This interface will soon cease to be publicly available. Use the new interface instead. Click here to switch over now.

Cookies on our website

We use cookies on this website, mainly to provide a secure browsing experience but also to collect statistics on how the website is used. You can find out more about the cookies we set, the information we store and how we use it on the cookies page.

Runic Dictionary

login: password: stay logged in: help

Þormóðr Kolbrúnarskáld (Þorm)

11th century; volume 5; ed. R. D. Fulk;

I. Lausavísur (Lv) - 21

This edition is currently in preparation. The biography below may represent a superseded edition, notes and/or an interim or draft version. Do not cite this material without consulting the volume and skald editors.

Þormóðr Bersason’s (Þorm) story is told in Fóstbrœðra saga ‘Saga of the Sworn Brothers’ (Fbr), and on its witness he may be supposed to have been born c. 998 and to have died of a wound received in the battle of Stiklestad in 1030. The saga, however, is untrustworthy as to particulars, as the author seems to have derived most of his information about the poet from the poetry available to him. According to the saga, in childhood he and his friend Þorgeirr Hávarsson each swore that he would avenge the killing of the other if he lived. The latter, at the age of fifteen, avenged the killing of his father, initiating a string of thirteen killings commemorated in Þormóðr’s poem celebrating his sworn brother, ÞorgeirsdrápaDrápa about Þorgeirr’ (Þorgdr). Even though their friendship ended when Þormóðr was about fifteen, Þormóðr travelled to Greenland after Þorgeirr was killed (c. 1024), to take vengeance on the perpetrator Þorgrímr trolli (‘Troll’? see Note to Fbr 29/1) and three of his sons. The poet earned his nickname kolbrúnarskáld ‘Coal-brow’s Poet’ for having composed poetry in praise of Þórbjǫrg kolbrún Glúmsdóttir, though none of these survive (probably for reasons of a moral nature; see Boyer 1990, 80). According to Þormóðar þáttr (Þorm; see Þorm Lv 10-11I) he served King Knútr inn ríki Sveinsson (Cnut the Great) in Denmark before returning to Norway, where he spent the last part of his short life in the service of the king, Óláfr Haraldsson (S. Óláfr). According to a memorable passage in Hkr, on the morning of the battle of Stiklestad he recited Bjarkamál in fornu (Anon Bjark 1-2III) to rouse the king’s troops. For further biographical information, see Finnur Jónsson (1932-3, 31-3), ÍF 6, lii-lxx and Schach (1993).

Lausavísur — Þorm LvV (Fbr)

R. D. Fulk 2012, ‘ Þormóðr Kolbrúnarskáld, Lausavísur’ 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. 820. <> (accessed 27 January 2022)

stanzas:  10   11   15   16   18   19   20   21   22   23   24   25 

cross-references:  17 = Anon (Vǫlsa) 11I 

for reference only:  18x   19x   20x   21x   22x   23x   24x   25x 

Skj: Þórmóðr Bersason Kolbrúnarskáld: 2. Lausavísur (AI, 281-8, BI, 260-6); stanzas (if different): 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 12 | 13 | 14

SkP info: I, 827

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

16 — Þorm Lv 16I

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: R. D. Fulk (ed.) 2012, ‘Þormóðr Kolbrúnarskáld, Lausavísur 16’ 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. 827.

Sex hefk alls, síz óxu
ónhjalta fjónir,
— kenndr emk við styr stundum —
stálregns boða vegna.
Þó emk enn at mun manna
morðs varliga orðinn
(vér létum þó þeira)
þrítøgr (skarar bíta).


I have killed, in all, {six announcers {of steel-rain}} [BATTLE > WARRIORS] since hostilities grew {against the Týr of sword-hilts}; [WARRIOR = me] I am at times known for fighting. Yet I am still barely turned thirty, to the satisfaction {of men of battle}; we [I] nonetheless caused their scalps to be cleaved.

context: In Þorm, a conversation follows the preceding stanza, in which the king asks Þormóðr how many men he has killed, and the poet replies with Lv 16. In ÞormR, the context is similar, but Þorm Lv 3V (Fbr 19) is also cited before this stanza. In ÓHLeg, the king asks the question for no apparent reason after Þormóðr has recited Bjarkamál on the way to Stiklestad (ON Stiklastaðir).

texts: Fbr, ÓH, ÓHLeg 51, Þorm 4, ÞormR, Flat 516

editions: Skj Þórmóðr Bersason Kolbrúnarskáld: 2. Lausavísur 16 (AI, 285; BI, 264); Skald I, 136, NN §§2483, 2484; Flat 1860-8, II, 203, Fbr 1925-7, 227, ÓH 1941, II, 802, ÍF 6, 286-7, ÍS III, 2279 (Þorm); Loth 1960a, 126 (Fbr ch. 14); ÍS III, 2281 (ÞormR); ÓHLeg 1849, 66, 117, ÓHLeg 1922, 80, ÓHLeg 1982, 184-5; Gaertner 1907, 310, 332-3, Finnur Jónsson 1932-3, 69-70.


GKS 1005 fol (Flat) 105ra, 56 - 105ra, 58 (Flat)  transcr.  image  image  image  
AM 142 folx (142x) 69, 14 - 69, 21 (Fbr)  transcr.  image  
AM 566 a 4°x (566ax) 2v, 7 - 2v, 14 (Fbr)  transcr.  image  
DG 8 (DG8) 99r, 16 - 99r, 18 (ÓHLeg)  transcr.  image  
AM 141 folx (141x) 31r, 23 - 31v, 1 (Fbr)  transcr.  image  image  
AM 761 b 4°x (761bx) 487v, 14 - 487v, 21  transcr.  image  
© 2008-