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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Not published: do not cite (StarkSt VíkVIII (Gautr))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, 275

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

23 — StarkSt Vík 23VIII (Gautr 31)

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.) 2017, ‘Gautreks saga 31 (Starkaðr gamli Stórvirksson, Víkarsbálkr 23)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 275.

Gengum fram         í glam vápna,
konungsmenn         kappi gnægðir.
Þar var Úlfr         ok Erpr lítinn;
hjó ek brynjulauss         báðum höndum.

Gengum fram í glam vápna, konungsmenn gnægðir kappi. Úlfr var þar ok Erpr lítinn; ek hjó brynjulauss báðum höndum.

We advanced in the clash of weapons, the king’s men endowed with vigour. Úlfr was there and Erpr lítinn (‘the Small’); I hewed without a mail-coat with both hands.

Mss: 590b-cˣ(5r) (Gautr)

Readings: [4] kappi: kappa 590b‑cˣ

Editions: Skj: Anonyme digte og vers [XIII], E. 13. Vers af Fornaldarsagaer: Af Gautrekssaga α 7: AII, 329, BII, 350, Skald II, 189; FSN 3, 28, Gautr 1900, 25, FSGJ 4, 25; Edd. Min. 42.

Context: The battle is joined and Víkarr’s champions fight very well. Starkaðr fights using both hands and is not wearing a coat of mail. The stanza is introduced with the words sem hér segir ‘as it says here’.

Notes: [All]: This stanza is metrically mixed, with ll. 1, 3 and 5 being in kviðuháttr, and l. 7 in fornyrðislag. — [4] kappi ‘with vigour’: The sole ms. has kappa but the dat. sg. of kapp n. ‘power, vigour’ is required rather than the dat. sg. of kappi m. ‘champion’. — [5, 6] Úlfr … ok Erpr ‘Úlfr … and Erpr’: Two of King Víkarr’s warriors, mentioned here in the prose text and earlier in Vík 8/5 (Gautr 16).

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