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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Not published: do not cite (StarkSt VíkVIII (Gautr))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, 271

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

18 — StarkSt Vík 18VIII (Gautr 26)

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.) 2017, ‘Gautreks saga 26 (Starkaðr gamli Stórvirksson, Víkarsbálkr 18)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 271.

Átti sér         erfivörðu
tírsamr tvá         tyggi alna.
Hét hans son         Haraldr inn ellri;
setti þann         at Þelamörku.

Tírsamr tyggi átti tvá erfivörðu alna sér. Inn ellri son hans hét Haraldr; setti þann at Þelamörku.

The fame-desiring ruler had two heirs born to him. The elder son of his was called Haraldr; he placed that one over Telemark.

Mss: 590b-cˣ(4v) (Gautr)

Editions: Skj: Anonyme digte og vers [XIII], E. 13. Vers af Fornaldarsagaer: Af Gautrekssaga α 2: AII, 329, BII, 349, Skald II, 188; FSN 3, 26, Gautr 1900, 23, FSGJ 4, 22-3; Edd. Min. 41.

Context: The prose text tells that Víkarr becomes a very powerful king. He marries an unnamed wife and has two sons, the elder Haraldr, the younger Neri. Neri was the wisest of men and gave good advice, but was so stingy (svá var hann sínkr) that he could never give anything away without immediately longing for it again. Vík 18 and 19 (Gautr 26 and 27) are then cited as Starkaðr’s comment on these matters.

Notes: [2] erfivörðu ‘heirs’: The noun erfivǫrðr is not common in skaldic poetry, though it occurs twice in the late C12th Anon Nkt 3/7 and 13/4II, but is found in several poems of the Poetic Edda (cf. LP: erfivǫrðr). — [5] son ‘son’: The ms. has ‘sun’. Most eds restore the final <r> to give the nom. sg. case, but this is not necessary, as the nom. form without <r> is common (ANG §395. 1).

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