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Runic Dictionary

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Starkaðr gamli Stórvirksson (StarkSt)

volume 8; ed. Margaret Clunies Ross;

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.

Fragment — StarkSt FragIII

Tarrin Wills 2017, ‘ Starkaðr gamli Stórvirksson, Fragment’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 382. <> (accessed 22 May 2022)

stanzas:  1 

SkP info: III, 382

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

1 — StarkSt Frag 1III

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Tarrin Wills (ed.) 2017, ‘Starkaðr gamli Stórvirksson, Fragment 1’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 382.

Þann hefi ek manna        menskra fundit
hringhreytanda        hrammastan at afli.

Ek hefi fundit {þann hringhreytanda} hrammastan at afli menskra manna.

I have met {that ring-distributor} [GENEROUS MAN] [who was] the mightiest as regards strength among human beings.

texts: TGT 13, Gramm 15

editions: Skj Not in Skj; SnE 1818, 311-12, SnE 1848, 183, SnE 1848-87, II, 104-5, 407, 510, III, 139, TGT 1884, 15, 68, 176, TGT 1927, 46, 93.


AM 748 I b 4° (A) 4r, 5 - 4r, 6 (TGT)  transcr.  image  image  
AM 757 a 4° (B) 2v, 31 - 2v, 32 (TGT)  transcr.  image  image  image  image  
AM 242 fol (W) 101 - 101 (TGT)  transcr.  image  image  image  
AM 744 4°x (744x) 10r, 12 - 10r, 15 (TGT)  image  image  
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