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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, ‘(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, 983

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

28 — Bjbp Jóms 28I

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Emily Lethbridge (ed.) 2012, ‘Bjarni byskup Kolbeinsson, Jómsvíkingadrápa 28’ 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. 983.

Þar frák vápnum verjask
— Vagn felldi lið — þegna;
hann klauf breiðra brúna
borg hundruðum mǫrgum.
Grimmr var snarpra sverða
sǫngr; burgusk vel drengir;
vann arfþegi Áka
ǫs; fell blóð á kesjur.

Þar frák þegna verjask vápnum; Vagn felldi lið; hann klauf {borg breiðra brúna} mǫrgum hundruðum. {Sǫngr snarpra sverða} var grimmr; drengir burgusk vel; {arfþegi Áka} vann ǫs; blóð fell á kesjur.

There I have heard retainers defended themselves with weapons; Vagn felled the troop; he split {the fortress of broad brows} [HEAD] on many hundreds. {The song of sharp swords} [BATTLE] was grim; warriors defended themselves well; {the heir of Áki} [= Vagn] made tumult; blood fell onto halberds.

Mss: R(54r)

Editions: Skj: Bjarni Kolbeinsson, Jómsvíkingadrápa 28: AII, 6, BII, 6-7, Skald II, 4, NN §3256; Fms 11, 170-1, Fms 12, 245, Jvs 1879, 112-13.

Notes: [1-2]: These lines are closely similar to st. 36/3-4 (as noted by Kock, NN §3256). — [1] þar frák ... verjask vápnum ‘there I have heard ... defended themselves with weapons’: Finnur Jónsson (Skj B and LP: 1. verja) understands the dat. vápnum as ‘against [enemy] weapons’, but Kock (NN §3256) points out that in constructions of verjask + dat., a dat. referring to an opponent is a pure dat. meaning ‘against’ whereas a dat. referring to defensive weapons, as here, is instr., meaning ‘with’. — [8] ǫs ‘tumult’: The only other skaldic attestation of this rare word is in Ormrs Lv 1/1IV (LP: ǫs).

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