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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Not published: do not cite (StarkSt VíkVIII (Gautr))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, 264

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

10 — StarkSt Vík 10VIII (Gautr 18)

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.) 2017, ‘Gautreks saga 18 (Starkaðr gamli Stórvirksson, Víkarsbálkr 10)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 264.

Svá kómu vér
til konungs garða;
hristum grindr,
hjuggum gætti,
brutum borglokur,
brugðum sverðum,
þar er sjautigir
seggir stóðu,
kostum góðir,
fyr konungi.
Þó var um aukit
öllum þrælum,
ok vatndrögum.


Thus we came to the king’s courts; we shook the gates, we hewed the door-frames, we broke the fortress-locks, we drew our swords, where seventy warriors of good quality stood before the king. Beside that, the number was increased with all slaves, workpeople and water-bearers.

context: The prose paragraph between Vík  9 and 10 (Gautr 17 and 18) narrates how Víkarr and his troop of champions, intent on vengeance, seek out King Herþjófr. It tells how Herþjófr had a house fortified like a castle or stronghold (kastali eða borg) with seventy warriors at hand, as well as various servants and workmen. The warriors attack hard, causing the kind of damage detailed in the stanza that follows, put into the mouth of Starkaðr, svá segir Starkaðr ‘so says Starkaðr’.

notes: This stanza in 590b-cˣ is fourteen lines long, twelve in 152, where ll. 9-10 are missing. It can easily be seen how additional lines, describing the attack on Herþjófr and his borg, could have been added to an originally eight-lined stanza; alternatively, what the mss have may be a slightly shortened version of two original stanzas. There is a close correspondence between the wording of the stanza and the immediately preceding prose account. — [3]: This line is in kviðuháttr.

texts: Gautr 18

editions: Skj Anonyme digte og vers [XIII]: E. 13. Vers af Fornaldarsagaer: Af Gautrekssaga II 10 (AII, 325-6; BII, 345); Skald II, 186; FSN 3, 21, Gautr 1900, 17-18, FSGJ 4, 17; Edd. Min. 39-40.


AM 590 b-c 4°x (590b-cx) 4r, 10 - 4r, 12 (Gautr)  transcr.  image  
AM 152 fol (152) 198vb, 5 - 198vb, 9 [1-8, 11-14] (Gautr)  image  
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