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Not published: do not cite (StarkSt VíkVIII (Gautr))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

24 — StarkSt Vík 24VIII (Gautr 32)

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.) 2017, ‘Gautreks saga 32 (Starkaðr gamli Stórvirksson, Víkarsbálkr 24)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 275.

Réð Friðþjófr         friðar at biðja,
þvíat Víkarr         vægði ekki,
ok Starkaðr         Stórverksson
almátt fram         allan lagði.

Friðþjófr réð at biðja friðar, þvíat Víkarr vægði ekki, ok Starkaðr Stórverksson lagði fram allan almátt.

Friðþjófr had to sue for peace because Víkarr did not yield and Starkaðr Stórverksson exerted all his mighty strength.

Mss: 590b-cˣ(5r) (Gautr)

Readings: [6] Stórverksson: ‘Sörverkzson’ 590b‑cˣ

Editions: Skj: Anonyme digte og vers [XIII], E. 13. Vers af Fornaldarsagaer: Af Gautrekssaga α 8: AII, 329-30, BII, 350, Skald II, 189; FSN 3, 29, Gautr 1900, 25, FSGJ 4, 26; Edd. Min. 42.

Context: King Friðþjófr is finally forced to ask Víkarr for mercy because his army’s battle formation has disintegrated. The stanza is introduced with the words svá segir Starkaðr ‘so says Starkaðr’.

Notes: [All]: Although this stanza is found only in 590b-cˣ, 152 reproduces in its prose text (fol 199rb) the clause en hann vægði ekki ‘but he did not yield’, suggesting that its compiler knew the stanza but chose not to cite it. It is curious that the speaker refers to himself and his deeds in the third person in ll. 5-8. This stanza is in kviðuháttr metre. — [6] Stórverksson: This line is hypometrical. The second element of this pers. n. is usually spelled ‑virkr in the mss’ prose texts, but here the spelling of the sole ms. is followed, including the form ‑son. Skj B and Skald substitute the more common sonr, but the nom. form without <r> is common; cf. ANG §395.1 and Gautr 26, Note to l. 5.

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