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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 24 January 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, 996

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

43 — Bjbp Jóms 43I

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Emily Lethbridge (ed.) 2012, ‘Bjarni byskup Kolbeinsson, Jómsvíkingadrápa 43’ 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. 996.

‘Vilt,’ kvað hringa hreytir
hyggjugegn at Vagni,
‘élsvellandi, yðvart,
Yggjar, líf of þiggja?’
‘Eigi munk, nema efnak,’
(ungr) ‘þat er heit nam strengja,’
(svá kvað Ullr at jarli
egghríðar) ‘fjǫr þiggja.’

{Hyggjugegn hreytir hringa} kvað at Vagni, ‘{{Yggjar él}svellandi}, vilt of þiggja líf yðvart?’ ‘Eigi munk þiggja fjǫr, nema efnak heit, þat er nam strengja’; svá kvað {ungr Ullr {egghríðar}} at jarli.

{The thought-steady scatterer of rings} [GENEROUS MAN = Eiríkr] said to Vagn, ‘{Sweller {of the storm of Yggr <= Óðinn>}} [(lit. ‘storm-sweller of Yggr’) BATTLE > WARRIOR = Vagn], will you accept your life?’ ‘I shall not accept [my] life unless I fulfil the vow that I made’; thus spoke {the young Ullr <god> {of the blade-storm}} [BATTLE > WARRIOR = Vagn] to the jarl.

Mss: 61(20va), 53(17ra), 54(17ra), Bb(27va) (ÓT)

Readings: [4] of: af 54, at Bb    [5] nema efnak (‘nema ek efna’): so 54, Bb, nema efna 61, 53    [6] þat er: þat 53    [7] svá: ‘[...]va’ 54;    at: af Bb    [8] egg‑: elg‑ Bb;    ‑hríðar: so all others, ‑hrið 61

Editions: Skj: Bjarni Kolbeinsson, Jómsvíkingadrápa 43: AII, 9, BII, 10, Skald II, 6; NN §3141Fms 1, 181-2, Fms 12, 45, ÓT 1958-2000, I, 198 (ch. 90), Ólafur Halldórsson 2000, 33, 84; Fms 11, 175, Jvs 1879, 118-19.

Context: Eiríkr asks Vagn if he will accept a truce; Vagn replies that he will if he can fulfil his oath (see Note to l. 6 heit below).

Notes: [All]: On the text of sts 41-5, see Note to st. 41 [All]. The novelty in this stanza is the use of direct speech, which is rare in early skaldic poetry (see Fidjestøl 1993c) and not found elsewhere in Jóms, though it is common in later poetry, for instance much of the Christian poetry in SkP VII. — [6] ungr ‘young’: Following Skj B and Ólafur Halldórsson (2000), the adj. is taken here as qualifying the warrior-kenning with the base-word Ullr which is the subject of the intercalary clause. A simpler word order is produced if it is taken with þat er nam strengja, hence ‘that I swore when young’ in Vagn’s response to Eiríkr (so Fms 12; also Kock in NN §3141 and Skald). — [6] heit ‘the vow’: This is the vow that Vagn swore at the feast back in Denmark, concerning the Norwegian Þorkell leira’s daughter, Ingibjǫrg; see st. 14/5, 6, 8 and Note to st. 14/5. — [6] nam strengja ‘I made’: Another pleonastic use of nam (cf. Note to st. 37/1). Nam, though lacking enclitic -k here, is 1st pers. sg.

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