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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 27 November 2021)

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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, 108

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

14 — Þhorn Harkv 14I

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Note: The following transcriptions have been entered to aid the editing process. These may not have been fully reviewed and checked and may therefore not be reliable. You may wish to consult the manuscript images. Any corrections can be notified to the database editor.

 Kx Hafnaði holmrygiom | ok hꜹrða meyiom | hverri hiɴi heinversco | ok hꜹlga ættar || konungr hiɴ kynstóri | er toc conona dꜹnsco |   [RDF]  edit 
 F Hafnaði holm rýgiom ok hꜹr | þa meyiom. hverri híɴi heínversko ok holga ø̨ttar. konvngr hinn kyn | storí er tok konvna dꜹnsko.   [RDF]  edit 
 J1x Hamnaðe h | olm rygium ok hꜹrða meyiom hverri enni heinverskv | ok hꜹlþa ættar konvngr inn kynstori er tok konuna d | ꜹnskv·   [RDF]  edit 
 J2x Hamnaðe Holmrygiom | oc hꜹrða meyiom | hverri enni heinverzku | oc hꜹlda ættar | konungr enn kynstore | er toc conuna donsku |   [RDF]  edit 
 61 hafnadi holmrygium ok | ho᷎rda meyium huerri enni heínuersku ok haulga ættar konungriɴ kyn | stori er tok konuna daunsku.   [RDF]  edit 
 53 Hafnade holmrygíum· ok haurda meyíum· hverri enni heínver | sku· ok haulga ęttar· konungr hinn kynstorí er tok konuna daunsku· |   [RDF]  edit 
 Bb Hafnadí hilmir ruium ok ho᷎rda mey- | ium. herran hinum heínnverskum ok ho᷎lga ættar konongr hínn kyn | storí tok konona do᷎nsko.   [RDF]  edit 
 325IX 1 bx Hafna | þi holmrygium ok Hꜹrþameyum, hvor | ri enni hæfersku ok Holga ættar || konungr hinn kynstori, tok kon[...] | Dꜹnsku   [VEÞ]  edit 
 Flat Hafnnade hunnmo᷎rgum haralldr meyium huerre hinn | hæuersku hilmir norræne· konungr hínn kynstore tok konu danska·   [RDF]  edit 
 Flat Hafnnade hann holm rygium ok horda meyium | huerre hínne huínuersku ok holda ættar· konungr hinn kynstore er | tok konuna do᷎nsku·   [RDF]  edit 

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