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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Not published: do not cite (StarkSt VíkVIII (Gautr))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, 273

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

20 — StarkSt Vík 20VIII (Gautr 28)

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.) 2017, ‘Gautreks saga 28 (Starkaðr gamli Stórvirksson, Víkarsbálkr 20)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 273.

Réð Friðþjófr         fyrst at senda
heiptarboð         horskum jöfri,
hvárt Víkarr         vildi gjalda
hilmi skatt         eða her þola.

Friðþjófr réð fyrst at senda horskum jöfri heiptarboð, hvárt Víkarr vildi gjalda hilmi skatt eða þola her.

Friðþjófr first sent a message of hostility to the wise prince, [enquiring] whether Víkarr wanted to pay tribute to the ruler or suffer his army.

Mss: 590b-cˣ(4v) (Gautr)

Readings: [1] Friðþjófr: ‘Fridþ.̂’ 590b‑cˣ

Editions: Skj: Anonyme digte og vers [XIII], E. 13. Vers af Fornaldarsagaer: Af Gautrekssaga α 4: AII, 329, BII, 349, Skald II, 188; FSN 3, 27, Gautr 1900, 23-4, FSGJ 4, 23-4; Edd. Min. 41.

Context: This stanza is said to be Starkaðr’s poetic summary of the situation described in a few lines of saga prose. Friðþjófr, having heard that his two brothers had been killed, returns to Opplandene and regains his kingdom from Víkarr. He then sends a message to Víkarr offering him the choice of paying tribute or facing an enemy attack.

Notes: [1, 2] réð … at senda ‘sent’: Here réð functions as an auxiliary with senda ‘send’. For réð formulas in the sense ‘rule’, which characteristically begin a stanza or a helmingr see, e.g., st. 30/1 below, as well as Anon Nkt 8/1, 12/1, 16/5, 23/1, 28/5II, etc. Cf. also Þjóð Yt 26/5I as well as the kviðuháttr stanza on the Rök stone (Run Ög136VI Ræð Þiðrikr). These formulas must have been a staple of the genealogical kviðuháttr tradition.

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