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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 30 June 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, 997

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

44 — Bjbp Jóms 44I

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Emily Lethbridge (ed.) 2012, ‘Bjarni byskup Kolbeinsson, Jómsvíkingadrápa 44’ 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. 997.

Grið lét ǫrr ok aura
Eirekr gefit stórum
— mjǫk leyfa þat þjóðir —
þegnum tólf með Vagni.

Ǫrr Eirekr lét gefit tólf stórum þegnum með Vagni grið ok aura; þjóðir leyfa þat mjǫk.

Generous Eiríkr had a truce and coins given to twelve mighty retainers together with Vagn; people praise that greatly.

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

Readings: [1] aura: aðra 54, Bb    [2] stórum: ‘storf’ Bb    [3] mjǫk leyfa þat: með stýfa þeir Bb    [4] tólf: tíu 54, Bb;    Vagni: ‘vagn[...]’ 54

Editions: Skj: Bjarni Kolbeinsson, Jómsvíkingadrápa 44: AII, 10, BII, 10, Skald II, 6; Fms 1, 182, Fms 12, 46, ÓT 1958-2000, I, 198-9 (ch. 90), Ólafur Halldórsson 2000, 33, 84; Fms 11, 175-6, Jvs 1879, 118-19.

Context: Eiríkr has the twelve Jómsvíkingar who join Vagn in accepting the truce released from their bonds.

Notes: [All]: For a helmingr allegedly uttered by a Jómsvíkingr on the point of execution, who was then given quarter, see Anon (Fsk). — [All]: On the text of sts 41-5, see Note to st. 41 [All]. — [1] grið ‘a truce’: Grið is safe-conduct or quarter granted to warriors, as opposed to more general frið ‘peace’. On grið(r) and frið in OE and ON, see Fell (1982-3). — [2] stórum ‘mighty’: The adj. also qualifies þegnar ‘retainers, liegemen’ in Sturl Hryn 3/5, 6II. Alternatively dat. pl. stórum can be adverbial, ‘greatly’, and could here modify gefit ‘given’ (so Skj B; LP: stórr 6). — [3] þjóðir leyfa þat mjǫk ‘people praise that greatly’: Eiríkr’s munificence towards his enemies is remembered. In the prose of ÓT and Jvs 1879, 95-6 (see Context to st. 45) Hákon jarl disapproves of his son Eiríkr’s liberal treatment of the Jómsvíkingar. — [4] tólf ‘twelve’: The variant number in 54 and Bb, tíu ‘ten’, contradicts the evidence of the prose in ÓT, and tíu is unmetrical.

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