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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Not published: do not cite (StarkSt VíkVIII (Gautr))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, 269

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

15 — StarkSt Vík 15VIII (Gautr 23)

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.) 2017, ‘Gautreks saga 23 (Starkaðr gamli Stórvirksson, Víkarsbálkr 15)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 269.

Ok á síðu         sverði beitti
mér öflugr         fyr mjöðm ofan,
en í aðra         atgeir lagði
köldum broddi,         svá at á kafi yddi;
þau sér merki         á mér gróin.

Ok öflugr beitti sverði á síðu mér fyr ofan mjöðm, en lagði atgeir í aðra köldum broddi, svá at yddi á kafi; sér þau merki gróin á mér.

And the powerful one thrust his sword into my side above one hip and plunged his halberd into the other with its cold point, so that it penetrated right through [me]; those scars are visible healed on me.

Mss: 590b-cˣ(4v), 152(199ra) (Gautr)

Readings: [8] at: om. 152;    yddi: stóð 152    [9] sér: so 152, sér þú 590b‑cˣ

Editions: Skj: Anonyme digte og vers [XIII], E. 13. Vers af Fornaldarsagaer: Af Gautrekssaga II 15: AII, 326-7, BII, 346, Skald II, 186-7; FSN 3, 24, Gautr 1900, 21, FSGJ 4, 20-1; Edd. Min. 40.

Context: As for Gautr 21.

Notes: [All]: A stanza of ten lines rather than the standard eight. Edd. Min. and Skj B place the last two lines in parentheses. — [3]: This line is in kviðuháttr. — [3] öflugr ‘the powerful one’: The reading of both mss. Skj B and Skald emend to öflugri ‘more powerful’, doubtless to produce a more regular line, and construe it with mér ‘more powerful than me’. — [8] yddi á kafi ‘it penetrated right through [me]’: The idiom ydda á kafi means that a weapon goes right through its victim and comes out the other side. Yddi is the lectio difficilior beside 152’s stóð ‘stood, was’. — [9] sér ‘are visible’: Understood as the 3rd pers. sg. of the pres. indic. of sjá ‘see’ used impersonally. It is also possible (and the scribe of 590b-cˣ must have thought so) that sér is 2nd pers. sg. pres. indic. ‘you see’.

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