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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, ‘(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, 978

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

22 — Bjbp Jóms 22I

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Emily Lethbridge (ed.) 2012, ‘Bjarni byskup Kolbeinsson, Jómsvíkingadrápa 22’ 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. 978.

Lǫgðu heiptar hvattir
herðimenn, þar er bǫrðusk,
— herr var hauðr at verja
hundmargrsaman randir.
Ok víkingi váru
— varð raun at því — einum
— þat kveða eigi aukit
ýtar fimm at móti.

Herðimenn hvattir heiptar lǫgðu randir saman, þar er bǫrðusk; hundmargr herr var at verja hauðr. Ok fimm ýtar váru at móti einum víkingi; raun varð at því; kveða þat eigi aukit.

Brave men, urged into combat, laid shields together where they fought; there was an immense army to defend the land. And five men were against one viking; there was proof of that; they say that is not exaggerated.

Mss: R(53v), 65ˣ(381v)

Readings: [1] Lǫgðu: ‘[…]augþv’ R, lǫgðu 65ˣ, RCP, RFJ;    heiptar: ‘[…]ptar’ R, heiptar 65ˣ, RCP, RFJ    [4] hundmargr: ‘hund[…]’ R, RCP, ‘hundingiar’ 65ˣ, hundmargr RFJ;    saman randir: ‘[…]’ R, ‘þvi þra saman n’ 65ˣ, ‘(saman) ra(n)dir’(?) RCP, ‘sam(an) randir’(?) RFJ    [5] Ok: ‘[...]’ R, ok 65ˣ, RCP, RFJ;    víkingi: víkingum all    [7] aukit: ‘av[...]’ R, ‘av(ll)’(?) 65ˣ, aukit RCP, RFJ    [8] at: ‘[…]’ R, at 65ˣ, RFJ, ‘(at)’(?) RCP;    móti: ‘[…]’ R, mótum 65ˣ, mót RCP, móti RFJ

Editions: Skj: Bjarni Kolbeinsson, Jómsvíkingadrápa 22: AII, 5, BII, 5-6, Skald II, 3, NN §1280; Fms 11, 169, Fms 12, 244, Jvs 1879, 110-11, 133.

Notes: [2] þar er bǫrðusk ‘where they fought’: The rel. clause is best taken (as also in Fms 12 and NN §1280) as qualifying the first clause, with herðimenn ‘warriors’ as its subject. In Skj B it is linked with the parenthetical statement. This, however, involves a change of grammatical number (sg. herr ‘army’ and pl. bǫrðusk) and assumes that the rel. clause precedes the main clause it qualifies, which is counter to the normal skaldic rule (Kuhn 1983, 190-1). — [3] at verja hauðr ‘to defend the land’: The same phrase is found in st. 21/1. — [4] hundmargr ‘immense’: Damage to the foot of the R leaf here makes it impossible now to ascertain the second element of this word and the following words. Af Petersens in Jvs 1879 prints ‑margr as a conjecture, while Finnur Jónsson in Skj prints it as a reading. Hundmargr fits sense and metre, and the same adj. qualifies herr ‘army’ in Hfr ErfÓl 5/1-2 and Þfagr Sveinn 1/7-8II. Sveinbjörn Egilsson in Fms 11 favours hundingja, which resembles the 65ˣ reading, and glosses it víkingi ‘the viking’ in Fms 12, presumably taking it as a generalised use of the name of the legendary King Hundingi, who features in Hjálmþés saga ok Ǫlvis (see SkP VIII). See ÞHjalt Lv 2/7-8 and Note for a similarly problematic instance of Hundings, emended in Skj B to hundmargs.  — [5] víkingi (m. dat. sg.) ‘viking’: Emended by most eds from dat. pl. víkingum to agree with einum ‘one, a single’. Jvs 1879, 133 suggested that the pl. could be retained with the sense ‘single vikings’.

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