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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Þorbjǫrn hornklofi (Þhorn)

9th century; volume 1; ed. R. D. Fulk;

2. Haraldskvæði (Hrafnsmál) (Harkv) - 23

Skj info: Þórbjǫrn hornklofi, Norsk skjald; omkr. 900. (AI, 22-29, BI, 20-26).

Skj poems:
1. Glymdrápa
2. Haraldskvæði (Hrafnsmál)
3. Lausavísa

Little is known about the Norwegian Þorbjǫrn hornklofi ‘Horn-cleaver (?)’. Skáldatal (SnE 1848-87, III, 253, 261, 273) names him as a poet of Haraldr hárfagri ‘Fair-hair’ (r. c. 860-c. 932). Judging from Fsk (ÍF 29, 59), he seems to have spent his whole life at the court of this king. Þorbjǫrn is the composer of two poems about Haraldr, Glymdrápa (Þhorn Gldr) and Haraldskvæði (Þhorn Harkv). Skálda saga, an anecdote about skalds preserved in Hb, and hardly likely to be historical, depicts him as one of three skalds, the other two being Auðunn illskælda ‘Bad-poet’ and Ǫlvir hnúfa ‘Snub-nose (?)’, each of whom attempts a romantic encounter with the same rich widow and then bemoans his failure in a lausavísa (see Auðunn Lv 2, Þhorn Lv, Ǫlv Lv 2). The three skalds are also named in Egils saga (ÍF 2, 19) as Haraldr’s favourites. They occupy places of honour in his hall, with Þorbjǫrn between the other two.

In the prose sources Þorbjǫrn is predominantly referred to only by his nickname Hornklofi. To date there is no satisfying explanation of this word. It is attested in the Þulur as a raven-heiti (see Þul Hrafns 1/5III and Note), but it does not occur in that sense in the surviving body of skaldic poetry. Scholars have claimed that the nickname refers to Þorbjǫrn’s device, in Þhorn Harkv, of having a raven speak in his stead (SnE 1848-87, III, 408; ÍF 26, 101 n. 1). Fidjestøl (1991, 126) is, however, justified in doubting this interpretation. An alternative possibility would be to link the nickname to Egill Hfl 16/6-7V (Eg 49): en jǫfurr heldr lǫndum hornklofi ‘and the ruler holds his lands by a hornklof’. But hornklofi here must be the dative of neuter hornklof, whereas Þorbjǫrn’s nickname is a masculine n-stem, and unfortunately the meaning of this passage is obscure, though hornklof seems to be some kind of tool.

my abbr.

Haraldskvæði (Hrafnsmál) — Þhorn HarkvI

R. D. Fulk 2012, ‘ Þorbjǫrn hornklofi, Haraldskvæði (Hrafnsmál)’ 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. 91. <> (accessed 19 May 2022)

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Skj: Þórbjǫrn hornklofi: 2. Haraldskvæði (Hrafnsmál), Flere af de herhenhørende vers tillægges i forskellige håndskrifter Tjodolf hvinverske. (AI, 24-9, BI, 22-5)

SkP info: I, 105

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

10 — Þhorn Harkv 10I

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


lemmatised words

This information has not been reviewed and should not be referred to.

3at (prep.) ‘at, to...’ — 10/2 var, 10/4

5at (nota) ‘to (with infinitive)...’ — 10/2

2er (conj.) ‘who, which, when...’es 10/6

fyr (prep.) ‘for, over, because of, etc....’ — 10/1

halda (verb) ‘hold, keep...’ — 10/2

halsdigr (adj.) ‘[fat-necked]...’halsdigra 10/3

hilmir (noun m.) ‘prince, protector...’hilmi 10/3

holmr (noun m.) [°-s, dat. -i/-; -ar] ‘island, islet...’holm 10/4

hǫfuð (noun n.) [°-s; -] ‘head...’hǫfðum 10/8

2inn (art.) ‘the...’inum 10/3

í (prep.) ‘in, into...’ — 10/8

kjǫlr (noun m.) [°kjalar, dat. kili; kjǫlir] ‘keel, ship...’kjǫl 10/8

land (noun n.) [°-s; *-] ‘land...’landi 10/2 var, landi 10/2

láta (verb) ‘let, have sth done...’lét 10/4, létu 10/4 var, létu 10/7

2leiða (verb) [-dd] ‘lead; (-sk) grow tired...’Leiddisk 10/1

lúfa (noun f.) [°-u] ‘shaggy-locks...’Lúfu 10/1

sárr (adj.) [°compar. -ari, superl. -astr] ‘sore, painful; wounded...’sárir 10/6

1sess (noun m.) [°-, dat -/-i;n dat. -um] ‘seat, throne...’ — 10/5

sessþilja (noun f.)sessþiljur 10/5

sik (pron.) [°gen. sín, dat. sér] ‘(refl. pron.)...’sér 10/4

skjǫldr (noun m.) [°skjaldar/skildar, dat. skildi; skildir, acc. skjǫldu] ‘shield...’skildi 10/4 var, skjaldi 10/4

2slá (verb) ‘strike, cut...’Slógusk 10/5

standa (verb) ‘stand...’ — 10/7 var

stinga (verb) ‘stab, poke...’stungu 10/8

stjǫlr (noun m.) [°dat. -] ‘[their rumps]...’stjǫlu 10/7

stúfi (noun m.) [°-a] ‘°træstub; penis, lem...’stúfa 10/7 var

stúpa (verb) ‘[stick]...’ — 10/7

1um (prep.) ‘about, around...’ — 10/5 var

umþilja (noun f.)umþiljur 10/5 var

3und (prep.) ‘under, underneath...’ — 10/5

upp (adv.) ‘up...’ — 10/7

2vera (verb) ‘be, is, was, were, are, am...’vôru 10/6

2þá (adv.) ‘then...’ — 10/1

1þilja (noun f.) [°-u; -ur] ‘planking, decking...’þiljur 10/5

unlemmatised variants — stælu (10)


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