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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Not published: do not cite (StarkSt VíkVIII (Gautr))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, 256

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

2 — StarkSt Vík 2VIII (Gautr 10)

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.) 2017, ‘Gautreks saga 10 (Starkaðr gamli Stórvirksson, Víkarsbálkr 2)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 256.

Herr tapaðiz         Haralds ins egðska
ok menbrota         mágar véltu,
Fjöri ok Fýri,         Freka arfþegar,
Unnar bræðr         eiðu minnar.

Herr Haralds ins egðska tapaðiz ok mágar, Fjöri ok Fýri, arfþegar Freka, bræðr Unnar eiðu minnar, véltu {menbrota}.

The army of Haraldr inn egðski (‘from Agder’) perished and the kinsmen, Fjǫri and Fýri, heirs of Freki, brothers of my mother Unnr, betrayed {the necklace-breaker} [GENEROUS MAN = Stórvirkr].

Mss: 590b-cˣ(3v), 152(198rb), papp11ˣ(5r) (Gautr)

Readings: [1] Herr: hers papp11ˣ;    tapaðiz: so 152, ‘hraudtudr’ 590b‑cˣ, ‘hrvdur’ papp11ˣ    [3] menbrota: ‘menn breta’ 590b‑cˣ, meinbrota papp11ˣ    [5] Fjöri: Fjörvi papp11ˣ    [6] arfþegar: so 152, arfþegar with ‘arfa’ written in left margin and final a crossed through 590b‑cˣ, arfþegar preceded by ‘arfa’ crossed through papp11ˣ    [7] Unnar: ‘unar’ 152

Editions: Skj: Anonyme digte og vers [XIII], E. 13. Vers af Fornaldarsagaer: Af Gautrekssaga II 2: AII, 324, BII, 344, Skald II, 185; FSN 3, 16-17, Gautr 1664, 20 (ll. 1-4), Gautr 1900, 13-14, FSGJ 4, 13; Edd. Min. 38.

Context: As for Vík 1 (Gautr 9). This stanza follows it without a break.

Notes: [1] tapaðiz ‘perished’: The readings of 590b-cˣ and papp11ˣ do not offer a satisfactory alternative here, either metrically or in terms of sense, even though Gautr 1900 and Edd. Min. offer the cpd herhrǫðuðr or the emended ok herhrǫðuðr, which are construed with the last two lines of Vík 1 (Gautr 9), though no interpretation is offered. The cpd hrǫtuðr occurs as a fire-heiti in Þul Elds 1/7III in the sense ‘stumbling’, possibly related to hrata ‘stagger, tumble’, but this does not seem either syntactically or lexically appropriate here. — [2] Haralds ins egðska ‘of Haraldr inn egðski (“from Agder”)’: A Haraldr, king of Agder, termed Haraldr inn granrauði ‘Haraldr Red-whiskers’, is mentioned in Yng ch. 48 (ÍF 26, 79-80) as being killed by the Ynglingr ruler Guðrøðr, the subject of Þjóð Yt 25I. Guðrøðr asked for Haraldr’s daughter Ása in marriage but was refused. However, this man must be different from the Haraldr, father of Víkarr, in Gautr; see Context to Vík 3 (Gautr 11) below. — [3] menbrota ‘the necklace-breaker [GENEROUS MAN = Stórvirkr]’: A common kenning-type, whose referent is presumably Starkaðr’s father, Stórvirkr. The cpd menbroti occurs also in two poems probably of the early C13th, Bjbp Jóms 42/3I and GSvert1/2IV. — [5] Fjöri ‘Fjǫri’: In some mss, here represented by papp11ˣ, this character’s name is given as Fjörvi, a form adopted by Skj B and Skald. — [6] arfþegar Freka ‘heirs of Freki’: Freki, the father of Starkaðr’s mother Unnr, is said in the prose text to be from Hålogaland in the north of Norway. The noun Freki, related to the adj. frekr ‘ravenous’, can be applied to a wolf (cf. Vsp 51/6), as well as to fire and warriors (cf. LT: freki). The cpd arfþegi ‘heir’, lit. ‘inheritance receiver’, also occurs in Gautr 16/3 and Ív Sig 30/7II, a poem that Ranisch considered (Gautr 1900, cviii) may have been influenced by Vík, though the influence may well have gone the other way. — [7]: This line is in kviðuháttr. — [8] eiðu ‘mother’: An uncommon noun, largely poetic; Skm (SnE 1998, I, 108) explains Eiða heitir móðirEiða is a name for mother’. Eiða is cognate with Goth. aiþei and MHG eide, both meaning ‘mother’, OIr. aite ‘father’ (AEW: eiða).

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