A Norwegian man accused of killing 77 people in a bomb-and-shooting rampage wept Monday at the start of his highly anticipated trial as prosecutors showed his anti-Muslim video in court.

Anders Behring Breivik's tears and grimaces didn't get any sympathy, however.

"Nobody believes that he cried out of pity for the victims," said Mette Yvonne Larsen, a lawyer representing survivors and victim's families.

"It might be that he is crying because of pride or because he thinks the video is so brilliant," massacre survivor Bjorn Magnus Jacobsen told reporters. "But it might also be he feels that he's lost his battle, but I don't really know that."

Breivik, 33, faces terror and murder charges in connection with the July 22, 2011 attacks that killed eight people in Oslo and another 69 mostly young people attending the Labour Party's youth camp on Utoya island.

The trial is not intended to determine whether he carried out the attacks, however, but rather if he can be held responsible.

Entering his plea, Breivik told the court: "I acknowledge the acts, but not criminal guilt and I claim legitimate defence."

He appeared calmly defiant as he was led into the court Monday, smiling and shaking hands with prosecutors and court officials when his handcuffs were removed.

He also flashed the court with a clenched-fist salute, first touching his chest and then extending his arm in front of him.

"I don't recognize Norwegian courts because you get your mandate from the Norwegian political parties who support multiculturalism," Breivik said in his first comments to the court, adding that he doesn't recognize Judge Wenche Elisabeth Arntzen's authority either because of her friendship with the left-leaning Labour Party leader's sister.

Judge Artnzen nevertheless went ahead with proceedings, recounting in precise detail how each of his victims died. Breivik sat still, his eyes downcast. He could be seen occasionally smirking.

After going through a list of the injured, Judge Arntzen told the court, "The accused has committed very serious crimes of a degree we have not seen in our country in modern times."

In a rambling manifesto that appeared online the day of the attacks, Breivik declared his intention to punish Europe's "multiculturalists" and "enablers of Islamization" for what he called treasonous acts.

Anticipating that he would likely be brought to trial for his actions, Breivik said he and others like him should remember, "the trial is not about you but about the future of Europe."

To that end, he said "patriotic resistance fighters" should use trials "as a platform to further our cause."

Despite Breivik's claims he is part of a far-right militant Christian network acting in self-defence, police have said they've found no evidence he was acting in concert with anybody else.

"In our opinion, such a network as Breivik has described does not exist," prosecutor Svein Holden told the court in his opening arguments Monday.

Proving whether or not he and others are in the midst of a clash of civilizations is expected to be a key point in the trial, as Breivik tries to prove he is not insane.

To that end, he plans to call both right-wing extremists and radical Islamists to testify during the proceedings.

If Breivik is deemed mentally competent, he could face a maximum prison sentence of 21 years. Under Norwegian law, he could also be sentenced under a special provision that allows for incarceration as long as the inmate is considered a danger to society.

Breivik has called the alternative -- psychiatric care in the event he is ruled insane -- a fate "worse than death."

As the trial opened Monday, the prosecutor said there are currently no plans to pursue an ordinary prison sentence although that may change.

Ahead of the trial, the court has been presented with two psychiatric assessments. In their contradictory conclusions, one found Breivik sane and the other deemed him insane.

The trial, portions of which are being broadcast on Norway's NRK television network, is expected to last 10 weeks.

The court will hear from Breivik Tuesday, but his testimony will not be broadcast.