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Not published: do not cite (StarkSt VíkVIII (Gautr))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, 279
28 — StarkSt Vík 28VIII (Gautr 36)
Cite as: Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.) 2017, ‘Gautreks saga 36 (Starkaðr gamli Stórvirksson, Víkarsbálkr 28)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 279.
context: As for Gautr 34.
notes: Starkaðr again refers to external forces, though without specifying which they are, as the causes of his action in sacrificing Víkarr to the gods. The use of the verb signa ‘dedicate, consecrate’ (l. 4) indicates as much, as does the manner of the sacrifice, which follows the pattern that Óðinn is said to have established both for himself (cf. Hávm 138-41) and for those heroes that he took for himself; on this subject see Turville-Petre (1964, 43-8; ARG I, 409-12, II, 49-50; Simek 1993, 242, 249). Characteristic of Odinic sacrifices are the use of a spear to pierce the victim and the mode of sacrifice, hanging on a tree, which is attested both from medieval ethnographic literature, such as Adam of Bremen’s account of the sacrifices at the temple at Uppsala (Schmeidler 1917, 259-60), and from texts like Hávm.
texts: ‹Gautr 36›
editions: Skj Anonyme digte og vers [XIII]: E. 13. Vers af Fornaldarsagaer: Af Gautrekssaga II 20 (AII, 327-8; BII, 347); Skald II, 187; FSN 3, 35, Gautr 1900, 31-2, FSGJ 4, 32; Edd. Min. 42.