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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Not published: do not cite (StarkSt VíkVIII (Gautr))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, 283

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

31 — StarkSt Vík 31VIII (Gautr 39)

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.) 2017, ‘Gautreks saga 39 (Starkaðr gamli Stórvirksson, Víkarsbálkr 31)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 283.

Hér settu mik
sveina milli,
heldr hæðinna
ok hvítbránna.
Skelkja skatnar
ok skaup draga,
ófs óframir,
at jöfurs greppi.


Here they set me between serving men, rather mocking and white-eyelashed. The fellows mock and, exceedingly cautious, hold the prince’s poet up to ridicule.

context: A short prose paragraph in 590b-cˣ separates Vík 30 (Gautr 38) from the final three stanzas of Vík, which are cited after this without prose intervention. The prose text first comments on Starkaðr’s self-condemnation of his killing of Víkarr and then on his situation at Uppsala, where twelve berserks who were employed as mercenaries (málamenn) were very aggressive and mocking towards him. The prose text further states that Starkaðr was silent (þǫgull, cf. Gautr 37/7) – presumably not responding to their insults – but the berserks called him a reborn giant (endrborinn jǫtunn) and a traitor (níðingr), svá sem hér segir ‘as it says here’.

texts: Gautr 39

editions: Skj Anonyme digte og vers [XIII]: E. 13. Vers af Fornaldarsagaer: Af Gautrekssaga II 23 (AII, 328; BII, 348); Skald II, 187, FF §28; FSN 3, 36-7, Gautr 1900, 33, FSGJ 4, 33; Edd. Min. 43.


AM 590 b-c 4°x (590b-cx) 6v, 9 - 6v, 10 (Gautr)  transcr.  image  
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