Einarr þambarskelfir Eindriðason (Eþsk)
volume 1; ed. Kari Ellen Gade;
Couplet (Couplet) - 1
Einarr þambarskelfir ‘Paunch-shaker’ (?) Eindriðason (Eþsk; c. 987-1051/52) was one of the most powerful Norwegian district chieftains of his time. At the age of thirteen, he participated in the naval battle of Svǫlðr (c. 1000), fighting alongside King Óláfr Tryggvason on Óláfr’s ship, the famous Ormr inn langi (‘the Long Serpent’). Subsequently, he served as the adviser and regent to Óláfr Haraldsson’s young son, Magnús inn góði ‘the Good’ (r. 1035-47). After Magnús’s death, Einarr became a district chieftain of King Haraldr harðráði ‘Hard-rule’ Sigurðarson, but their relationship turned sour (see Hharð Lv 6-7II). Eventually Einarr and his son Eindriði were ambushed and killed by King Haraldr and his men in Trondheim, c. 1051/52. The meaning of Einarr’s nickname þambarskelfir is possibly ‘Paunch-shaker’, but has been much debated: see Gade (1995b), Gade (1995c), Sayers (1995) and Liberman (1996). Other than the couplet below, no poetry is attributed to Einarr.
Kock, Skald. I 79
Kari Ellen Gade 2012, ‘(Introduction to) Einarr þambarskelfir Eindriðason, Couplet’ 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. 452.
SkP info: I, 452
1 — Eþsk Couplet 1I
Cite as: Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2012, ‘Einarr þambarskelfir Eindriðason, Couplet 1’ 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. 452.
At the battle of Svǫlðr, Einarr, who is an accomplished archer, shoots with deadly accuracy at the attacking fleet. An enemy shot hits his bow, which shatters with a loud crack. King Óláfr asks, ‘What burst there so loudly?’ Einarr answers, ‘Norway from your hands, King’. Óláfr gives him his own bow, which Einarr at once pulls past the point of the arrow, uttering this couplet.
notes: For the sea-battle at Svǫlðr (c. 1000) and other skaldic poetry associated with it, see the entry on Óláfr Tryggvason in ‘Ruler biographies’ in Introduction to this volume.
texts: ‹ÓT 59›,
editions: Skj Not in Skj; Skald I, 79, NN §2405; Hkr 1893-1901, I, 449, ÍF 26, 363 (ÓTHkr ch. 108), F 1871, 164; ÓT 1958-2000, II, 275 (ch. 251), Flat 1860-8, I, 486.