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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Bjarni byskup Kolbeinsson (Bjbp)

13th century; volume 1; ed. Jonna Louis-Jensen;

Jómsvíkingadrápa (Jóms) - 45

Skj info: Bjarni Kolbeinsson, Orknøsk biskop, d. 1222. (AII, 1-10, BII, 1-10).

Skj poems:
Jómsvíkingadrápa

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.

notes
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.

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Skj: Bjarni Kolbeinsson: Jómsvíkingadrápa (AII, 1-10, BII, 1-10); stanzas (if different): 2 | 3 | 4

SkP info: I, 974

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

18 — Bjbp Jóms 18I

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance

 

Cite as: Emily Lethbridge (ed.) 2012, ‘Bjarni byskup Kolbeinsson, Jómsvíkingadrápa 18’ 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. 974.

Þá buðu þeir á móti
þeim, er sunnan kómu,
til geirhríðar greppum
gǫrla, Nóregs jarlar.
Þar var mestr á méli
(morðremmandi) skǫmmu
(margr var at Laufa leiki)
landherr saman fundinn.

Þá buðu þeir jarlar Nóregs gǫrla greppum til {geirhríðar} á móti þeim, er kómu sunnan. Mestr landherr var fundinn saman þar á skǫmmu méli; {margr morðremmandi} var at {leiki Laufa}.

Then those jarls of Norway forcefully bade [their] men to {the spear-storm} [BATTLE] against those who came from the south. The greatest force from the land was brought together there in a short time; {many a battle-strengthener} [WARRIOR] was at {the play of Laufi <legendary sword>} [BATTLE].

Mss: R(53v); 61(19va), 53(16ra), 54(15vb), Bb(26ra) (ÓT)

Readings: [1] á: at all others    [2] kómu: kœmi 61    [3] greppum: greipum 61    [5] var: varð all others;    méli: so 61, Bb, mæli R, 53, 54    [6] ‑remmandi: ‑rennandi Bb    [8] saman: so all others, om. R;    fundinn: bundinn 53, 54, Bb

Editions: Skj: Bjarni Kolbeinsson, Jómsvíkingadrápa 18: AII, 4, BII, 4-5, Skald II, 3; Fms 11, 168, Fms 12, 244, Jvs 1879, 110-11, 132; Fms 1, 169, Fms 12, 41, ÓT 1958-2000, I, 186 (ch. 90), Ólafur Halldórsson 2000, 24-5, 78.

Context: Acting on partially false intelligence that Hákon jarl is in Hǫrundarfjǫrðr (Hjørundfjorden), and is unaware of them and accompanied by small forces, Búi and his companions prepare to go there. Meanwhile, Hákon and his son Eiríkr have assembled a force of 180 ships in Hallkelsvík (Hallkjellsvik). They learn that the ships of the Jómsvíkingar are lying off the island of Hǫð (Hareid), and head north in search of them.

Notes: [4] jarlar Nóregs ‘the jarls of Norway’: Hákon jarl and his son, Eiríkr Hákonarson. According to Jvs (1879, 69) Hákon’s sons Sveinn, Sigurðr and Erlingr also commanded ships at Hjǫrungavágr. — [7] Laufa ‘of Laufi <legendary sword>’: The name of the legendary Danish hero Bǫðvarr bjarki’s sword. The name is etymologically related to lauf n. ‘leaf, foliage’: see further Note to Þul Sverða 2/2III. — [8] fundinn saman ‘brought together’: Lit. ‘found together’. This makes most immediate sense, but the variant reading in the three other mss, bundinn (p. p. of binda ‘bind’), would also make sense if taken metaphorically. In CVC: binda II the verb is glossed ‘to make, contract a league, friendship, affinity’ etc., and cf. m. v. bindask ‘to engage oneself, enter a league’.

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