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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Kolbeinn Tumason (Kolb)

13th century; volume 4; ed. Guðrún Nordal;

VII. Jónsvísur (Jónv) - 5

Skj info: Kolbeinn Tumason, Islandsk höfding og skjald, d. 1208. (AII, 37-40, BII, 45-9).

Skj poems:
1. Jónsvísur
2. Lausavísur

This edition is currently in preparation. The biography below may represent a superseded edition, notes and/or an interim or draft version. Do not cite this material without consulting the volume and skald editors.

Kolbeinn Tumason (1173-1208) was a member of the Ásbirningar family and the most powerful chieftain in northern Iceland around 1200. In order to cement his position, Kolbeinn used his influence to ensure the election of his wife’s cousin Guðmundr Árason as bishop of Hólar, the episcopal seat in Skagafjörður, in 1201. Guðmundr, however, proved to be a staunch advocate of ecclesiastical independence from secular chieftains and thus he and Kolbeinn soon came into conflict with one another. Guðmundr excommunicated Kolbeinn several times between 1205 and 1207; in 1208 Kolbeinn mounted an attack on Guðmundr and his supporters at Víðines (Hjaltadalur), in the course of which Kolbeinn was killed (Gunnar Karlsson 1975, 34-5; Magnús Stefánsson 1975, 118-29).

Kolbeinn lived at Víðimýrr in Skagafjǫrðr, where he had a church dedicated to the Virgin and S. Peter. Although he was not in orders, Kolbeinn was a man of some education, as his poetry reveals. It also reveals his deeply religious nature, notwithstanding his opposition to Guðmundr Árason. In addition to several lvv (Kolb LvIV) and three sts composed immediately before his death, which are variously quoted in Stu, GBp or TGT, Kolbeinn is said to have been the author of a poem in praise of Mary, of which, however, no trace remains (GBpA, 457 n. 1, 491 n. 2; GBpB, 569-70). Five sts from a poem in honour of S. John (Kolb Jónv) have been preserved in Jón4. ‘It is no doubt [John] the Evangelist’s Association with [Mary] which led him to compose poetry in his honour’ (Cormack 1994, 42).

Jónsvísur (‘Vísur about John the Apostle’) — Kolb JónvVII

Beatrice La Farge 2007, ‘ Kolbeinn Tumason, Jónsvísur’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 223-7. <https://skaldic.org/m.php?p=text&i=1289> (accessed 20 January 2022)

 1   2   3   4   5 

Skj: Kolbeinn Tumason: 1. Jónsvísur (AII, 37, BII, 45-6)

SkP info: VII, 224-5

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

2 — Kolb Jónv 2VII

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance

 

Cite as: Beatrice La Farge (ed.) 2007, ‘Kolbeinn Tumason, Jónsvísur 2’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 224-5.

Miðr gekt einn an aðrir
ǫðlings frá píningu,
svikbannandi, sunnu,
snjallr, postolar allir,
þvít drengr í styr strǫngum
stótt þú hjá kvǫl dróttins
blíð ok bragnings móðir
byrstrandar grátandi.

{Snjallr svikbannandi}, einn gekt frá píningu {ǫðlings sunnu} miðr an allir aðrir postolar, þvít þú, drengr í strǫngum styr, ok {grátandi blíð móðir {bragnings {byrstrandar}}} stótt hjá kvǫl dróttins.

{Courageous one, you who bans falsity} [APOSTLE], alone fled from the torment {of the king of the sun} [= God (= Christ)] less than all the other Apostles, for you, a valiant man in the hard battle, and {the weeping gentle mother {of the ruler {of the wind-beach}}} [SKY/HEAVEN > = God (= Christ) > = Mary] stood close by at the torture of the Lord.

Mss: 649a(47v) (Jón4)

Editions: Skj: Kolbeinn Tumason, 1. Jónsvísur 2: AII, 37, BII, 46, Skald II, 29, NN §2560; Jón4 1874, 512, Bugge 1874, 935, GBpB 570n.

Context: See Introduction.

Notes: [All]: This st. and sts 3-4 refer to the scene described in S. John’s gospel (John XIX.25-7): Stabant autem iuxta crucem Iesu mater eius et soror matris eius Maria Cleopae et Maria Magdalene cum vidisset ergo Iesus matrem et discipulum stantem quem diligebat dicit matri suae mulier ecce filius tuus deinde dicit discipulo ecce mater tua et ex illa hora accepit eam discipulus in sua ‘Now there stood by the Cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalen. When Jesus therefore had seen his mother and the disciple whom he loved, he saith to his mother: “Woman, behold thy son”. And after that, he saith to the disciple: “Behold thy mother”. And from that hour, the disciple took her to his own’. — [5-8]: Although this helmingr contains two subjects (þú ‘you’ and móðir ‘mother’) the verb form stótt (2nd pers. sg. pret. indic. of standa ‘to stand’) is congruent with þú. This phenomenon may occur when the verb precedes subjects in differing persons: in such cases the verb agrees with the subject nearest to it (in this case þú, cf. NS §69).

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