingr refer to Eiríkr is suggested by the context of a poem about Eiríkr and by the prose Context (above), but historically the reference could be to Knútr.

texts: Flat 394, Knýtl 18, ÓH 31 (29), ÓHHkr 28 (II 28), ÓT 213, Hkr 229 (II 28)

editions: Skj Þórðr Kolbeinsson: 3. Eiríksdrápa 11 (AI, 216; BI, 206);

Skald I, 107-8, NN §§585, 964, 2466A; Hkr 1893-1901, II, 33, IV, 115-16, ÍF 27, 31-2, Hkr 1991, I, 271 (ÓHHkr ch. 25); ÓH 1941, I, 55 (ch. 28); ÓT 1958-2000, II, 316 (ch. 266), Flat 1860-8, I, 561; 1741, 26-7, Knýtl 1919-25, 47, ÍF 35, 117-18 (ch. 15).


AM 36 folx (Kx) 232v, 2 - 232v, 9 (Hkr)  transcr.  image  
Holm perg 2 4° (Holm2) 8r, 19 - 8r, 21 (ÓH)  image  
UppsUB R 686x (R686x) 14v, 25 - 14v, 28 (ÓH)  image  image  
Thott 972 folx (972x) 52va, 30 - 52va, 37 (ÓH)  image  image  
AM 37 folx (J1x) 144r, 1 - 144r, 4 (ÓH)  image  
AM 38 folx (J2x) 125r, 5 - 125r, 12 (ÓH)  image  
AM 73 a folx (73ax) 23r, 28 - 23r, 35 (ÓH)  image  
AM 78 a folx (78ax) 23r, 11 - 23r, 18 (ÓH)  image  
AM 68 fol (68) 7r, 23 - 7r, 25 (ÓH)  image  
AM 61 fol (61*) 81ra, 21 - 81ra, 24 (ÓH)  image  image  
AM 75 c fol (75c) 4v, 26 - 4v, 29 (ÓH)  image  
AM 325 V 4° (325V) 10rb, 6 - 10rb, 11 (ÓH)  image  
Holm perg 1 fol (Bb*) 128ra, 13 - 128ra, 16 (ÓH)  image  
GKS 1008 fol (Tóm) 97v, 19 - 97v, 21 (ÓH)  image  
AM 61 fol (61*) 71vb, 15 - 71vb, 17 (ÓT)  image  image  
AM 53 fol (53) 68vb, 21 - 68vb, 25 (ÓT)  image  
AM 54 fol (54) 70va, 26 - 70va, 31 (ÓT)  image  
Holm perg 1 fol (Bb*) 106rb, 14 - 106rb, 18 (ÓT)  image  
GKS 1005 fol (Flat) 75ra, 43 - 75ra, 45 (ÓT)  image  image  image  
Jón Ólafsson 1741 (JÓ) 26, 8 - 26, 15 (Knýtl)  image  
AM 20 d folx (20dx) 10r, 7 - 10r, 14 (Knýtl)  image  
NKS 873 4°x (873x) 11v, 26 - 12r, 6 (Knýtl)  image  
AM 20 i 23 folx (20i 23x) 14v, 33 - 15v, 6 (Knýtl)  image  
Holm papp 41 4°x (41x) 9v - 9v (Knýtl)  
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