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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 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, 994

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

40 — Bjbp Jóms 40I

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Emily Lethbridge (ed.) 2012, ‘Bjarni byskup Kolbeinsson, Jómsvíkingadrápa 40’ 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. 994.

Réð með danska dólga
drengr á land at ganga;
roðin frák dǫrr í dreyra;
dauðr lá herr á skeiðum.
Vagn kvað eigi ýtum
undan ráð at skynda;
saman gerðu þeir sitja
sáttir á einni nóttu.

Drengr réð at ganga á land með danska dólga; frák dǫrr roðin í dreyra; herr lá dauðr á skeiðum. Vagn kvað ýtum eigi ráð at skynda undan; þeir gerðu sitja saman sáttir á einni nóttu.

The warrior went ashore with the Danish enemies; I have heard spears were reddened with blood; the army lay dead on warships. Vagn said it was not a good plan for men to hasten in retreat; they sat together, having made a settlement, for one night.

Mss: R(54r), 65ˣ(383r) (ll. 1-6)

Readings: [1] dólga: ‘d(o)lga’(?) R, dólga 65ˣ, ‘d(ol)ga’(?) RCP, ‘d[…]lga’ RFJ    [7, 8] gerðu þeir sitja sáttir á einni nóttu: ‘[…]’ R, ‘(gorþv þeir s)[…] (sat a ein)[…]’(?) RCP, ‘(gorþv þeir sitia sattir aeinni nottv)’(?) RFJ

Editions: Skj: Bjarni Kolbeinsson, Jómsvíkingadrápa 40: AII, 9, BII, 9, Skald II, 6; Fms 11, 174, Fms 12, 247, Jvs 1879, 116-17.

Notes: [1-2] drengr … með danska dólga ‘the warrior … with the Danish enemies’: The reference is not entirely certain, but since Vagn is named in l. 5 and is the subject of st. 39, it is most likely to be Vagn with his Danish allies, who are enemies of the Norwegians. — [7-8]: The fully legible text of the poem in R (and the text in 65ˣ) ends at saman ‘together’. Fms 11 and Skj B print the text shown above, which is based on their (albeit tentative) reading of the R text and which provides good sense and metre. Af Petersens (Jvs 1879) tentatively reads some of the same in his diplomatic text (= RCP), but in his normalised text leaves a blank after þeir s. — [7] gerðu sitja ‘sat’: Gerðu, lit. ‘did, made’, is a pleonastic auxiliary here.

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