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Runic Dictionary

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Starkaðr gamli Stórvirksson (StarkSt)

volume 8; ed. Margaret Clunies Ross;

Víkarsbálkr (Vík) - 33

Starkaðr inn gamli ‘the Old’ Stórvirksson (StarkSt) was a legendary Scandinavian hero, known to Danish, Norwegian, Icelandic and possibly Anglo-Saxon traditions. Some sources (e.g. Saxo Grammaticus (Saxo 2015, I, vi. 5. 2, pp. 378-9), one version of Heiðr and Víkarsbálkr (Vík) in Gautr) claim that he was born a giant with six or eight arms, which the god Þórr reduced to two by tearing off the remainder. Both in Saxo and in Gautr, Starkaðr is represented as a hero of prodigious strength and bravery, but influenced by the gods Óðinn and Þórr to commit acts of gross treachery, the best-known of which is his mock sacrifice of his friend, King Víkarr, at Óðinn’s instigation. The mock sacrifice turns into the real thing, and, as a consequence, Starkaðr is repudiated by his warrior companions. Saxo and the Icelandic sources also know Starkaðr as a poet. Skáldatal (SnE 1848-87, III, 251, 259) heads its list of poets and their patrons with Starkaðr’s name as that of the earliest poet whose identity people remember, adding that he composed about the kings of Denmark. In Ht Snorri Sturluson names a verse-form, Starkaðar lag, after Starkaðr (SnE 2007, 38), while in TGT Óláfr Þórðarson quotes a fragment (StarkSt Frag 1III) which he attributes to him. In Gautr the autobiographical poem Víkarsbálkr ‘Víkarr’s Section’ (VíkVIII) is attributed to Starkaðr.

Víkarsbálkr — StarkSt VíkVIII (Gautr)

Not published: do not cite (StarkSt VíkVIII (Gautr))

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 

SkP info: VIII, 257

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

3 — StarkSt Vík 3VIII (Gautr 11)

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.) 2017, ‘Gautreks saga 11 (Starkaðr gamli Stórvirksson, Víkarsbálkr 3)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 257.

Þá * Herþjófr         Harald um vélti;
sér ójafnan         sveik í trygðum,
Egða dróttin         öndu rænti,
en hans sonum         haptbönd sneri.

Þá * um vélti Herþjófr Harald; sveik ójafnan sér í trygðum, rænti {dróttin Egða} öndu, en sneri sonum hans haptbönd.

Then Herþjófr tricked Haraldr; he betrayed [a man] unequal to himself in his plighted oath, robbed {the lord of the Egðir} [= Haraldr] of life and twisted captive shackles for his sons.

Mss: 590b-cˣ(3v), 152(198va), papp11ˣ(5r) (Gautr)

Readings: [1] Þá *: þá er all;    Herþjófr (‘Herþ.̂’): Herþjófi 152    [2] Harald: Haraldi 152    [5] dróttin: dróttni papp11ˣ    [6] öndu: auðnu 152    [8] haptbönd: haptland or hæptland with t added above the line papp11ˣ

Editions: Skj: Anonyme digte og vers [XIII], E. 13. Vers af Fornaldarsagaer: Af Gautrekssaga II 3: AII, 324, BII, 344, Skald II, 185; FSN 3, 17, Gautr 1664, 21, Gautr 1900, 14, FSGJ 4, 14; Edd. Min. 38.

Context: This stanza and the immediately following Vík 4 (Gautr 12) follow a prose passage that tells that Herþjófr, king of Hordaland (ON Hǫrðaland), made a surprise night attack on King Haraldr of Agder and killed him in spite of his plighted oath (drap hann í trygðum), taking his son Víkarr as a hostage, as well as many other sons of powerful men.

Notes: [1] þá * ‘then’: This edn follows Skj B and Skald in deleting all mss’ er and understanding ll. 1-2 as a main clause. This line is in kviðuháttr. — [1] Herþjófr: According to an earlier passage of Gautr (Gautr 1900, 11), Herþjófr was the son of a certain Húnþjófr, King of Hordaland, who was in turn the son of Friðþjófr the Bold and Ingibjǫrg the Fair, who are the protagonists of another fornaldarsaga, Friðþjófs saga ins frœkna ‘The Saga of Friðþjófr the Bold’ (Frið). For a discussion of the possible relations between these two sagas and their genealogical information, see Gautr 1900, lxxxix-xcii. — [8] haptbönd ‘captive shackles’: There is one other instance of this cpd in Old Norse poetry, Hálf 5/6, where snúa ‘twist’ co-occurs. The first element is hapt ‘fetter, shackle’, metaphorically ‘restraint, curb’; cf. OE hæft ‘bond, fetter’, OHG haft ‘fetter, captivity’.

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