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Tindr Hallkelsson (Tindr)

10th century; volume 1; ed. Russell Poole;

Hákonardrápa (Hákdr) - 11

Tindr Hallkelsson (Tindr), an Icelander, was born around the middle of the tenth century and belonged to the illustrious family of Gilsbekkingar; he bore the nickname inn frœkni ‘the Brave’ (Finnur Jónsson 1886b, 309-10). His father occupied a property called Hallkelsstaðir, according to Harðar saga Grímkelssonar (ÍF 13, 96). Ldn (ÍF 1, 82-3) mentions him as a brother of the chieftain Illugi svarti ‘the Black’ at Gilsbakki, thus paternal uncle of the poet Gunnlaugr ormstunga ‘Serpent-tongue’ (GunnlIV), as noted in Gunnlaugs saga (ÍF 3, 58; cf. ÍF 13, 138). He was also a fifth-generation descendant of the skald Bragi Boddason (BragiIII; ÍF 1, 82) and great-grandfather of Gísl Illugason (GíslII; ÍF 1, 111; cf. ÍF 3, 331). His skills as a poet within this skaldic lineage are discussed by de Vries (1964-7, I, 178). His daughters Jóreiðr and Hallveig and son Þorvaldr are mentioned in Ldn (ÍF 1, 108, 137, 111 respectively); the name of a wife, if any, is not recorded.

Little is known about Tindr’s life and career, the fullest source being the incompletely preserved and historically unreliable Heiðarvíga saga (Heið). Ldn (ÍF 1, 83) notes his part in avenging the death of his brother, perhaps early in his adult life before his time in Norway. Skáldatal (SnE 1848-87, III, 256, 280) includes him among the poets affiliated to Hákon jarl Sigurðarson. Both Fsk (‘A’ redaction only, ÍF 29, 131) and the version of Jvs in ms. 510 (Jvs 1879, 82) show him fighting on Hákon’s side at the battle of Hjǫrungavágr (Liavågen, c. 985) (cf. Finnur Jónsson 1886b, 309) and as having composed Hákonardrápa, his main surviving work, as a detailed narrative on that theme, probably shortly after the action (LH I, 536). There are no reliable reports of his serving other rulers. The statement in Harðar saga (ÍF 13, 36) that places him in Norway as early as the reign of Haraldr gráfeldr ‘Grey-cloak’ (c. 961-c. 970) can be dismissed on chronological grounds (LH I, 536; ÍF 13, 96 n. 4). After his return to Iceland Tindr played a prominent role in the famous Heiðarvíg ‘Battle of the heath’ (c. 1015), as reported in Heið (ÍF 3, 298). The saga (ÍF 3, 307) includes two lausavísur spoken by him as he lies severely wounded in the battle (Tindr Lv 1-2V (Heið 14-15)); his death apparently followed shortly afterwards.

Hákonardrápa — Tindr HákdrI

Russell Poole 2012, ‘(Introduction to) Tindr Hallkelsson, Hákonardrápa’ 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. 336.

stanzas:  1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11 

Skj: Tindr Hallkelsson: 1. Drape om Hakon jarl, o. 987 (AI, 144-7, BI, 136-8)

SkP info: I, 338

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

1 — Tindr Hákdr 1I

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Russell Poole (ed.) 2012, ‘Tindr Hallkelsson, Hákonardrápa 1’ 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. 338.

Varða, gims sem gerði
Gerðr bjúglimum herða
— gnýr óx Fjǫlnis fúra —
farlig sæing jarli,
þás hringfôum Hanga
hrynserk Viðurr brynju
— hruðusk riðmarar Róða
rastar — varð at kasta.


It did not come about as if {an attractive Gerðr of the fire} [WOMAN] made a bed for the jarl {with her curving branches of the shoulders} — [ARMS] {the din {of the fires of Fjǫlnir}} [SWORDS > BATTLE] increased —, when {the Viðurr of the mail-shirt} [WARRIOR = Hákon] had to throw off {his ring-depleted clanging shirt of Hangi}; [MAIL-SHIRT] {the riding horses {of the path of Róði}} [SEA > SHIPS] were cleared.


