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Brynjólfur Sveinsson (1605–1675) served as the Lutheran Bishop of the see of Skálholt in Iceland. His main influence has been on modern knowledge of Old Norse literature. He is currently pictured on the Icelandic 1000 krónur bill.
In 1643 he named the collection of Old Norse mythological and heroic poems Edda. Brynjólfur attributed the manuscript to Sæmundr fróði, but the scholarly consensus is that whoever wrote the Eddic poems, whether in the sense of being the compiler or the poet, it could not have been Sæmundr. It is believed that the manuscript has multiple authorship from over a long span of time.
In 1650 Frederick the Third appointed Brynjólfur to succeed the late Stephanius as Royal Danish Historian. He declined the post but promised the king to do what he could to collect manuscripts in Iceland. One of his first acts was to request all people residing in his diocese to turn over to the King any old manuscripts, either an original or a copy, as a gift or for a price.
Among the most monumental of the Icelandic manuscripts thus collected is the Flateyjarbók, which was secured only after a personal visit to the owner from Brynjólfur. Jon Torfason who owned the manuscript was unwilling to give up the precious manuscript, but after pressure from Brynjólfur, Torfason gave up the valuable manuscript.
Brynjólfur is also, if lesser, known for his role in the life of the poet and hymn writer Hallgrímur Pétursson.
|Bishop of Skálholt