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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, ‘(Introduction to) 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.

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, 966

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

8 — Bjbp Jóms 8I

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Emily Lethbridge (ed.) 2012, ‘Bjarni byskup Kolbeinsson, Jómsvíkingadrápa 8’ 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. 966.

Geta skal hins, hverr hvatra
hǫfðingi var drengja;
sá gat sigri at hrósa
snjallastr at gǫrvǫllu.
Hverr var hóti minni
hreystimaðr at flestu
heldr í herðiraunum
hauklyndum syni Áka.

Geta skal hins, hverr var hǫfðingi hvatra drengja; sá, snjallastr at gǫrvǫllu, gat at hrósa sigri. Hverr hreystimaðr var heldr hóti minni at flestu í herðiraunum {hauklyndum syni Áka}.

Mention shall be made of this, who was the leader of the valiant warriors; he, boldest in everything, was able to boast of victory. Every courageous man was greatly inferior in most ways in tough trials {to the hawk-tempered son of Áki} [= Vagn].

Mss: R(53v)

Editions: Skj: Bjarni Kolbeinsson, Jómsvíkingadrápa 8: AII, 3, BII, 2-3, Skald II, 2, NN §2566; Fms 11, 165, Fms 12, 242Jvs 1879, 106-7.

Notes: [5, 7] heldr hóti minni ‘greatly inferior’: Lit. ‘a rather great deal less’. Even the bravest amongst the Jómsvíkingar could not come close to Vagn in prowess; cf. Kock’s similar suggestion in NN §2566. — [7] herðiraunum ‘tough trials’: A cpd noun that is unique to Jóms. — [8] hauklyndum ‘hawk-tempered’: Also used in st. 42/6 and Steinn Niz 1/2II; cf. haukligr ‘hawk-like’ in sts 11/5 and 41/6. On the comparison of warriors with hawks, see Note to Arn Hryn 3/5II. — [8] syni Áka ‘son of Áki [= Vagn]’: Áki is described as ruler of Fjón (Fyn) and son of Pálna-Tóki, leader of the Jómsvíkingar (e.g. Jóms 1879, 31). Vagn is prodigiously strong, bold and violent from a very early age (ibid. 31-2, 40). The skald emphasises his peerlessness by delaying his identification to l. 8 and then using a kenning.

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