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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 19 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, 998

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

45 — Bjbp Jóms 45I

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Emily Lethbridge (ed.) 2012, ‘Bjarni byskup Kolbeinsson, Jómsvíkingadrápa 45’ 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. 998.

Þá gekk Ullr at eiga
ǫrlyndr þrymu randa
(menn fýstu þess) mæta
(margir) Ingibjǫrgu.

Þá gekk {ǫrlyndr Ullr {þrymu randa}} at eiga mæta Ingibjǫrgu; margir menn fýstu þess.

Then {the brave Ullr <god> {of the thunder of shields}} [BATTLE > WARRIOR = Vagn] proceeded to marry the splendid Ingibjǫrg; many men encouraged this.

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

Readings: [1] Ullr: ǫrr Bb    [2] randa: landa 54, Bb    [3] fýstu: fyrstu Bb

Editions: Skj: Bjarni Kolbeinsson, Jómsvíkingadrápa 45: AII, 10, BII, 10, Skald II, 6; Fms 1, 183, Fms 12, 46, ÓT 1958-2000, I, 200 (ch. 90), Ólafur Halldórsson 2000, 33, 84; Fms 11, 176, Jvs 1879, 118-19.


The Norwegian army separates: Hákon jarl goes north to Þrándheimr (Trøndelag) and is unhappy that Eiríkr has granted quarter to Vagn; Eiríkr goes to Upplǫnd (Opplandene) and then east to Vík (Viken). Vagn accompanies Eiríkr and is married to Ingibjǫrg, Þorkell leira’s daughter.

Notes: [All]: On the text of sts 41-5, see Note to st. 41 [All]. — [All]: There is clearly some narrative content missing here at the end of the poem. Apart from the fact that this and st. 44 are only single helmingar, the narrative ends very abruptly and there is no close to the poem in the skald’s voice to match the leisurely opening.  — [1] Ullr: This god’s name has been used in a similar kenning for Vagn in st. 43/7. — [3] menn ‘men’: As frequently in ON, it is impossible to know whether the sense is ‘men’ or ‘people’ here.

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