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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Starkaðr gamli Stórvirksson (StarkSt)

volume 8; ed. Margaret Clunies Ross;

Víkarsbálkr (Vík) - 33

not in Skj

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Not published: do not cite (StarkSt VíkVIII (Gautr))

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SkP info: VIII, 268

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

14 — StarkSt Vík 14VIII (Gautr 22)

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance

 

Cite as: Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.) 2017, ‘Gautreks saga 22 (Starkaðr gamli Stórvirksson, Víkarsbálkr 14)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 268.

Mik lét sverði         hann sárum höggvinn
skarpeggjuðu         skjöld í gegnum,
hjálm af höfði         en haus skorat
ok kinnkjálka         klofinn í jaxla
en it vinstra         viðbein látit.

Hann lét mik sárum höggvinn skarpeggjuðu sverði í gegnum skjöld, hjálm af höfði en haus skorat ok kinnkjálka klofinn í jaxla en it vinstra viðbein látit.

He caused me to be struck with wounds with a sharp-edged sword right through my shield, [he caused] the helmet [to be struck] from my head, and my skull broken, and my jawbone cloven to the molars, and my left collar-bone to be shattered.

Mss: 590b-cˣ(4v) (Gautr)

Readings: [2] höggvinn: ‘högg hann’ 590b‑cˣ

Editions: Skj: Anonyme digte og vers [XIII], E. 13. Vers af Fornaldarsagaer: Af Gautrekssaga II 14: AII, 326, BII, 346, Skald II, 186; FSN 3, 23-4, Gautr 1900, 20, FSGJ 4, 20-1; Edd. Min. 40.

Context: As for Gautr 21. This and the following stanza list the various wounds Sísarr inflicts on Starkaðr.

Notes: [All]: This stanza has ten lines instead of the usual eight and the second line is corrupted. As there is only one ms. witness, it is not certain exactly what l. 2 contained, though it is likely to have included some form of the verb höggva ‘strike, cut down [with a sharp weapon]’ and some form of the noun sár ‘wound’, but the function of the twice-repeated hann is unclear and presumably a scribal error. Skj A gives the second word as särmann (ms. ‘särm’) but it seems more likely to stand for sárum. Editors have conjectured lét mik sáru hǫggvinn ‘he had me cut down with a wound’ (FSN; Gautr 1900; Edd. Min.; FSGJ) or lét mik sáran hǫggvit ‘he had me cut [so that I was] wounded’ (Skj B; Skald). The present edn has opted for a minimal emendation of the ms.’s ‘högg hann’ to höggvinn ‘struck’. — [8] látit ‘shattered’: The ms. has ‘lattid’, and this ed. has followed FSN’s presumed reasoning in supposing that this form is the p. p. of láta in the sense ‘shattered, exhausted, dead, lost’. All other eds have emended to lamit ‘crushed’.

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