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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, ‘ 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 21 September 2021)

 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, 501

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

9 — ÞKolb Eirdr 9I

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Jayne Carroll (ed.) 2012, ‘Þórðr Kolbeinsson, Eiríksdrápa 9’ 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. 501.

Veitk, fyr Erling útan
ár at hersar vôru
(lofak fasta Tý) flestir
(farlands) vinir jarla.
Enn ept víg frá Veigu
— velk orð at styr — norðan
land eða lengra stundu
lagðisk suðr til Agða.

Veitk, at flestir hersar, fyr útan Erling, vôru ár vinir jarla; lofak {Tý {fasta {farlands}}}. Enn ept víg lagðisk land norðan frá Veigu suðr til Agða eða stundu lengra; velk orð at styr.

I know that most hersar, other than Erlingr, were previously friends of the jarls; I praise {the Týr <god> {of the fire {of the vessel-land}}} [SEA > GOLD > MAN = Eiríkr]. And after the battle the land was subjected from Vega in the north south as far as Agder or somewhat further; I choose words about the battle.

Mss: (217v), F(37ra), J1ˣ(135r-v), J2ˣ(118r), 325XI 2 i(1va) (Hkr); 61(70ra-b), 53(66vb), 54(68rb), 325VIII 2 g(2rb), Bb(103vb), Flat(71rb) (ÓT); FskBˣ(39v) (ll. 1-4), FskBˣ(38r) (ll. 5-8), FskAˣ(150) (ll. 1-4), FskAˣ(146) (ll. 5-8) (Fsk); R(37r), Tˣ(38v), A(13r), C(6r) (SnE, ll. 5-8)

Readings: [1] Veitk (‘veit ec’): veit 325XI 2 i    [3] lofak (‘lofa ec’): lofa 61, 53, 54, 325VIII 2 g, Bb, Flat, FskAˣ(150);    fasta: om. Bb;    Tý: om. Flat;    flestir: flestar FskBˣ(39v)    [4] jarla: jarli 325XI 2 i, FskBˣ(39v)    [5] ept: ef F, 325XI 2 i, oft 54, 325VIII 2 g, Bb;    víg: vígs A;    frá: þat er Flat, þau FskAˣ(146), fram R, Tˣ;    Veigu: Veigi 61, 53, 54, 325VIII 2 g, Flat, vegi Bb, vôguð FskAˣ(146), veigum C    [6] velk (‘vel ec’): vel 325XI 2 i, vant er FskBˣ(38r), FskAˣ(146), R, Tˣ, A, C;    at: om. FskBˣ(38r), of FskAˣ(146);    styr: staf Flat, gram FskBˣ(38r), FskAˣ(146)    [7] land: lands F, FskBˣ(38r);    eða: æ J2ˣ, ok 54, 325VIII 2 g, Bb, eðr Flat;    lengra: lengri 54, 325VIII 2 g, Bb, Flat;    stundu: stundum 325XI 2 i    [8] lagðisk: lagði F, 325XI 2 i, lagðir A

Editions: Skj: Þórðr Kolbeinsson, 3. Eiríksdrápa 6: AI, 215, BI, 204, Skald I, 107; Hkr 1893-1901, I, 458, IV, 104, ÍF 26, 371, Hkr 1991, I, 252 (ÓTHkr ch. 113), F 1871, 167; ÓT 1958-2000, II, 300 (ch. 260), Flat 1860-8, I, 533; Fsk 1902-3, 134, 138 (chs 23, 24), ÍF 29, 163, 166 (chs 25, 26); SnE 1848-87, I, 474, II, 448, 593, SnE 1931, 167, SnE 1998, I, 86, 209.

Context: After the battle of Svǫlðr, Norway is divided betweeen Eiríkr jarl, King Sveinn tjúguskegg ‘Fork-beard’ of Denmark, and King Óláfr sœnski ‘the Swede’. Hkr and ÓT cite this and st. 10. Fsk cites st. 9/5-8, forming a stanza with st. 10/5-8, at this point, then cites st. 9/1-4 as an isolated helmingr in a later account of Eiríkr jarl’s raiding activities and his rule in Norway. In SnE (Skm), the second helmingr is cited in a section on terms for ‘earth’, here land.

Notes: [All]: On the configuration of helmingar in Hkr and Fsk, see Context above and Introduction. — [1] Erling ‘Erlingr’: Erlingr Skjálgsson, Óláfr Tryggvason’s brother-in-law; see Sigv Erl, Sigv Erlfl and Introductions to these. — [5] Veigu ‘Vega’: An island in Hålogaland, northern Norway. The (nom. sg.) form Veig also occurs: see Þul Islands 1/6III. — [6] velk orð at styr ‘I choose words about the battle’: (a) This, the reading of all Hkr and ÓT mss except for Flat, is also adopted in ÍF 26 and Hkr 1991. (b) Vants orð at styr ‘careful is [my] word about the battle’ in the SnE mss and vants orð of gram ‘careful is [my] word about the ruler’ in Fsk are both possible alternative intercalaries. (c) Finnur Jónsson (Hkr 1893-1901; Skj B) and Kock (Skald) take velk orð ‘I choose words’ as the intercalary, and read und gram norðan, as a slightly emended version of FskAˣ’s of (‘um’) gram norðan, which they construe with the main clause to give en ept víg lagðisk land und gram norðan frá Veigu … ‘and after the battle the land was placed under the ruler from Vega in the north…’. Und gram provides a suitable completion for lagðisk ‘was placed, subdued’, but emendation is not justified here. — [7] stundu ‘somewhat’: Stund f. normally refers to a period of time, but can designate a short distance (Fritzner: stund 5). Finnur Jónsson in Skj B and LP: stund takes stundu rather as an intensifier, ‘considerably’.

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