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.



Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

Menu Search

Bragi Frag 3III

Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.) 2017, ‘Bragi inn gamli Boddason, Fragments 3’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 58.

Bragi inn gamli BoddasonFragments


This helmingr (Bragi Frag 3) is found in mss R, and W of SnE in the section of Skm that gives examples of kennings for the god Þórr. Ms. R is the main ms. here. The prose introduction to this section indicates that Þórr can be called ‘killer (vegandi) of Hrungnir, Geirrøðr and Þrívaldi’, all giants. This is one of only two poetic locations that mention Þórr’s killing of Þrívaldi ‘the One three times mighty’, presumably a reference to his having three heads (or nine, according to Bragi). The only other extant reference to what is presumably a lost myth occurs in another helmingr (Vetrl Lv) that Snorri quotes in the same section of Skm (SnE 1998, I, 17), by Vetrliði Sumarliðason, an Icelandic poet (d. 999), mentioned in several prose sources as a vehement opponent of the introduction of Christianity to Iceland. It is interesting that both Bragi’s and Vetrliði’s stanzas take the otherwise rare form of a direct address to Þórr, possibly suggesting that the Þrívaldi myth could be specially important in human invocations to him for help in times of trouble (see Lindow 1988 for a discussion of these fragmentary invocations to Þórr).

The half-stanza follows immediately upon Snorri’s quotation of another by Bragi (Bragi Þórr 4). Most scholars have assumed it to be from a different poem, which has otherwise not survived. The Þórr-kenning refers to the god’s killing of Þrívaldi, but, in spite of the direct address, the stanza itself is unlikely to be part of a telling of that myth.

text and translation

Vel hafið yðrum eykjum
aptr, Þrívalda, haldit
simbli sumbls of mærum,
sundrkljúfr níu hǫfða.

Hafið vel haldit aptr eykjum yðrum, {sundrkljúfr níu hǫfða Þrívalda}, of {mærum simbli sumbls}.
‘You have well driven back your draught animals, cleaver asunder of the nine heads of Þrívaldi <giant> [= Þórr], above the famous drink-provider of the drinking party [= Ægir (ægir ‘ocean’)].

notes and context

See Introduction. The helmingr is introduced with Enn kvað Bragi … ‘Bragi also said …’.



Text is based on reconstruction from the base text and variant apparatus and may contain alternative spellings and other normalisations not visible in the manuscript text. Transcriptions may not have been checked and should not be cited.

editions and texts

Skj: Bragi enn gamli, 2. Ubestemmelige vers 1: AI, 4, BI, 4, Skald I, 3, NN §220; SnE 1848-87, I, 256-7, III, 17, SnE 1931, 96, SnE 1998, I, 16.


Log in

This service is only available to members of the relevant projects, and to purchasers of the skaldic volumes published by Brepols.
This service uses cookies. By logging in you agree to the use of cookies on your browser.


Stanza/chapter/text segment

Use the buttons at the top of the page to navigate between stanzas in a poem.

Information tab

Interactive tab

The text and translation are given here, with buttons to toggle whether the text is shown in the verse order or prose word order. Clicking on indiviudal words gives dictionary links, variant readings, kennings and notes, where relevant.

Full text tab

This is the text of the edition in a similar format to how the edition appears in the printed volumes.

Chapter/text segment

This view is also used for chapters and other text segments. Not all the headings shown are relevant to such sections.