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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 20 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.

{{{Ferðar Hugins} verð}bjóðr} vann {spor eggja sverðs} á sinni Vinða — {{seilar sól}gagarr} beit leggi —, áðr {hjǫrmeiðar} mætti hrjóða halfan þriðja tøg langra skeiða; þat vas hætting liðs leiðar.

{The offerer {of the meal {of the flock of Huginn <raven>}}} [(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 limbs — before {sword-trees} [WARRIORS] could clear twenty-five long warships; that was a menace for the army of the fleet.

Mss: (162r-v), 39(8rb), F(27rb), J1ˣ(98r), J2ˣ(90v) (Hkr); 61(20vb), 54(17rb), Bb(27vb) (ÓT); 510(62r) (Jvs)

Readings: [1] á: at 510;    Vinða: vág at 61, níunda 510;    sinni: mǫnnum 54, Bb    [2] verð‑: sið 54, við Bb;    ‑bjóðr: ‑bjóði 510;    ferðar: ferðir J1ˣ, ‘f[…]’ J2ˣ    [3] seilar: sveita 510    [4] sverðs: sverð J1ˣ, 510;    eggja: eggjar J1ˣ, 54, Bb;    leggi: leggja 61    [5] áðr: at 510;    ‑meiðar: meiðir 39, F, ‘meðir’ J1ˣ;    hrjóða: ‘hriðða’ F, ‘h[...]’ 510    [6] hætting: so J1ˣ, J2ˣ, 54, Bb, 510, ‘hatting’ Kˣ, hœting 39, F, ‘hetting’ 61;    vas (‘var’): varð Bb;    þat: so F, J1ˣ, 61, 54, Bb, 510, om. Kˣ, 39, J2ˣ;    mætti: mœti 39, F, mátti J1ˣ    [7] leiðar: so 39, F, 61, 510, liðar Kˣ, J2ˣ, leiðir J1ˣ, leiðing 54, Bb;    langra: langa 510    [8] tøg: ‘tyg’ J1ˣ, ‘tugg’ Bb

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.

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: [1] vann ‘made’: Finnur Jónsson prints vanur as the 510 reading in Skj A, but this is not correct. — [1] sinni Vinða ‘the company of the Wends’: Interpreted thus by most eds (Jón Þorkelsson 1884, 56-7 is an exception). This reference is a key one for scholarly discussions of the Jómsvíkingar (Finnur Jónsson 1910-12, 169-71; ÍF 26, cxi-cxii). It confirms the involvement of Wendish troops from the Baltic alongside the Danish forces mentioned at st. 6/4, but it does not either prove or disprove the existence of the warrior fraternity known in later sources (though not in contemporary poetry) as the Jómsvíkingar. — [3] seilar sólgagarr ‘the dog of the sun of the strap [(lit. ‘sun-dog of the strap’) SHIELD > SWORD]’:  Seil f. here seems to denote the strap or thong by which a shield is held, and sól ‘sun’ is suitable as a base-word to a shield-kenning because of its circular shape and brightness (Meissner 167-8). For further sword-kennings with a base-word meaning ‘wolf, dog’, see Meissner 155. — [4] leggi ‘limbs’: Comparing ÞKolb Eirdr 15/4, Kock (NN §2755) argues for leggja ‘lay, place’, the reading of 61, but the parallel is only partial. — [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).  — [7] leiðar ‘of the fleet’: Most scholars interpret this as ‘levy’, equivalent to leiðangr ‘levy’ (comparing st. 9/4). Thus Finnur Jónsson (LP: leið 2) glosses the word as leding, ledingsfærd, hærtog tilsøs ‘levy, voyage of the levy, military expedition at sea’, a notion extensively canvassed by Malmros (1985; 1999; 2002). But the evidence for this technical sense at so early a date is insecure (Jesch 2001a, 196-8). — [8] liðs ‘for the army’: Lit. ‘of the army’. Finnur Jónsson (Hkr 1893-1901, IV) identifies the lið with Hákon’s personal retinue; compare Jesch (2001a, 188): ‘troop or retinue accompanying a shipborne war-leader’, presumably also acting as his crew.

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