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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 25 June 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, 102

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

8 — Þhorn Harkv 8I

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 Hlaðnir voro þeir hꜹlda | ok hvitra sciallda | vigra vestrø̨ɴa | ok valscra sverða || grenioðo berserkir | guðr var þeim a siɴom | emiaðo úlfheðnar | ok ísarn glumdo. |   [RDF]  edit 
 F Hlaðnir voro hꜹlþa ok hvítra skiállda vigra vest rø̨ɴa ok valskra sver | þa. grenioðo berserkir gvðr varþ at siɴom emioðo vlfheðnar ok | isárn gvllu.   [RDF]  edit 
 J1x Hlaðnir voro þeir hꜹlþa ok huitra skiallda vigra ve | st rænna ok valskra sverþa greinivðv berserkr gvðr | var þeim at sinni emivdv vlfheiðnar ok i sornndvþo |   [RDF]  edit 
 J2x Hlaðnir voro þeir hꜹlda | oc hvitra skiallda | vigra vestrænna | oc valskra sverþa | greniuðu berserkir | guðr var þeim at sinne | emiuðu ulfheiðnar | oc isorn duþo |   [RDF]  edit 
 51x laðner varo þæir haulda | oc hvitra skiallda | vigra vestro᷎nna | oc valscra sværða | Græniaðu bersærkir | grunr var þæim a sinnum | ænn uðu ulfheðnar | oc i sar d-uðu |   [RDF]  edit 
 FskBx laðner varo þæir ha⸌u⸍lda | Oc hvitra sciallda | vigra vestrꝍnna | oc valscra sværða | ɢræniaðu bersærkir | grunr var þæim a sinnum | ænn uðu ulfheðnar oc | oc isar duðu |   [RDF]  edit 
 302x laðner varo þæir haulda | oc hvitra skiallda | vigra vestro᷎nna | oc valscra sværða | Græniaðu bersærkir | grunr var þæim a sinnum. | ænn uðu ulfheðnar | oc i sar duðu |   [VEÞ]  edit 
 FskAx Hlaðner varo þeir haulda | oc hvitra skialda | vighra vestrønna | oc valskra sverða | greniado berserkir | guðr var þeim a sinnu sumum | ymdu Ulfheðnar | oc i sar jarn duðu |   [RDF]  edit 
 52x Hlaðnir varo þeir hꜹlda | oc hvitra scialda | vighra vestrǫnna | oc valscra sverða | greniaðo berserkir | guðr var þeim a sumum | ymdu ulfheðnar | oc i sar jarn duðu |   [VEÞ]  edit 
 301x Ladnir varo þeir haulda | oc hvitra skialda , vigra vestrꝍnna , oc valskra sver | ða, greniaðo berserkir, guðr var þeim a sinnum ym | du Ulfheðnar oc i sar iarn duðu   [VEÞ]  edit 
 Flat Hladnir voru þeir holda huitum skiolldum ví | gr uestrænne ok uolskum suerdum greníudu besserkir gudr er þeim hlíf | de eníudu ulfhednar isarnn bítu·   [RDF]  edit 

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