This interface will soon cease to be publicly available. Use the new interface instead. Click here to switch over now.

Cookies on our website

We use cookies on this website, mainly to provide a secure browsing experience but also to collect statistics on how the website is used. You can find out more about the cookies we set, the information we store and how we use it on the cookies page.

Data from Samnordisk runtextdatabas

login: password: stay logged in: help

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 19 September 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, 351

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

8 — Tindr Hákdr 8I

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Russell Poole (ed.) 2012, ‘Tindr Hallkelsson, Hákonardrápa 8’ 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. 351.

Þá* veit ǫld, meðan aldir,
Yggs, Þriðja man byggva,
gnótt þess’s gǫglum veitti,
gæfs kunar ævi.
Því hykk †bitrum beita
bǫnd at vildu landi
hykk ‘lar eide’ lýða
lætr hverjum gram betri.†


People will know about the life of generous kon, who supplied plenty {to the geese of Yggr}, [RAVENS] as long as generations inhabit {the maiden of Þriði}. [= Jǫrð (jǫrð ‘land’)] For this reason I think

context: As for st. 4.

notes: [1-4]: The helmingr evidently contains a conventional statement that Hákon’s life will be remembered as long as the land is inhabited, and a rel. clause introduced by þess’s ‘(of the one) who’ representing him as feeding the birds of battle, but the detail of the text requires emendation. (a) This edn follows the interpretation proposed by Reichardt (1930, 246-7), which accepted previous emendations of þá (f. sg. acc.) ‘the, that’ for þat and veit ‘know’ for vill in l. 1; Yggs ‘of Yggr <= Óðinn>’ for yngs, Þriðja ‘of Þriði <= Óðinn> for kveðju and man ‘maiden’ for menn in l. 2; and gæfs ‘generous’ for glaum in l. 4. Reichardt posits two kennings, gǫglum Yggs ‘to the geese of Yggr <= Óðinn> [RAVENS]’ and man Þriðja ‘the maiden of Þriði <= Óðinn> [= Jǫrð (jǫrð “land”)’. Other interpretations are, briefly, as follows. (b) Finnur Jónsson (Skj B; LP: 2. glær) makes some of the same emendations, and tentatively emends ms. kveðju to hræva ‘of corpses’ and glaum to glæs, hence glæs hræva ‘of the sea of corpses [BLOOD]’. (c) Kock (NN §435) restores most of these ms. readings and explains Yggs kveðju-man as det viv, som hälsas av Odin ‘the woman who is greeted by Óðinn’, putatively a kenning for ‘Jǫrð, land’. The initial demonstrative þat n. in þat vill ǫld (l. 1) ‘people want that’ is explained as introducing an ensuing noun object ævi Hôkunar ‘Hákon’s life’ (l. 4), but the two parallels offered in NN §1911 involve verbs of hearing or learning, whereas vill ‘want’ seems out of place in such a construction and is unexplained by Kock. He treats gǫglum ‘geese’ as an ókend heiti for ‘eagle’, qualified by græum ‘grey’ emended from glaum (NN §§1911C, 2710). — [5-8]: This helmingr has presented apparently insoluble difficulties to all eds, and as Finnur Jónsson (1886b, 346-7) points out, the repetition of hykk ‘I think’ within the single helmingr clearly indicates an error. None of the suggestions below has been felt secure enough to incorporate in the present edn. (a) Sveinbjörn Egilsson in Fms 12 reads (in prose order): Hykk lýða láreiði hverjum gram betra [ms. betri] ; því, hykk, (hann) lætr beita bitrum brand [ms. bǫnd] at vildu landi, which is apparently interpreted, ‘I believe the warrior is better than any prince; because, I believe, he makes the sharp sword bite in the beloved land [i.e. defends Norway bravely].’ Here brand ‘sword’ supplies a dat. sg. noun for adj. bitrum to qualify. The kenning láreiði lýða is taken to mean ‘warrior, Hákon’, but not explained. (b) Finnur Jónsson in Skj B reads (in prose order): því hykk at bǫnd vildu hyrs [ms. hykk] lá-reiði betra [ms. betri] hverjum gram(?), which gives ‘therefore/because I believe that the gods wished the despatcher of the flame of the wave [(lit. ‘wave-despatcher of the flame’) GOLD > GENEROUS MAN] [to be] better than any prince’; cf. LP: láreiðir. The rest is left as uninterpretable. (c) Kock’s text in Skald gives the helmingr as two couplets separated by a colon at the end of l. 6, which gives the prose order: Því hykk at bǫnd vildu beita bitrum landa [ms. landi]: hykk betri hverjum gram letr [ms. lætr] læv-eiða [ms. láreiði] lýða, and the sense (NN §435): ‘[Only] in this do I believe that the gods chose to treat the people of the land harshly: I believe [that the one who is] better than any prince thwarts the people’s malicious oaths’. He compares beita bitrum ‘treat with bitter things, treat harshly’ with beita e-n vélum ‘treat someone with deceit’ and with the adverbial dat. pl. in stíga stórum ‘stride with great steps, stride largely’. To supply the gen. obj. of letja ‘thwart, hinder’, Kock emends ms. ‘lar eiðe’ to læveiða ‘malicious oaths’, on the analogy of meineiða ‘harmful oaths’. His analysis opens up a new line of interpretation but also brings problems, including an unusual word order whereby at ‘that’ is postponed to l. 6 (it would be expected to follow hykk ‘I think’ in l. 5), the elliptical use of betri ‘he who is better’ and the mention of malicious oaths, which does not tally with other accounts (unless alluding to the famous but perhaps apocryphal oaths of the Jómsvíkingar; see Note to Vell 33/2 Sigvalda).

texts: Jvs 16

editions: Skj Tindr Hallkelsson: 1. Drape om Hakon jarl 8 (AI, 146; BI, 137-8); Skald I, 75-6, NN §§435, 1911, 2394, 2710B, 2807D; Fms 11, 139, Fms 12, 240, SHI 11, 120, 127, Jvs 1879, 84.


AM 510 4° (510) 62r, 29 - 62r, 31 (Jvs)  transcr.  image  
Runic data from Samnordisk runtextdatabas, Uppsala universitet, unless otherwise stated