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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Tindr Hallkelsson (Tindr)

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

Hákonardrápa (Hákdr) - 11

Skj info: Tindr Hallkelsson, Islandsk skjald, d. efter 1015. (AI, 144-7, BI, 136-9).

Skj poems:
1. Drape om Hakon jarl
2. Lausavísur

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, ‘ 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. <> (accessed 17 January 2022)

 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, 345

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

4 — Tindr Hákdr 4I

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Russell Poole (ed.) 2012, ‘Tindr Hallkelsson, Hákonardrápa 4’ 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. 345.

Vann á Vinða sinni
verðbjóðr Hugins ferðar
(beit sólgagarr seilar)
sverðs eggja spor (leggi),
áðr hjǫrmeiðar hrjóða
(hætting vas þat) mætti
(leiðar) langra skeiða
(liðs) halfan tøg þriðja.


{The offerer {of the meal {of the flock of Huginn}}} [(lit. ‘meal-offerer of the flock of Huginn’) RAVENS > CORPSES > WARRIOR = Hákon] made {trails of the edges of the sword} [WOUNDS] on the company of the Wends — {the dog {of the sun of the strap}} [(lit. ‘sun-dog of the strap’) SHIELD > SWORD] bit limbsbefore {sword-trees} [WARRIORS] could clear twenty-five long warships; that was a menace for the army of the fleet.

context: In Hkr, the stanza is cited after the battle is over, and the Jómsvíkingar defeated. In Jvs, twenty-five of their ships have been cleared; sts 4-11 are cited virtually continuously.

notes: [5-8]: (a) Adopted in this edn is the interpretation of Reichardt (1928, 50-2), followed by Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson (ÍF 26), where liðs leiðar ‘the army of the fleet’ is treated as an attributive gen. depending on hætting ‘menace, danger’. Ms. meiðar is retained as a pl. form of meiðr ‘tree’, with the verb mætti (3rd pers. pret. subj.) ‘could’ correspondingly a pl. Kennings with this base-word are exceedingly common (cf. LP: meiðr). Other possibilities are as follows. (b) Liðs leiðar could be taken as governing skeiðar, hence ‘warships belonging to the levied army’ (so Fms 12; SHI 11; Jón Þorkelsson 1884, 56). (c) Liðs could be taken with hætting ‘menace for the army’ and leiðar as part of a kenning leiðar hjǫrmeiðir ‘destroyer of the sword-path [(lit. ‘sword-destroyer of the path’) SHIELD > WARRIOR]’ (so Finnur Jónsson 1886b, 333; cf. Hkr 1893-1901, IV; Skj B). However, this entails preferring the reading of 39 and F, meiðir ‘destroyer’, and since hjǫrmeiðir ‘sword-destroyer’ is in itself a standard kenning for ‘warrior’ there is no necessity for kenning inversion and complex word order (as pointed out by Kock, NN §431; cf. Reichardt 1928, 51); Reichardt additionally noted that leið is not elsewhere attested in kennings for ‘shield’. (c) Kock (NN §431) opted for a cpd, with tmesis, of leiðar with skeið, equating this with leiðangrsskip ‘ship obtained through a levy’. He then linked liðs with the verb hrjóða, explaining this as ‘to clear of the army, empty of men’; this solution is rejected by Reichardt (1928, 52). 

texts: Jvs 12, ÓT 100, ÓTC 38 (I 141), Hkr 169 (I 141)

editions: Skj Tindr Hallkelsson: 1. Drape om Hakon jarl 4 (AI, 145-6; BI, 136-7); Skald I, 75, NN §§431, 2755; Hkr 1893-1901, I, 337, IV, 90-1, ÍF 26, 286 (ch. 42), F 1871, 124; Fms 1, 183, Fms 12, 46, ÓT 1958-2000, I, 199-200 (ch. 90); Fms 11, 138, SHI 11, 119, 123, Jvs 1879, 82-3.


AM 35 folx (Kx) 162r, 26 - 162v, 6 (Hkr)  transcr.  image  image  
AM 39 fol (39) 8rb, 3 - 8rb, 6 (Hkr)  image  
AM 45 fol (F) 27rb, 35 - 27rb, 38 (Hkr)  transcr.  image  image  image  image  
AM 37 folx (J1x) 98r, 1 - 98r, 4 (Hkr)  image  
AM 38 folx (J2x) 90v, 19 - 90v, 26 (Hkr)  image  
AM 61 fol (61) 20vb, 6 - 20vb, 8 (ÓT)  image  image  
AM 54 fol (54) 17rb, 16 - 17rb, 19 (ÓT)  image  
Holm perg 1 fol (Bb) 27vb, 1 - 27vb, 4 (ÓT)  image  
AM 510 4° (510) 62r, 17 - 62r, 19 (Jvs)  transcr.  image  
AM 761 b 4°x (761bx) 393r, 14 - 393r, 21  image  
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