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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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ÞKolb Eirdr 8I

Jayne Carroll (ed.) 2012, ‘Þórðr Kolbeinsson, Eiríksdrápa 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. 500.

Þórðr KolbeinssonEiríksdrápa

text and translation

Þar vas hjalmaðs herjar
Hropts við dreyrgar toptir

Orð fekk gótt, es gerði
grams vǫrn blôum hjǫrvi
(hǫll bilar hára fjalla,)
Hyrningr (áðr þat fyrnisk).

Þar vas … hjalmaðs herjar … við {dreyrgar toptir Hropts} … Hyrningr, es gerði vǫrn grams blôum hjǫrvi, fekk gótt orð; {hǫll hára fjalla} bilar, áðr þat fyrnisk.
‘There was … of the helmeted host … against the bloody homesteads of Hroptr <= Óðinn> [SHIELDS] … Hyrningr, who defended the king with a dark sword, gained a good reputation; the hall of the high mountains [SKY] will break before that is forgotten.

notes and context

Towards the end of the battle of Svǫlðr, Eiríkr jarl attempts to board Óláfr Tryggvason’s ship Ormr inn langi ‘the Long Serpent’, but is forced back into his own ship by Óláfr’s kinsman Hyrningr and his men.

For the sea-battle at Svǫlðr c. 1000, see also Hfr ErfÓl 1-24, Skúli SvǫlðrIII, Stefnir Lv 1 (cf. OSnorr Lv), Eþsk Couplet, Hókr Eirfl; and the later treatment in HSt Rst 15-23 and Anon Óldr 17-24; see further the entry on Óláfr Tryggvason in ‘Ruler biographies’ in Introduction to this volume. — All mss preserve only six lines of this stanza, with little indication that there is missing text, though a blank space follows l. 8 in F. It appears that ll. 3-4 are missing, while the second helmingr is complete. — [7, 8]: The rhetorical figure of adynaton or impossibilia is used elsewhere in skaldic poetry  to convey the extraordinary nature or deeds of a hero (e.g. see Hfr ErfÓl 27/1, 4 and Note). Such praise of the opponent Hyrningr in a drápa about Eiríkr is striking.



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: Þórðr Kolbeinsson, 3. Eiríksdrápa 5: AI, 214, BI, 204, Skald I, 107; Hkr 1893-1901, I, 450-1, IV, 99, ÍF 26, 364, Hkr 1991, I, 247 (ÓTHkr ch. 110), F 1871, 165; ÓT 1958-2000, II, 278 (ch. 252), Flat 1860-8, I, 488.


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