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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, 354

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

10 — Tindr Hákdr 10I

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Russell Poole (ed.) 2012, ‘Tindr Hallkelsson, Hákonardrápa 10’ 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. 354.

Þás fyr borð á barða
* bǫðvar fangs at ganga
veðrmagnanda Viðris
virðendr Búa kenndu.
Mikinn gerði herr hjǫrva
hljóm*; runnu þá sunnan
bauga skeiðr at breiðu
Baldrs Hôkunar valdi.

Þás {virðendr {fangs * bǫðvar}} á barða kenndu {{Viðris veðr}magnanda}, Búa, at ganga fyr borð. Herr gerði {mikinn hljóm* hjǫrva}; skeiðr {Baldrs bauga} runnu þá sunnan at breiðu valdi Hôkunar.

When {the guardians {of the tunic of battle}} [MAIL-SHIRT > WARRIORS] on the ship taught {the strengthener {of the storm of Viðrir <= Óðinn>}} [(lit. ‘storm-strengthener of Viðrir’) BATTLE > WARRIOR], Búi, to go overboard. The army made {a great tumult of swords} [BATTLE]; the warships {of the Baldr <god> of rings} [MAN] then ran from the south towards the wide domain of Hákon.

Mss: 510(62v) (Jvs)

Readings: [2] * bǫðvar: í brúðar 510;    fangs: fang 510    [6] hljóm*: hljómr 510;    runnu þá: Búi 510    [7] skeiðr: skerðr 510    [8] Baldrs: Baldr 510

Editions: Skj: Tindr Hallkelsson, 1. Drape om Hakon jarl 10: AI, 147, BI, 138, Skald I, 76, NN §§327D, 437, 1912, 2405; Fms 11, 140, Fms 12, 240, SHI 11, 129-30, Jvs 1879, 85.

Context: The Jómsvíkingar realise that defeat is inevitable in the face of supernatural opposition. Búi seizes two chests full of gold, calls on his men to leap overboard and then jumps into the sea.

Notes: [All]: The two helmingar may have belonged originally to distinct stanzas, as suggested by Finnur Jónsson (1886b, 353-4). The subject-matter of ll. 5-8, the approach of the Danish expedition from the south, seems to be distinct from that of ll. 1-4, the battle itself. Additionally, the conj. þás ‘when’ in l. 1 introduces a subordinate clause that must have continued a prior statement now lost. This is suggested both by its incomplete meaning and by the fact that in normal skaldic practice a subordinate clause would follow, but not precede, a main clause (Kuhn 1983, 190-1). — [1-4]: (a) The interpretation here is essentially that of Finnur Jónsson (1886b, 353-4; Skj B), including his analysis of l. 2 (see Note below) and his overall construal, in which Viðris veðrmagnanda ‘the strengthener of the storm of Viðrir <= Óðinn> [(lit. ‘storm-strengthener of Viðrir’) BATTLE > WARRIOR]’ is taken in apposition with Búa ‘Búi’. However, such apposition is rare in early skaldic poetry, and some corruption of the text is possible, given the generally garbled state of the poem in 510. Other suggestions have been the following. (b) Sveinbjörn Egilsson (Fms 12; SHI 11; cf. LP (1860): bruðr 2) explains ms. bruðar as gen. sg. from bruðr/brunnr ‘spring, well’ taken in the sense of ‘sea’ and combined with fangs (for ms. fang), taken in the sense of ‘combat’, thus yielding the interpretation ‘sea-battle’. However, this is not recognisable skaldic idiom and bruðar would be unmetrical since a long syllable (brúð-) would be required. (c) Kock (NN §§437, 1912) argues for an adverbial gen. brúðar fangs ‘into the bride’s embrace’, referring to the sea-goddess Rán, i.e. the sea into which Búi famously leaps (see Context). He notes close verbal correspondences between this stanza and Vagn Lv, though there the embrace of a woman is literal. Additionally, Kock (NN §437, citing §327D) proposes a sense of virðendr equivalent to virðar ‘men’, but such a use of agentives would not be idiomatic and accordingly these suggestions were rejected by Reichardt (1930, 245). — [1] á barða ‘on the ship’: Barði is named as the ship of Eiríkr jarl Hákonarson in accounts of the later battle of Svǫlðr (e.g. ÍF 26, 359), but here the common noun seems more likely. Á barða is taken here to refer to the position of the warriors since if it referred to Búi leaping a phrase meaning ‘from the ship’ would be required. — [2] fangs * bǫðvar ‘of the tunic of battle [MAIL-SHIRT]’: The prep. í at the beginning of l. 2 is deleted by all eds since it produces a hypermetrical line and poor sense. In this edn, fang, emended to fangs, is taken in the sense ‘tunic’ (so Skj B, provisionally accepted by Reichardt 1930, 245, and cf. Hfr ErfÓl 3/3 and Note) and combined with the determinant bǫðvar ‘of battle’ by emendation from ms. brúðar (Skj B) to give a kenning for ‘mail-shirt’. — [4] Búa ‘Búi’: See Note to st. 2/2, 4. — [4] kenndu ‘taught’: It is unclear why Búi’s men are said to ‘teach’ him here. In later accounts (e.g. ÞGísl Búdr 11, Bjbp Jóms 36 and their Contexts) Búi leaps overboard, calling to his men to follow him. — [5-8]: Most of the emendations and the construal adopted in this edn were proposed by Finnur Jónsson (1886b, 352-3; Skj B) and retained by Kock in Skald. — [6] hljóm* ‘tumult’: A minor and generally accepted emendation from ms. hljómr, first proposed by Sveinbjörn Egilsson (Fms 12; SHI 11). — [6] runnu þá ‘then ran’: Emended from Búi. Line 6 in the ms. lacks hending and is one syllable short, as well as being difficult to construe, making radical emendation necessary. The ms. reading Búi may have been influenced by the general fame of Búi and by the occurrence of the name in l. 4. Skj B emends to es runnu ‘when ... ran’, but this produces a non-standard Type A even line, with rhyme in positions 3 and 5. — [7] skeiðr ‘warships’: The minimal emendation from ms. skerð- to skeið- was proposed by Sveinbjörn Egilsson (Fms 12; SHI 11) and adopted by subsequent eds. Sveinbjörn read disyllabic skeiðir, and accordingly emended bauga to baugs. — [7, 8] Baldrs bauga ‘of the Baldr <god> of rings [MAN]’: Following Finnur Jónsson (1886b, 352-3; Skj B), gen. sg. Baldrs (emended from ms. Baldr) bauga is construed with skeiðr ‘longships’. Finnur takes the kenning to refer to Búi, but unless ms. Búi is retained in l. 6 it is not clear why the attacking fleet should be referred to as Búi’s in particular. Sveinbjörn Egilsson (Fms 12; SHI 11) read Baldr baugs as a vocative, addressed to a member of the skald’s audience, but this is less convincing.

Runic data from Samnordisk runtextdatabas, Uppsala universitet, unless otherwise stated