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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, 350

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

7 — Tindr Hákdr 7I

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Russell Poole (ed.) 2012, ‘Tindr Hallkelsson, Hákonardrápa 7’ 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. 350.

Saddi jarl, þars odda
ofþing saman gingu,
(vann Hanga vals hungri)
hrafna (byrgis nafni).
Morðskýja* varð mávi
Mistar gótt til vista
heiðins dóms at háða
hríð v markar síðu.

Jarl saddi hrafna, þars {ofþing odda} gingu saman; {nafni byrgis} vann hungri {vals Hanga}. Varð gótt til vista {mávi Mistar} v síðu {markar heiðins dóms} at háða {hríð {morðskýja*}}.

The jarl sated the ravens, where {the mighty assemblies of barbs} [BATTLES] came together; {the namesake of the protector} [= Hákon] overcame the hunger {of the falcon of Hangi <= Óðinn>} [RAVEN]. It became good for provisions {for the seagull of Mist <valkyrie>} [RAVEN/EAGLE] by the coast {of the forest of heathendom} [NORWAY] after {the storm {of killing-clouds}} [SHIELDS > BATTLE] [was] waged.

Mss: 510(62r) (Jvs)

Readings: [3] Hanga: hugða 510;    vals: valt 510    [4] hrafna: hranna 510    [5] ‑skýja*: ‘skyar’ 510;    mávi: mǫnnum 510    [8] hríð: ǫld 510;    v: vann 510

Editions: Skj: Tindr Hallkelsson, 1. Drape om Hakon jarl 7: AI, 146, BI, 137, Skald I, 75, NN §434; Fms 11, 138, Fms 12, 239-40, SHI 11, 119-20, 125-6, Jvs 1879, 83-4.

Context: As for st. 4.

Notes: [1-4]: Some emendations in the helmingr are unavoidable, and the following are adopted: Hanga ‘of Hangi <= Óðinn>’ for hugða and vals ‘of the falcon’ for valt in l. 3; and hrafna ‘ravens’ for hranna in l. 4. These were originally proposed by Sveinbjörn Egilsson in Fms 12 and/or SHI 12. — [4] nafni byrgis ‘the namesake of the protector [= Hákon]’: Although the referent is unmistakable, the working of the allusion remains obscure. The noun nafni ‘namesake’ can be used to denote a person who shares a given name with another well-known figure, as with the two kings Óláfr (Sigv Berv 6/8II). In one instance the clue is instead given by the gen. of a nickname accompanying nafni: Hildr Lv 1/1 nafni Nefju ‘[Hrólfr], namesake of [Hrólfr] Nefja’. A relevant Byrgi(r) (whether given name or nickname) has yet to be identified, but if byrgi(r) is a nickname or common noun it is likely to mean ‘protector, protection, defence’ (cf. borg f. and byrgi n., both ‘fortress, stronghold’, and byrgja ‘to enclose’). Meanwhile, the most likely namesake for Hákon jarl would be his C10th predecessor King Hákon góði, and since heiðinn dómr ‘heathendom’ is pointedly referred to in l. 7 (see Note below), it is possible that the allusion is to Hákon (indeed both Hákons) as a protector of the ancestral religion (cf. ‘Ruler biographies’ in Introduction to this volume). Finnur Jónsson (1886b, 342; Skj B) proposed emendation to fylkis ‘of the leader, ruler’; a nafni fylkis would in his analysis be a jarl, i.e. Hákon, but this diverges from the skaldic usage of nafni noted above. — [5-8]: (a) The solution of Finnur Jónsson (partly based on conjectures by Sveinbjörn Egilsson) is adopted in this edn. Finnur (1886b, 343) emended ms. mǫnnum ‘to men’ to mávi (dat. sg.) ‘for the sea-gull’ in l. 5. For ms. vann in l. 8 he initially proposed fyr ‘before’ (1886b, 343) but later við ‘by’ (Skj B). He adopted Sveinbjörn Egilsson’s explanation of the phrase mǫrk heiðins dóms ‘forest-land of heathendom’ in ll. 7-8 and his emendation to hríð ‘storm’ in l. 8 (see Notes below). — [5, 7, 8] at háða hríð morðskýja* ‘after the storm of killing-clouds [SHIELDS > BATTLE] [was] waged’: Háða is f. acc. sg. p. p. from heyja ‘to perform, hold, wage’, hence lit. ‘after the waged battle’. For the construction of at + acc., cf. LP: 1. at B. — [7, 8] markar heiðins dóms ‘of the forest of heathendom [NORWAY]’: The basis of the kenning appears to be that the part of Norway controlled by Hákon jarl represented the strongest bastion of heathendom, in contradistinction to Denmark and the districts in Norway controlled by Denmark, where Christianity was assuming dominance (Fms 12; LP (1860): mörk 2; cf. Finnur Jónsson 1886b, 342). This attestation of heiðinn dómr, which is among the first in ON, seems to acknowledge paganism as a religion distinct from kristindómr ‘Christianity’, a loan from OE which is unrecorded before the early C11th (Abrams 1998, 111-12, 124). — [8] hríð ‘the storm’: This emendation of ms. ǫld is indicated by both metre and sense, and is generally accepted. Kock (NN §434) suggests taking hríð as the ókend heiti for ‘battle’, combining Mistar morðskýja ‘of the Mist <valkyrie> of killing-clouds’ in ll. 5, 6 to give sköldrustad valkyria ‘shield-equipped valkyrie’, and taking this as a determinant for mávi ‘seagull’, but this analysis is counter to skaldic usage, despite the further putative examples given in NN §2987H.

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