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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, ‘ 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 5 August 2021)

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, 348

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

6 — Tindr Hákdr 6I

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Russell Poole (ed.) 2012, ‘Tindr Hallkelsson, Hákonardrápa 6’ 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. 348.

Gjǫrðusk — Gǫndlar borða
glaumr óx þar at * Naumu —
auði grimms at eyðask
ǫll lǫnd Dana brandi.
Kennt hefr heggr at hǫggva
hræ*birtinga sævar
veðreggjǫndum viggja*
vegg*s niðr of þat skeggi.

Ǫll lǫnd grimms auði gjǫrðusk at eyðask brandi Dana; {glaumr {borða Gǫndlar}} óx þar at * Naumu. {Heggr {hræ*birtinga}} hefr kennt {{{{sævar viggja*} vegg*s} veðr}eggjǫndum} at hǫggva skeggi niðr of þat.

All the lands of the one hostile to riches [Hákon] came to be laid waste with the sword of the Danes; {the revelry {of the planks of Gǫndul <valkyrie>}} [SHIELDS > BATTLE] increased there at Nauma. {The bird-cherry {of the corpse-trout}} [SWORDS > WARRIOR = Hákon] has taught {the inciters {of the weather {of the wall {of the horses of the sea}}}} [(lit. ‘weather-inciters of the wall of the horses of the sea’) SHIPS > SHIELD > BATTLE > WARRIORS] to hit down with their beards on account of that.

Mss: 510(62r) (Jvs)

Readings: [2] at *: at er 510    [3] eyðask: eyðisk 510    [5] heggr: hægur 510    [6] hræ*birtinga: ‘hræber bírtíngum’ 510;    sævar: ‘senar’ 510    [7] veðr‑: veðs 510;    viggja*: viggjar 510    [8] vegg*s: ‘veggurs’ 510;    niðr: niðs 510

Editions: Skj: Tindr Hallkelsson, 1. Drape om Hakon jarl 6: AI, 146, BI, 137, Skald I, 75, NN §433; Fms 11, 138, Fms 12, 239, SHI 11, 119, 124-5, Jvs 1879, 83.

Context: As for st. 4.

Notes: [1-4]: This helmingr seems to indicate that the Danes raided Norway widely, if sporadically, in advance of the battle at Hjǫrungavágr (cf. ÍF 26, 277). Many difficulties are posed by these lines, however. (a) In this edn the key assumptions are that the initial verb is gjǫrðusk (3rd pers. pl. pret. indic.) ‘came to be’, lit. ‘made themselves’ from gera (so Sveinbjörn Egilsson, SHI 11); that ms. er in l. 2 should be deleted (Kock, NN §433, noting that superfluous words occur frequently in the text of 510); that Naumu (dat. sg.) in l. 2 represents a p. n. Nauma, governed by prep. at; that grimms (gen. sg.) ‘hostile’ in l. 3 is an adj. used substantivally (SHI 11; cf. Sigv Nesv 6/2, 14/8); that ms. ‘eyðiz’ (l. 3) should be emended to eyðask ‘be laid waste’; and that brandi (dat. sg.) in l. 4 means ‘with the sword’. The helmingr has been extensively debated in previous scholarship, with the following as the principal contributions. (b) Sveinbjörn Egilsson wavered between eyðask ‘to be laid waste’ and brandi ‘sword’ on the one hand (SHI 11), and eyðis ‘of the destroyer’ and brandi ‘flame’ on the other (Fms 12; cf. LP (1860): eyðir). (c) Finnur Jónsson (1886b, 338; cf. Skj B) reversed the relationship of the main and subordinate clauses and took ms. ‘giorduzt’ as representing a form of gerða ‘to surround’, combined with brandi in the sense of ‘ship’s prow’, and he emended at in l. 2 to the expletive particle of. This gives Gǫndlar borða naumu glaumr óx, þar es ǫll lǫnd auði grimms Dana eyðis of gerðusk brandi ‘The revelry of the giantess of the planks of Gǫndul <valkyrie> [SHIELDS > VALKYRIE > BATTLE] intensified, where all the lands of the devastator of the Danes [= Hákon], hostile to gold, were encircled by the prow(s)’. For the idea of encirclement as a protection against an invading adversary, Finnur Jónsson cites ÞKolb Eirdr 2/5-8. Nauma is here taken as a giantess-name. This interpretation, however, entails the problematic assumption that of (by emendation) and gjǫrðusk are to be construed together, although so distant in the text. (d) Kock (NN §433) rejects Finnur’s þar es ‘where’ on the grounds that it would reduce to one syllable, making the line unmetrical. He reverts to gerðusk/gjǫrðusk ‘came to be’ as from gera, brandi as ‘with the sword’ and eyðisk (seemingly construed as subj. from eyðask) as ‘laid waste’ and proposes to interpret Gǫndlar borða glaumr… at naumu as gnyende av sköldetrollet ‘clamour from/of the shield-troll’. Presumably Kock regarded this as equivalent to a kenning ‘clamour of the troll-woman of the shield [AXE > BATTLE]’ but the prepositional phrase at naumu does not conform to normal kenning structure. (e) Reichardt (1928, 204) continues Finnur Jónsson’s analysis of the lexis but normalises the relationship between main and subordinate clauses. — [2] Naumu ‘Nauma’: This heiti is most frequently attested as the name of a giantess or possibly a goddess (see Þjóð Yt 22/6, Ótt Lv 3/8 and Notes), and it is taken thus in most previous eds, but this leads to problems with the kennings, as noted above. An alternative is to interpret Nauma as a p. n. It is listed among the island-heiti in Þul Eyja 4/1III (though the place is unidentified), is attested in the Norw. p. n. Numedal (ON Naumudalr) and is postulated as a p. n. or river-name in Norw. place names such as Namsen and Namsfjorden (see Sandnes and Stemshaug 1990, 229, 237). A p. n. Nauma does not occur elsewhere in the Jómsvíking tradition, but Tindr’s poem may have preserved information missing from other accounts: cf. the mention of the apparent p. n. Goðmarr in st. 11/4. — [3] grimms auði ‘of the one hostile to riches [Hákon]’: An unusual substantival use of the adj. is assumed here, resulting in a phrase that contains the same notion as many kennings for ‘generous man’: that a man is hostile to rich goods since he gives them away lavishly to his followers. — [4] Dana ‘of the Danes’: The mention of Danes here complements the previous mention of the Wends (st. 4/1), making clear that the two groups had formed a joint expedition against Hákon jarl (ÍF 26, cxi). — [5-8]: This edn adopts the readings proposed by Finnur Jónsson (Skj B, followed by Kock in Skald); several of these also go back to Sveinbjörn Egilsson in Fms 12. Necessary emendations are heggr, the tree-name ‘bird-cherry’, for ‘hægur’ in l. 5; gen. pl. birtinga for dat. pl. birtingum ‘sea-trout’ in l. 6; sævar ‘of the sea’ for ‘senar’ in l. 6; viggja ‘of horses’ for ‘viggjar’ in l. 7; and niðr ‘down’ for ‘niðz’ in l. 8. In l. 6, ‘hræber bírt-’ is evidently a dittography for hræ birt-. — [5, 8] hǫggva skeggi niðr ‘hit down with their beards’: I.e. to fall dead; cf. HaukrV Ísldr 12/5, 8IV hǫggva bǫrðum í gras ‘strike their beards into the grass’. Skeggi is lit. ‘(with the) beard’ (dat. sg.). — [8] of þat ‘on account of that’: I.e. because of the attack on Norway by the Danish king’s fleet (Janus Jónsson 1889, 283).

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