Starkaðr gamli Stórvirksson (StarkSt)
volume 8; ed. Margaret Clunies Ross;
Víkarsbálkr (Vík) - 33
III. Fragment (Frag) - 1
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.
StarkSt VíkVIII (Gautr)
Not published: do not cite (StarkSt VíkVIII (Gautr))
SkP info: VIII, 274
22 — StarkSt Vík 22VIII (Gautr 30)
Cite as: Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.) 2017, ‘Gautreks saga 30 (Starkaðr gamli Stórvirksson, Víkarsbálkr 22)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 274.
|Réð Óláfr austr inn skygni,
sældargramr, fyr Svíaríki.
|Hann bauð út almenningi; |
mikill var hans helmingr talinn.
Óláfr inn skygni réð austr, sældargramr, fyr Svíaríki. Hann bauð út almenningi; helmingr hans var mikill talinn.
Óláfr inn skygni (‘the Sharp-sighted’) ruled in the east, the prosperous ruler, over the kingdom of the Swedes. He ordered the conscripted army out; his division was reckoned great.
Mss: 590b-cˣ(5r) (Gautr)
Editions: Skj: Anonyme digte og vers [XIII], E. 13. Vers af Fornaldarsagaer: Af Gautrekssaga α 6: AII, 329, BII, 350, Skald II, 188; FSN 3, 28, Gautr 1900, 24-5, FSGJ 4, 25; Edd. Min. 41-2.
Context: King Óláfr the
Sharp-sighted of Nærríki (Närke) in Sweden swings his support behind King
Víkarr, ordering a general levy of his kingdom to come out to fight. He draws up
his forces in a wedge-shaped column. The stanza expresses Starkaðr’s version
of the event.
Notes: [1-2] Óláfr inn skygni ‘Óláfr inn skygni (“the Sharp-sighted”)’: Named in Yng ch. 42 (ÍF 26, 73) as king of Närke. According to Yng his daughter Álof was the mother of Gauthildr, mother of the Ynglingr king Óláfr trételgja ‘Wood-cutter’ (cf. Þjóð Yt 21I). —  sældargramr ‘the prosperous ruler’: Sældar- gen. sg. of sæld ‘bliss, prosperity’ often occurs as the first element in compounds in the adjectival sense ‘happy, blessed, prosperous’; cf. Fritzner: sældarlíf ‘fortunate life’, sældarstaðr ‘place to spend a happy life’. —  Svíaríki ‘the kingdom of the Swedes’: That is, the territory of
the Svíar around Lake Mälaren in contrast to the southwestern territory of the Götar. —  almenningi ‘the conscripted army’: Cf. ONP: almenning 3) ‘men (and equipment) subject to military levy’ and ÞjóðA Har5/5II.