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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 23 January 2022)

 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, 504

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

11 — ÞKolb Eirdr 11I

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Jayne Carroll (ed.) 2012, ‘Þórðr Kolbeinsson, Eiríksdrápa 11’ 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. 504.

Enn hefsk leyfð, þars lofða
lofkennda frák sendu
at hjalmsǫmum hilmi
hjarls dróttna boð jarli,
at skyldligast skyldi
— skilk, hvat gramr lézk vilja —
endr at ástafundi
Eirekr koma þeira.


Again praise is beginning, where I have heard that praise-renowned men sent an invitation to the helmet-adorned ruler of the land of lords, to the jarl [Eiríkr], that Eiríkr should most dutifully come again to a friendly meeting with them; I understand what the king [Knútr] declared he wanted.

context: Knútr inn ríki (Cnut the Great), having heard of his brother-in-law Eiríkr’s successes in battle, asks him to accompany him on a campaign in England.

notes: [1-4]: All interpretations share the acc. with inf. construction (frák) lofkennda lofða sendu ... ‘(I have heard) that praise-renowned men sent ...’, where sendu is a past inf., lit. ‘to have sent’ (cf. Note to st. 6/8). However, they vary as to the allocation and construal of the objects and adjunct phrases. (a) The interpretation followed here, which is similar to that of Kock in NN §2922, is syntactically the simplest. Lofkennda lofða (m. acc. pl.) ‘glorious men’ functions as the object of frák ‘I have heard’, and hjarls dróttna ‘of the land of lords’ qualifies hjalmsǫmum hilmi ‘helmet-adorned ruler’, which stands in apposition with jarli ‘jarl’ (cf. NN §§581, 1853C). Possible instances of apposition are rare but not unknown in early skaldic poetry (see, e.g., st. 13/2 below, Eyv Hál 7/1-4 and Notes to these). It could be avoided by taking leyfð jarli together as ‘praise(-poem) for the jarl’. (b) Kock, in NN §581, proposed lofða lofken(n)da hjarls dróttna, translated männens prisade landsherre ‘men’s praised lords of the land’ (with sg. referent, Knútr) as the object of frák ‘I have heard’, but he retracted this in NN §2922. (c) ÍF 27 takes dróttna hjarls ‘lords of the land’ in apposition with lofða lofkennda ‘glorious men’ as the object of frák, in addition to the apposition of hilmi and jarli. (d) Finnur Jónsson (Hkr 1893-1901, IV; Skj B) offers a syntactically counter-intuitive solution with hilmi ‘ruler’ (l. 3) qualified by lofða (m. gen. pl.) ‘of men’ (l. 1), as an adjunct of leyfð ‘praise(-poem)’, hence ‘praise-poem for the ruler of men’. Lofken(n)da ‘praise-renowned’ (l. 2) qualifies dróttna hjarls ‘lords of the land’ (l. 4) as the object of frák ‘I have heard’ and subject of sendu ‘sent’. This is rejected in NN §581 .

texts: Flat 393, ÓH 30 (28), ÓHHkr 27 (II 27), ÓT 212, Hkr 228 (II 27)

editions: Skj Þórðr Kolbeinsson: 3. Eiríksdrápa 8 (AI, 215-16; BI, 205);

Skald I, 107, NN §§581, 1853C, 2922; Hkr 1893-1901, II, 32, IV, 115, ÍF 27, 31, Hkr 1991, I, 270-1 (ÓHHkr ch. 24); ÓH 1941, I, 54 (ch. 28); ÓT 1958-2000, II, 316 (ch. 266), Flat 1860-8, I, 560.


AM 36 folx (Kx) 232r, 9 - 232r, 16 (Hkr)  transcr.  image  
Holm perg 2 4° (Holm2) 8r, 13 - 8r, 15 (ÓH)  image  
UppsUB R 686x (R686x) 14v, 13 - 14v, 16 (ÓH)  image  image  
Thott 972 folx (972x) 52va, 9 - 52va, 16 (ÓH)  image  image  
AM 37 folx (J1x) 144r, 5 - 144r, 9 (ÓH)  image  
AM 38 folx (J2x) 125r, 13 - 125r, 20 (ÓH)  image  
AM 73 a folx (73ax) 23r, 12 - 23r, 19 (ÓH)  image  
AM 78 a folx (78ax) 22v, 24 - 23r, 3 (ÓH)  image  
AM 68 fol (68) 7r, 17 - 7r, 19 (ÓH)  image  
AM 61 fol (61*) 81ra, 13 - 81ra, 16 (ÓH)  image  image  
AM 75 c fol (75c) 4v, 18 - 4v, 20 (ÓH)  image  
AM 325 V 4° (325V) 10ra, 22 - 10ra, 27 (ÓH)  image  
AM 325 VII 4° (325VII) 2v, 44 - 2v, 45 [1-6] (ÓH)  image  
Holm perg 1 fol (Bb*) 127vb, 36 - 128ra, 4 (ÓH)  image  
GKS 1008 fol (Tóm) 97v, 10 - 97v, 13 (ÓH)  image  
AM 61 fol (61*) 71vb, 6 - 71vb, 9 (ÓT)  image  image  
AM 53 fol (53) 68vb, 9 - 68vb, 13 (ÓT)  image  
AM 54 fol (54) 70va, 13 - 70va, 16 (ÓT)  image  
Holm perg 1 fol (Bb*) 106rb, 1 - 106rb, 4 (ÓT)  image  
GKS 1005 fol (Flat) 75ra, 26 - 75ra, 29 (ÓT)  image  image  image  
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