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Runic Dictionary

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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 9 December 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, 979

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

23 — Bjbp Jóms 23I

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Emily Lethbridge (ed.) 2012, ‘Bjarni byskup Kolbeinsson, Jómsvíkingadrápa 23’ 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. 979.

Ein drepr fyr mér allri
atróðr mikinn ...
ítrmanns kona teiti.
Góð ætt of kemr grimmu
glygg magnaðisk eggja

gœðings at mér stríði.


A certain nobleman’s wife kills all joy for me; a great attack . The good kinswoman of a chieftain brings cruel torment upon me; {the gale of blades} [BATTLE] intensified

notes: The ms. is badly damaged at the top of the leaf here, so that little of the stanza is legible, but enough is visible to show that ll. 1, 4, 5 and 8 form the third appearance of the stef ‘refrain’, which can be reconstructed from the corresponding lines in sts 15 and 19. For the remaining lines, the diplomatic texts in Jvs 1879 (siglum RCP in Readings) and Skj A (siglum RFJ) are used, though they are not complete and not always in agreement. This stanza is not copied in 65ˣ (see further Introduction). — Although the full sense of the stanza cannot be recovered, it is clear that there is again congruence between the sentiments communicated in the stef, and in ll. 2-3, 6-7, as (physical or mental) death or turmoil are experienced in both love and war.

editions: Skj Bjarni Kolbeinsson: Jómsvíkingadrápa 23 (AII, 5; BII, 5-6); Skald II, 4, NN §2819; Fms 11, 169, Fms 12, 244, Jvs 1879, 112-13.


GKS 2367 4° (R) 54r, 1 - 54r, 2  transcr.  image  image  image  
GKS 2367 4° (RCP) 54r, 1 - 54r, 2  image  image  image  
GKS 2367 4° (RFJ) 54r, 1 - 54r, 2  image  image  image  
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