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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Not published: do not cite (StarkSt VíkVIII (Gautr))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, 261

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

6 — StarkSt Vík 6VIII (Gautr 14)

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.) 2017, ‘Gautreks saga 14 (Starkaðr gamli Stórvirksson, Víkarsbálkr 6)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 261.

Unz Víkarr kom         frá vita innan,
gísl Herþjófs,         gekk inn í sal.
Hann kendi mik,         hann kvaddi mik
upp at standa         ok andsvara.

Unz Víkarr, gísl Herþjófs, kom frá vita innan, gekk inn í sal. Hann kendi mik, hann kvaddi mik at standa upp ok andsvara.

Until Víkarr, the hostage of Herþjófr, came from inside the beacon, went into the hall. He recognised me, he called on me to get up and answer.

Mss: 590b-cˣ(3v), 152(198va) (Gautr)

Readings: [6] hann kvaddi: ok kvað 152    [7] at: om. 152    [8] and‑: an‑ 152

Editions: Skj: Anonyme digte og vers [XIII], E. 13. Vers af Fornaldarsagaer: Af Gautrekssaga II 6: AII, 325, BII, 344-5, Skald II, 185; FSN 3, 19, Gautr 1900, 16, FSGJ 4, 15; Edd. Min. 39.

Context: As for Gautr 13.

Notes: [1, 3] Víkarr, gísl Herþjófs ‘Víkarr, the hostage of Herþjófr’: The prose saga tells that the sons of many powerful men in Agder, including Víkarr, son of King Haraldr, were taken hostage after Haraldr’s death. Víkarr and Starkaðr were foster-brothers, as Starkaðr had been taken into King Haraldr’s household after his own father, Stórvirkr, had been killed. — [2] frá vita innan ‘from inside the beacon’: In the prose text immediately preceding Gautr 13-15 it is stated that Víkarr had been put in charge of warning beacons (in which fires could be lit) on Fenhring. Skj B and Skald understand Viti as a p. n. in the west of Norway (cf. LP: viti 3). — [3]: This line is in kviðuháttr.

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