This interface will no longer be publicly available from 1 September 2020. 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.

Runic Dictionary

login: password: stay logged in: help

Bjarni byskup Kolbeinsson (Bjbp)

13th century; volume 1; ed. Jonna Louis-Jensen;

Jómsvíkingadrápa (Jóms) - 45

Bjarni Kolbeinsson (Bjbp) was born into a powerful family in the Orkney Islands, possibly c. 1150-60 (af Petersens, Jvs 1879, 122). His father was the Norwegian-Orcadian chieftain Kolbeinn hrúga ‘Heap’ and his mother was Herborg, a great-granddaughter of Páll jarl Þorfinnsson on the maternal side (see Ættaskrár [Genealogies] II in ÍF 35). Bjarni was also very well connected: he was a close friend of Haraldr jarl Maddaðarson (ÍF 35, 289), sent precious gifts to Hrafn Sveinbjarnarson in Iceland on three occasions (Guðrún P. Helgadóttir 1987, 2-3), and had connections with the Oddaverjar (see further Einar Ól. Sveinsson 1937, 17-18, 34-9).

Bjarni was Bishop of Orkney from 1188 (ÍF 35, 289) until his death on 15 September 1223. Among his achievements as bishop were the exhumation and canonisation of Rǫgnvaldr jarl Kali Kolsson (ÍF 35, 282; SkP II, 575) and the extension of St Magnús’s Cathedral in Kirkwall. Bjarni was also a diplomat and is known to have travelled to Norway for political reasons in 1194-5, 1208-9, 1210, 1218 and 1223 (see Bugge 1875, 244; Holtsmark 1937a, 2-3); he probably died in Norway (Jón Stefánsson 1907-8, 46).

Bjarni is introduced as Bjarni skáld ‘Poet’ in Orkn (ÍF 35, 193), but Jómsvíkingadrápa (Jóms) is the only literary work attributed to him in medieval sources. Suggestions that he compiled Orkn (Jón Stefánsson 1907-8) and the þulur in SnE (Bugge 1875) have not been generally accepted; see Introduction to Jóms below on the attribution of Anon Mhkv to Bjarni.

notes
my abbr.

Jómsvíkingadrápa (‘Drápa about the Jómsvíkingar’) — Bjbp JómsI

Emily Lethbridge 2012, ‘(Introduction to) Bjarni byskup Kolbeinsson, Jómsvíkingadrápa’ 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. 954.

stanzas:  1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11   12   13   14   15   16   17   18   19   20   21   22   23   24   25   26   27   28   29   30   31   32   33   34   35   36   37   38   39   40   41   42   43   44   45 

Skj: Bjarni Kolbeinsson: Jómsvíkingadrápa (AII, 1-10, BII, 1-10); stanzas (if different): 2 | 3 | 4

SkP info: I, 973

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

16 — Bjbp Jóms 16I

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance

 

Cite as: Emily Lethbridge (ed.) 2012, ‘Bjarni byskup Kolbeinsson, Jómsvíkingadrápa 16’ 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. 973.

Sagt var, at sunnan heldu
snyrtimenn of hrannir
— kaldr dreif marr á meiða
morðbáls — skipastóli.
Lǫmðu héldir húfar
— hríð kannaði lýði —
— gnúði svalr á sýju
sær — ísugar bárur.

Sagt var, at snyrtimenn heldu skipastóli sunnan of hrannir; kaldr marr dreif á {meiða {morðbáls}}; héldir húfar lǫmðu ísugar bárur; hríð kannaði lýði; svalr sær gnúði á sýju.

It was said that the fine men sailed their fleet of ships from the south across the waves; the cold sea drove against {the poles {of the battle-fire}} [SWORD > WARRIORS]; the rime-covered hulls beat the icy waves; the storm tested the men; the chill sea roared against the planking.

Mss: R(53v)

Editions: Skj: Bjarni Kolbeinsson, Jómsvíkingadrápa 16: AII, 4, BII, 4, Skald II, 3; Fms 11, 167, Fms 12, 243, Jvs 1879 108-9.

Notes: [All]: The images of the hulls of the Jómsvíkingar’s fleet battling through icy waves are reminiscent of ÞGísl Búdr 2, where the same voyage is described. — [1] sunnan ‘from the south’: The Jómsvíkingar sail north from Denmark to Norway. — [2] snyrtimenn ‘the fine men’: The cpd is unique in skaldic poetry, though cf. snyrtidrengr ‘fine warrior’ in st. 39/2 and elsewhere (LP: snyrtidrengr). Snyrti- ‘fine’ probably refers to splendid appearance; cf. the sword-heiti Snyrtir ‘polisher’ or ‘polished one’ (Þul Sverða 1/7III and Note), and ModNorw. snyrta ‘decorate’. — [4] morðbáls; skipastóli ‘of the battle-fire [SWORD]; fleet of ships’: The line recalls Hskv Útdr 9/2II morðhjóls skipastóli ‘of the killing-wheel [SHIELD]; fleet of ships’. — [7] sýju ‘the planking’: Originally ‘seam, joining’; cf. sýja ‘to sew’, probably referring to a row of rivets joining the strakes together, and hence the planking and perhaps, by pars pro toto, the whole ship (see AEW: sýja 1, 2; Þul Skipa 5/3III and Note).

© 2008-