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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 6 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, 353

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

9 — Tindr Hákdr 9I

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Russell Poole (ed.) 2012, ‘Tindr Hallkelsson, Hákonardrápa 9’ 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. 353.

Hrauð, en Hroptr of náði
hjaldrskýja val nýjum,
— þar vas lind* fyr landi —
leiðangr Dana skeiðar.


The fleet cleared the warships of the Danes, and {the Hroptr {of battle-clouds}} [SHIELDS > WARRIOR = Hákon] gained new carnage; a shield [defence] was placed off the coast there.

context: As for st. 4.

notes: The Óðinn-heiti Hroptr can be taken alone or as part of a kenning, yielding a statement in ll. 1-2 that either Óðinn or a warrior gains slain men. Unfortunately the matter cannot be finally resolved. (a) In the Text presented above, Hroptr ‘Óðinn’ (l. 1) and hjaldrskýja ‘of battle-clouds [SHIELDS]’ (l. 2) are construed together, since they are the first nominal elements in the helmingr and form a warrior-kenning of an extremely prolific type (cf. Meissner 260-3, 275-6). Although a statement that Óðinn, rather than a warrior, receives the slain might have been expected, the rest of this helmingr is human in focus, and in st. 11 it seems that Hákon is portrayed as assisting Óðinn in procuring the slain. Hroptr hjaldrskýja is also taken as a kenning in Fms 12, though there the kenning includes linds and is construed as the subject to hrauð ‘cleared’ in l. 1. Line 3 is interpreted in this edn as a syntactic unit, with emendation of ms. ‘lindz’, normalised linds, to lind ‘(linden-)shield’ (as by Kock; see below). (b) Finnur Jónsson (1886b, 349; cf. Skj B; Reichardt 1928, 205-6) emends ‘lindz’ to lundr ‘grove, tree’, hence lundr hjaldrskýja ‘tree of battle-clouds [SHIELDS > WARRIOR]’, which he takes as the subject of hrauð ‘cleared’. Hroptr is unqualified in l. 2 and the subject of náði ‘gained’, so that it is Óðinn who receives the slain. However, Finnur’s analysis assumes a complex word order with a tripartite l. 3. (c) Kock (NN §436, cf. §805A and similarly Reichardt 1928, 205), objecting to the complexity, emends lightly to lind ‘(linden) shield’. The resulting l. 3, which matches that of this edn, reads þar vas lind fyr landi, which Kock renders här fanns sköld till landets värn ‘here was found a shield for defence of the land’. Kock (NN §1911C anm.) identifies analogues to this in ÞKolb Eirdr 2/7, Ótt Knútdr 1/7-8 and Þfagr Sveinn 3/1-2II, which do lend support, although in each of them the context is more explanatory, the action described being slightly more decisive than in the present case. Kock, like Finnur Jónsson, believes that the god Óðinn is the subject of náði, but at the same time reads Hroptr hjaldrskýja as ‘Óðinn of shields’, i.e. Óðinn, whereas this appears best analysed as a warrior-kenning.

texts: Jvs 17

editions: Skj Tindr Hallkelsson: 1. Drape om Hakon jarl 9 (AI, 147; BI, 138); Skald I, 76, NN §§303B, 436, 805, 1911C anm.; Fms 11, 139, Fms 12, 240, SHI 11, 120, 128, Jvs 1879, 84.


AM 510 4° (510) 62r, 31 - 62r, 33 (Jvs)  transcr.  image  
Runic data from Samnordisk runtextdatabas, Uppsala universitet, unless otherwise stated