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Runic Dictionary

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Þorbjǫrn hornklofi (Þhorn)

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

2. Haraldskvæði (Hrafnsmál) (Harkv) - 23

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 7 December 2021)

stanzas:  1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11   12   13   14   15   16   17   18   19   20   21   22   23 

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, 97

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

4 — Þhorn Harkv 4I

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.

 51x Ro᷎yfðizk hinn haus fiaðri | oc um hyrnu þerði | annar æið broðer | oc at annsvorum hugði | Harallde ver fylgðum | syni Halfðanar | ungum ynglingi | siðan or æggi comom. |   [RDF]  edit 
 FskBx Rꝍyfðizk hinn haus fiaðri | oc vm hyrnu þerði | annar æið broðer | oc at annsvorum hugði | Harallde ver fylgðum | syni Halfdanar | Ungum ynglingi | siðan or æggi komom |   [RDF]  edit 
 302x Ro᷎yfðizk hinn haus fiaðri | oc um hyrnu þerði | annar æið broðer | oc at annsvorum hugði | Harallde ver fylgðum | syni Halfðnar | ungum ynglingi | siðan or æggi comom |   [VEÞ]  edit 
 FskAx Rꝍyfþiz hinn hous fiaðre | oc vm hyrnu þerði | arnar eið broðir | oc at anzvorum hugþi | Haralde ver fylgðum | syne Halfðanar | ungum eðlinge | siðan or eɢi komom |   [RDF]  edit 
 52x Rꝍyfðiz hinn housfiaðri | oc um hyrnu þerði | arnar eið broðir | oc at anz svorum hugþi | H⸌v⸍aralde ver fylgðum | fyl syne Halfdanar | ungum eðlinge | | siþan or eɢi komum |   [VEÞ]  edit 
 301x Rꝍyfðiz hinn housfiaðre || oc um hyrnu þerði arnar að broðir oc at anz | svorum hugði , Haralde ver fylgdum syne Hælfða | nar ungum eðlinge , siþan or eggi komom .   [VEÞ]  edit 

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