This interface will soon cease to be publicly available. Use the new interface instead. Click here to switch over now.

Cookies on our website

We use cookies on this website, mainly to provide a secure browsing experience but also to collect statistics on how the website is used. You can find out more about the cookies we set, the information we store and how we use it on the cookies page.

Runic Dictionary

login: password: stay logged in: help

Þórðr Kolbeinsson (ÞKolb)

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

Eiríksdrápa (Eirdr) - 17

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, ‘ 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. <> (accessed 27 June 2022)

stanzas:  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, 491

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

2 — ÞKolb Eirdr 2I

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Jayne Carroll (ed.) 2012, ‘Þórðr Kolbeinsson, Eiríksdrápa 2’ 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. 491.

Mjǫk lét margar snekkjur
(mærðarǫrr) sem knǫrru
(óðr vex skalds) ok skeiðar
skjaldhlynr á brim dynja,
þás ólítinn útan
oddherðir fór gerða
— mǫrg vas lind fyr landi —
lǫnd síns fǫður rǫndu.


{The shield-maple} [WARRIOR] made very many warships, as well as merchant ships and longships, resound on the surfthe praise-liberal poetry of the skald grows —, when {the point-hardener} [WARRIOR] advanced at full strength from offshore to enclose the lands of his father with the shield; many a linden-shield was before the land.

context: In Hkr and ÓT, Hákon jarl and Eiríkr jarl send for men and ships from Þrœndalǫg (Trøndelag), and send messengers to Mœrr (Møre), Raumsdalr (Romsdalen), and north to Naumudalr (Namdalen) and Hálogaland (Hålogaland). In Fsk and Jvs, this stanza and st. 3 (and in Fsk st. 4/1-4) are cited together as part of these texts’ accounts of the battle of Hjǫrungavágr (Liavågen). The Jómsvíkingar, led by Búi digri ‘the Stout’ Vésetason, Vagn Ákason, and Sigvaldi Strút-Haraldsson, sail to Hjǫrungavágr, where they encounter Hákon, Eiríkr, and the three other sons of Hákon; each commands one of 180 well-equipped ships. In SnE (Skm), the stanza appears among others illustrating heiti for poetry. 

notes: [1-4]: Þórðr catalogues the various types of ship in Eiríkr’s fleet. Skeiðar ‘longships’ (l. 3) are often thought of as longer than snekkjur ‘warships’ (l. 1), though they are not necessarily so (see Note to ÞjóðA Magnfl 2/2, 3II; Jesch 2001a, 123-4). Knǫrru (m. acc. pl.) in l. 2 is translated ‘merchant ships’ since knǫrr can denote a cargo ship (e.g. Ótt Hfl 14/2), and the prose of Jvs appears to equate pl. knerrir with kaupskip ‘merchant ships’ (although Fsk refers to both knerrir and kaupskip). It can, however, be used in contexts of conflict (Vígf Hák 1/8; Þhorn Harkv 7/5 and Note; Jesch 2001a, 128-32).

texts: Fsk 89, Jvs 3, ÓT 70, ÓTC 31 (I 135), Skm 305 [1-4], Hkr 162 (I 135), SnE 307 [1-4]

editions: Skj Þórðr Kolbeinsson: 3. Eiríksdrápa 2 (AI, 213-14; BI, 203); Skald I, 106, NN §580; Hkr 1893-1901, I, 324, IV, 87, ÍF 26, 276, Hkr 1991, I, 185 (ÓTHkr ch. 37), F 1871, 120; ÓT 1958-2000, I, 181-2 (ch. 87); Fsk 1902-3, 92 (ch. 19), ÍF 29, 129-30 (ch. 21); Jvs 1879, 69-70; SnE 1848-87, I, 466-9, SnE 1931, 165, SnE 1998, I, 84, 206-7.


AM 35 folx (Kx) 157r, 19 - 157r, 26 (Hkr)  transcr.  image  image  
AM 39 fol (39) 7ra, 1 - 7ra, 5 (Hkr)  image  
AM 45 fol (F) 26va, 2 - 26va, 6 (Hkr)  image  image  image  image  
AM 37 folx (J1x) 94r, 18 - 94r, 22 (Hkr)  image  
AM 38 folx (J2x) 87v, 13 - 87v, 20 (Hkr)  image  
AM 325 VIII 1 4° (325VIII 1) 4va, 36 - 4va, 40 (Hkr)  image  
AM 61 fol (61) 19ra, 33 - 19ra, 36 (ÓT)  image  image  
AM 54 fol (54) 15ra, 40 - 15rb, 4 (ÓT)  image  
Holm perg 1 fol (Bb) 25va, 13 - 25va, 17 (ÓT)  image  
OsloUB 371 folx (FskBx) 27v, 7 - 27v, 14 (Fsk)  image  
AM 303 4°x (FskAx) 103, 6 - 103, 13 (Fsk)  image  
AM 510 4° (510) 58r, 24 - 58r, 27 (Jvs)  image  
GKS 2367 4° (R) 36v, 24 - 36v, 26 (SnE)  image  image  image  
Traj 1374x (Tx) 38r, 29 - 38r, 30 [1-4] (SnE)  image  
DG 11 (U) 36r, 13 - 36r, 15 [1-4] (SnE)  image  
AM 748 I b 4° (A) 12v, 23 - 12v, 24 (SnE)  transcr.  image  image  
AM 748 II 4° (C) 6r, 5 - 6r, 7 (SnE)  image  image  
AM 51 folx (51x) 24v, 29 - 25r, 3 (Fsk)  image  
AM 301 4°x (301x) 38r, 4 - 38r, 8 (Fsk)  
AM 761 b 4°x (761bx) 450r, 2 - 450r, 5 [1-4]  image  
© 2008-