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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, 506

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

12 — ÞKolb Eirdr 12I

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance

 

Cite as: Jayne Carroll (ed.) 2012, ‘Þórðr Kolbeinsson, Eiríksdrápa 12’ 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. 506.

Ítr þrifusk jǫfra hleyti
eggveðrs í fǫr seggja;
skeið helt mǫrg í móðu
mislǫng, sem ek vissa.
Bládýrum helt bôru
brands svá náar landi
Ullr, at enska vǫllu,
áttstórr, séa knátti.

 

The glorious kinship of the princes prospered in the expedition of men {to the edge-storm}; [BATTLE] many warships of various lengths steered into the river, as I learned. {The high-born Ullr of the sword} [WARRIOR] steered {the dark animals of the wave} [SHIPS] so near land that the English plains could be seen.

context: Knútr has heard that the English king Játmundr járnsíða (Eadmund Ironside) is in London. He brings his army to the Thames estuary, where he meets Eiríkr’s fleet. They join forces and sail upriver towards London. Stanzas 12 and 13 are cited with only a brief link in between.

texts: Knýtl 13

editions: Skj Þórðr Kolbeinsson: 3. Eiríksdrápa 9 (AI, 216; BI, 205); Skald I, 107, NN §582; 1741, 22-3, Knýtl 1919-25, 44, ÍF 35, 114 (ch. 13).

sources

Jón Ólafsson 1741 (JÓ) 22, 8 - 22, 25 (Knýtl)  transcr.  image  
AM 20 d folx (20dx) 9r, 2 - 9r, 9 (Knýtl)  image  
NKS 873 4°x (873x) 10v, 14 - 10v, 21 (Knýtl)  image  
Holm papp 41 4°x (41x) 8v - 8v (Knýtl)  
Runic data from Samnordisk runtextdatabas, Uppsala universitet, unless otherwise stated