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Not published: do not cite (StarkSt VíkVIII (Gautr))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

21 — StarkSt Vík 21VIII (Gautr 29)

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.) 2017, ‘Gautreks saga 29 (Starkaðr gamli Stórvirksson, Víkarsbálkr 21)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 273.

Réðum um         … lengi;
urðum vit         ekki dælir.
Þat kaus herr,         at konungr skyldi
ríkr með her         rómu knýja.

Réðum um … lengi; vit urðum ekki dælir. Herr kaus þat, at ríkr konungr skyldi knýja rómu með her.

We debated … long; we were not easy to deal with. The army chose that the powerful king should press on with the battle with his troop.

Mss: 590b-cˣ(4v) (Gautr)

Readings: [2] lengi: lengi 590b‑cˣ

Editions: Skj: Anonyme digte og vers [XIII], E. 13. Vers af Fornaldarsagaer: Af Gautrekssaga α 5: AII, 329, BII, 349, Skald II, 188, NN §3295; FSN 3, 27, Gautr 1900, 24, FSGJ 4, 24; Edd. Min. 41.

Context: The saga prose indicates that Víkarr and his counsellors discussed at some length how to proceed.

Notes: [All]: The first helmingr of this stanza reverts to the 1st pers. pl. mode of narrative, like earlier stanzas of Vík, but the second continues with 3rd pers. narrative. Vit ‘we’ (l. 3) is 1st pers. dual, yet the pl. would be expected in this context. — [2] … lengi ‘… long’: There is no gap in the ms. between um (l. 1) and lengi but a word is clearly missing. It must be disyllabic with a long stem and begin with r- or a vowel. The expected sense would be ‘we did not debate for long’ or words to that effect.

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