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.

Data from Samnordisk runtextdatabas

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 25 May 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, 493

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

3 — ÞKolb Eirdr 3I

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Jayne Carroll (ed.) 2012, ‘Þórðr Kolbeinsson, Eiríksdrápa 3’ 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. 493.

Setti jarl, sás atti,
ógnfróðr, á lǫg stóði
hrefnis, hôva stafna
hót Sigvalda at móti.
Margr skalf hlumr, en hvergi
huggendr bana uggðu,
þeirs gôtu slíta,
sárgamms, blǫðum ára.


The battle-wise jarl, who urged {the stud-horses of the strake} [SHIPS] onto the sea, directed high stems somewhat against Sigvaldi. Many an oar-handle trembled, but {the comforters {of the wound-vulture}}, [RAVEN/EAGLE > WARRIORS] who tore the sea with the blades of oars, feared death not at all.

context: In Hkr and ÓT, the Jómsvíkingar continue north towards Rogaland, raiding Hákon jarl’s lands. Hákon learns of their progress and sends scouts south into the fjords and north to Eiríkr jarl; (in Hkr only) Eiríkr proceeds south with his army. For Fsk and Jvs, see st. 2. 

texts: Fsk 90, Jvs 4, ÓT 74, ÓTC 32 (I 136), Hkr 163 (I 136)

editions: Skj Þórðr Kolbeinsson: 3. Eiríksdrápa 3 (AI, 214; BI, 204); Skald I, 106-7; Hkr 1893-1901, I, 326-7, IV, 88, ÍF 26, 277-8, Hkr 1991, I, 186 (ÓTHkr ch. 38), F 1871, 121; ÓT 1958-2000, I, 184; Fsk 1902-3, 93 (ch. 19), ÍF 29, 130 (ch. 21); Jvs 1879, 70. 


AM 35 folx (Kx) 158r, 2 - 158r, 9 (Hkr)  transcr.  image  image  
AM 39 fol (39) 7ra, 29 - 7ra, 33 (Hkr)  image  
AM 45 fol (F) 26va, 23 - 26va, 26 (Hkr)  image  image  image  image  
AM 325 VIII 1 4° (325VIII 1) 4vb, 21 - 4vb, 25 (Hkr)  image  
AM 37 folx (J1x) 94v, 16 - 94v, 19 (Hkr)  image  
AM 38 folx (J2x) 88r, 10 - 88r, 17 (Hkr)  image  
AM 61 fol (61) 19rb, 34 - 19rb, 36 (ÓT)  image  image  
AM 54 fol (54) 15va, 18 - 15va, 22 (ÓT)  image  
Holm perg 1 fol (Bb) 25vb, 28 - 25vb, 32 (ÓT)  image  
OsloUB 371 folx (FskBx) 27v, 15 - 27v, 22 (Fsk)  image  
AM 303 4°x (FskAx) 103, 14 - 103, 21 (Fsk)  image  
AM 510 4° (510) 58r, 28 - 58r, 31 (Jvs)  image  
AM 51 folx (51x) 25r, 4 - 25r, 11 (Fsk)  image  
AM 301 4°x (301x) 38r, 8 - 38r, 12 (Fsk)  
Runic data from Samnordisk runtextdatabas, Uppsala universitet, unless otherwise stated