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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, ‘(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.

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, 500

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

8 — ÞKolb Eirdr 8I

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance

 

Cite as: Jayne Carroll (ed.) 2012, ‘Þórðr Kolbeinsson, Eiríksdrápa 8’ 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. 500.

Þar vas hjalmaðs herjar
Hropts við dreyrgar toptir


Orð fekk gótt, es gerði
grams vǫrn blôum hjǫrvi
(hǫll bilar hára fjalla,)
Hyrningr (áðr þat fyrnisk).

 

There wasof the helmeted host against {the bloody homesteads of Hroptr} [SHIELDS] Hyrningr, who defended the king with a dark sword, gained a good reputation; {the hall of the high mountains} [SKY] will break before that is forgotten.

context: Towards the end of the battle of Svǫlðr, Eiríkr jarl attempts to board Óláfr Tryggvason’s ship Ormr inn langi ‘the Long Serpent’, but is forced back into his own ship by Óláfr’s kinsman Hyrningr and his men.

notes: For the sea-battle at Svǫlðr c. 1000, see also Hfr ErfÓl 1-24, Skúli SvǫlðrIII, Stefnir Lv 1 (cf. OSnorr Lv), Eþsk Couplet, Hókr Eirfl; and the later treatment in HSt Rst 15-23 and Anon Óldr 17-24; see further the entry on Óláfr Tryggvason in ‘Ruler biographies’ in Introduction to this volume. — All mss preserve only six lines of this stanza, with little indication that there is missing text, though a blank space follows l. 8 in F. It appears that ll. 3-4 are missing, while the second helmingr is complete. — [7, 8]: The rhetorical figure of adynaton or impossibilia is used elsewhere in skaldic poetry  to convey the extraordinary nature or deeds of a hero (e.g. see Hfr ErfÓl 27/1, 4 and Note). Such praise of the opponent Hyrningr in a drápa about Eiríkr is striking.

texts: Flat 350, ÓT 183, ÓTC 60 (I 162), Hkr 191 (I 162)

editions: Skj Þórðr Kolbeinsson: 3. Eiríksdrápa 5 (AI, 214; BI, 204); Skald I, 107; Hkr 1893-1901, I, 450-1, IV, 99, ÍF 26, 364, Hkr 1991, I, 247 (ÓTHkr ch. 110), F 1871, 165; ÓT 1958-2000, II, 278 (ch. 252), Flat 1860-8, I, 488.

sources

AM 35 folx (Kx) 214r, 16 - 214r, 29 (Hkr)  transcr.  image  image  
AM 45 fol (F) 36va, 9 - 36va, 11 (Hkr)  image  image  image  image  
AM 37 folx (J1x) 133r, 10 - 133r, 13 (Hkr)  image  
AM 38 folx (J2x) 115v, 31 - 116r, 3 (Hkr)  image  
AM 61 fol (61) 68ra, 36 - 68ra, 38 (ÓT)  image  image  
AM 54 fol (54) 65rb, 40 - 65va, 3 (ÓT)  image  
Holm perg 1 fol (Bb) 101ra, 17 - 101ra, 20 (ÓT)  image  
GKS 1005 fol (Flat) 65ra, 44 - 65ra, 46 (ÓT)  image  image  image  
Runic data from Samnordisk runtextdatabas, Uppsala universitet, unless otherwise stated