Hkr and ÓT describe the onset of the battle of Hjǫrungavágr (Liavågen). The Jómsvíkingar attack resolutely, causing substantial Norwegian casualties. Hákon’s mail-shirt is so severely damaged that he is obliged to throw it away; sts 1 and 3/5-8 are then cited. Jvs incorporates this stanza at the point where two troll-women are seen standing on Hákon’s ship, flinging arrows at the Jómsvíkingar from their fingers. Hákon fights so energetically that the heat of combat obliges him to shed his mail-shirt; sts 1-3 are then cited virtually continuously. SnE uses st. 1/5-8 in a section exemplifying kennings for weapons and armour, in this case serkr Róða ‘shirt of Róði’ as a kenning for ‘mail-shirt’ (though see Note to ll. 7-8 below).

notes: [1-4]: Faulkes (SnE 1998, I, 195) conveys the general logic of the helmingr in his comment that it ‘contrasts the hardships of battle with the luxury of sleeping with a beautiful woman’ (cf. a similar contrast in Stefnir Lv 2 and in Vígf Lv, another stanza associated with Hjǫrungavágr). Earlier interpretations by Sveinbjörn Egilsson (Fms 12; SHI 11; LP (1860): sæing) and Finnur Jónsson (1886b, 319; Hkr 1893-1901, IV) which attempted to explain sæing, normally ‘bed’, as a sewn mail-shirt or over-garment are abandoned in Skj B and convincingly refuted by Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson in ÍF 26.

texts: Jvs 9, ÓT 83, ÓTC 36 (I 139), Skm 230 [5-8], Hkr 167 (I 139), SnE 232 [5-8]

editions: Skj Tindr Hallkelsson: 1. Drape om Hakon jarl 1 (AI, 144-5; BI, 136); Skald I, 75, NN §§164, 2444; Hkr 1893-1901, I, 331, IV, 89-90, ÍF 26, 281-2 (ch. 40), F 1871, 122; Fms 1, 173, Fms 12, 43, ÓT 1958-2000, I, 189-90 (ch. 90); Fms 11, 137, SHI 11, 118, 120-1, Jvs 1879, 81-2; SnE 1848-87, I, 422-3, II, 328, 439, 588, SnE 1931, 150, SnE 1998, I, 68, 195. 


AM 35 folx (Kx) 159v, 16 - 159v, 23 (Hkr)  transcr.  image  image  
AM 39 fol (39) 7va, 15 - 7va, 19 (Hkr)  image  
AM 45 fol (F) 26vb, 33 - 26vb, 36 (Hkr)  transcr.  image  image  image  image  
AM 37 folx (J1x) 96r, 7 - 96r, 11 (Hkr)  image  
AM 38 folx (J2x) 89r, 22 - 89r, 29 (Hkr)  image  
AM 61 fol (61) 19vb, 26 - 19vb, 28 (ÓT)  image  image  
AM 54 fol (54) 16ra, 36 - 16ra, 39 (ÓT)  image  
Holm perg 1 fol (Bb) 26va, 8 - 26va, 11 (ÓT)  image  
AM 510 4° (510) 62r, 6 - 62r, 9 (Jvs)  transcr.  image  
GKS 2367 4° (R) 34r, 4 - 34r, 5 (SnE)  image  image  image  
Traj 1374x (Tx) 35r, 34 - 35v, 1 [5-8] (SnE)  image  
AM 242 fol (W) 77, 24 - 77, 25 (SnE)  image  image  image  
DG 11 (U) 33r, 3 - 33r, 5 [5-8] (SnE)  image  image  
AM 748 I b 4° (A) 11r, 22 - 11r, 23 (SnE)  transcr.  image  image  
AM 748 II 4° (C) 5v, 6 - 5v, 7 (SnE)  image  image  
AM 761 b 4°x (761bx) 393r, 2 - 393r, 9  image  
Runic data from Samnordisk runtextdatabas, Uppsala universitet, unless otherwise stated