This interface will soon cease to be publicly available. 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.

Data from Samnordisk runtextdatabas

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.

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 4 July 2022)

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, 993

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

39 — Bjbp Jóms 39I

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Emily Lethbridge (ed.) 2012, ‘Bjarni byskup Kolbeinsson, Jómsvíkingadrápa 39’ 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. 993.

Upp stóðu þar eptir
ungra snyrtidrengja
— sveit fylgði vel Vagni
væn — þrír tigir einir.
Alls enga frák aðra
jafnmarga svá burgusk,
áðr létti dyn darra,
drengmenn hugumstranga.

Þrír tigir ungra snyrtidrengja stóðu einir upp þar eptir; væn sveit fylgði Vagni vel. Frák alls enga aðra jafnmarga hugumstranga drengmenn burgusk svá, áðr {dyn darra} létti.

Thirty fine young warriors alone remained standing there afterwards; the promising troop supported Vagn well. Not at all have I heard of another such number of strong-spirited fighting-men defending themselves thus, before {the roar of spears} [BATTLE] let up.

Mss: R(54r), 65ˣ(383r)

Readings: [4] einir: ‘[…]’ R, einar 65ˣ, ‘ein(er)’(?) RCP, ‘(einir)’(?) RFJ

Editions: Skj: Bjarni Kolbeinsson, Jómsvíkingadrápa 39: AII, 9, BII, 9, Skald II, 6; Fms 11, 174, Fms 12, 246, Jvs 1879, 116-17.

Notes: [2] snyrtidrengja (gen. pl.) ‘fine ... warriors’: Cf. snyrtimenn ‘fine men’ in st. 16/1, and Note, and on drengr, see Note to st. 3/1. — [4] einir ‘alone’: The word is unclear in the ms. but einir fits metre and sense and is printed, albeit with hesitation, in Jvs 1879 (RCP in Readings) and Skj A (RFJ). — [5-6, 8] frák alls enga aðra jafnmarga ... drengmenn ‘not at all have I heard of another such number of ... fighting-men’: Lit. ‘I have heard of no other equally many fighting men at all’. The stanza emphasises both how few warriors remained to fight (einir ‘alone, only’, l. 4) and how many the brave ones were (jafnmarga ‘equally many’, l. 6). In Skj B, Finnur Jónsson responds to the seeming contradiction by translating ligeså mange (= få) helte ‘equally many (= few) heroes’. On dreng-, see again Note to st. 3/1.

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