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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.

my abbr.

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

Emily Lethbridge 2012, ‘ 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. <> (accessed 5 August 2021)

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, 976

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

20 — Bjbp Jóms 20I

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Emily Lethbridge (ed.) 2012, ‘Bjarni byskup Kolbeinsson, Jómsvíkingadrápa 20’ 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. 976.

Ok hǫfðingjar hraustir
heyra menn at væri
— þat hefr þjóð at minnum —
þrír með flokki hverjum,
þar er hreggviðir hittusk
hjálma skóðs á víðum
— fundr þótti sá fyrðum
frægr — Hjǫrungavági.

Ok menn heyra, at þrír hraustir hǫfðingjar væri með hverjum flokki — þjóð hefr þat at minnum —, þar er {{{hjálma skóðs} hregg}viðir} hittusk á víðum Hjǫrungavági; sá fundr þótti frægr fyrðum.

And men hear that three bold chieftains were with each troop — people hold that in memory —, where {the trees {of the storm {of the harm of helmets}}} [(lit. ‘storm-trees of the harm of helmets’) SWORD > BATTLE > WARRIORS] met in wide Liavågen; that meeting seemed famous to men.

Mss: R(53v), 65ˣ(381v); 61(19va), 53(16ra), 54(15vb), Bb(26ra-b) (ÓT)

Readings: [1] hǫfðingjar: so 65ˣ, RCP, RFJ, 61, 54, Bb, ‘havfþingi[…]’ R, hǫfðing 53    [2] heyra: heyri 53, 54, Bb;    væri: váru 61, 53, 54, Bb    [3] at: í 61, 53, 54, Bb;    minnum: so RCP, RFJ, 61, 54, Bb, ‘[…]’ R, minnask 65ˣ, ‘minn[…]’ 53    [4] þrír: ‘[…]’ 53;    hverjum: so 53, 54, Bb, hvárum R, 65ˣ, 61    [5] ‑viðir: ‑undir 54, Bb    [6] skóðs: ‘[...]’ 53;    á víðum: so 65ˣ, RCP, RFJ, 61, ‘a viþ[…]’ R, om. 53, viðjum 54, Bb    [7] fundr þótti: so RCP, RFJ, 61, 53, 54, Bb, ‘[…]ndr […]’ R, ok undr 65ˣ;    sá: om. 53, 54, þá Bb;    fyrðum: yrða 61, 53, 54, Bb    [8] frægr: ‘fragr’ 53;    Hjǫrunga‑: so RCP, RFJ, 61, 54, ‘hior[…]’ R, ‘hirvnga’ 65ˣ, Hjǫrungar‑ 53, ‘hiorro᷎nga’ Bb

Editions: Skj: Bjarni Kolbeinsson, Jómsvíkingadrápa 20: AII, 5, BII, 5, Skald II, 3, NN §2818; Fms 11, 168, Fms 12, 244, Jvs 1879, 110-11, 133; Fms 1, 170, Fms 12, 42, ÓT 1958-2000, I, 186-7 (ch. 90), Ólafur Halldórsson 2000, 25, 78.

Context: Hákon jarl and Eiríkr jarl reach Hjǫrungavágr (Liavågen) where the Jómsvíkingar are. Those leading the Jómsvíkingar, the number of ships they command, and the positions of their ships are enumerated, as are those in the Norwegian fleet (see further Note to ll. 1, 4 below).

Notes: [1, 4] þrír hraustir hǫfðingjar ‘three bold chieftains’: It is not entirely clear who the three men commanding each troop are or which side they are on, but to judge from ÓT the reference may be to the Norwegian leaders, three heading each of three sections of the battle-line, and if that is correct the reading hverjum flokki ‘each troop’ is preferable to hvárum ‘each troop (of two)’. ÓT (1958-2000, I, 186) says that the Jómsvíkingr Sigvaldi jarl is in the centre of the troop formation; against him is Hákon jarl together with the chieftains Þórir hjǫrtr ‘Stag’ and Styrkárr. One wing is headed by the Jómsvíkingr Búi digri and his brother Sigurðr kápa; against them is Eiríkr jarl with the chieftains Guðbrandr hvíti, Þorkell leira, and a man called Ármóðr, a great champion. On the other wing is the Jómsvíkingr Vagn Ákason, and against him is Sveinn Hákonarson together with Skeggi and Rǫgnvaldr. — [2] heyra (3rd pers. pl. pres. indic.) ‘hear’: The subj. reading heyri ‘let (men) hear’ in 53, 54 and Bb is also possible. — [2] væri (3rd pers. pl. pret. subj.) ‘were’: The indic. counterpart váru ‘were’ in the ÓT mss is also possible. — [5, 6] hjálma skóðs hreggviðir ‘the trees of the storm of the harm of helmets [(lit. ‘storm-trees of the harm of helmets’) SWORD > BATTLE > WARRIORS]’: Hreggviðir ‘storm-trees’ forms part of another kenning for ‘warriors’ in st. 30/3. See Note to l. 8 for Kock’s proposal to emend gen. sg. skóðs to gen. pl. skóða.  — [7] fyrðum ‘to men’: The ÓT reading fyrða gives sá fundr fyrða var frægr ‘that meeting of men was famous’, which is also satisfactory. — [8] Hjǫrungavági ‘Liavågen’: A small inlet south of Ålesund, Møre og Romsdal. The location of the battle is disputed: see Megaard (1999). Kock (NN §2818) adopts the 61 reading á Hjǫrungavági ‘at Liavågen’ to improve the metre of l. 8, in which resolution of Hjǫrung- is suspended (cf. Note to st. 9/6); but the line remains unmetrical. Further, l. 6 has á ‘at’, so in order to avoid duplication Kock has to emend l. 6 skóðs á to skóða ‘of harms’.

Runic data from Samnordisk runtextdatabas, Uppsala universitet, unless otherwise stated