The Incorporation and Integration of the King's Tributary Lands into the Norwegian Realm c. 1195-1397

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The emergence of a Norwegian medieval state had consequences beyond Norway. Inspired by transnational research on state formation, this book presents a comprehensive study of the political incorporation and subsequent judicial and administrative integration of Iceland, the Faroes, Shetland, and Orkney, into the Norwegian realm c. 1195-1397. Building on centuries-old cultural, economic, and political ties, the Norwegian crown established direct royal lordship over the former autonomous and semi-autonomous areas. Judicial unity, administrative development, and the king’s local representatives ensured that the tributary lands were comprised in the state-formation process. Although the political and administrative system allowed for local variation, the process led development in the direction of a unitary state, at least in judicial and administrative terms.

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Biographical Note

Randi Bjørshol Wærdahl, Ph.D. (2006) in medieval history, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, is Post-doctoral Fellow at Norwegian University of Science and Technology. She has published articles on Scandinavian historiography, friendship, and aristocratic women’s social networks.

Table of contents

Acknowledgements ... ix
Notes on the Use of Names ... xi
Abbreviations ... xiii
Maps ... xv

Introduction ... 1
Theme ... 1
The Norwegian medieval state ... 3
Norway and the tributary lands in the perspective of national history ... 6
Alternative perspectives ... 14
Approach and plan of study ... 18
The source material ... 24

PART ONE: INCORPORATION
Chapter One In the Norwegian Kings’ Sphere оf Interest ... 31
The Norse world ... 32
The Norwegian kings’ policy in the south-west ... 40
Conclusion ... 63

Chapter Two The Norwegian King’s Tributary Lands ... 69
The designation “tributary land” ... 69
King and earl, 1195–1267 ... 71
Icelandic chieftains and the establishment of royal lordship ... 89
Direct lordship over the Faroes ... 112
Conclusion ... 114

PART TWO: INTEGRATION
Chapter Three Judicial Unity or Diversity? ... 119
King Magnus’s legislative project and the tributary lands ... 119
Legislative authority ... 128
Special legislation ... 131
Conclusion ... 138

Chapter Four The Establishment of the King’s
Administrative Apparatus ... 143
The shrieval organization ... 143
Lawmen and lawthing ... 149
Other royal representatives in the administrative apparatus ... 157
Conclusion ... 158

Chapter Five Change and Continuity, 1270–1319 ... 159
The Faroes ... 159
Orkney ... 160
Shetland ... 168
Iceland ... 176
Conclusion ... 203

Chapter Six The Norwegian Realm and the Personal Union with Sweden, 1320–1350 ... 207
Orkney ... 207
Iceland ... 210
Conclusion ... 227

Chapter Seven On the Periphery of the Kingdom, 1351–1397 ... 229
Orkney ... 231
Shetland ... 245
The Faroes ... 248
Iceland ... 250
Conclusion ... 269

Conclusion To Serve a King, as all Other Lands in the World ... 273
Incorporation ... 273
Integration ... 283
The tributary lands and the Norwegian medieval state ... 289

APPENDICES
Norwegian Kings and Regents c. 880–1442 ... 293
Earls of Orkney and Caithness ... 294
Royal Officials in Iceland, c. 1273–1397 ... 296

Bibliography ... 303
Primary sources ... 303
Reference works ... 305
Secondary literature ... 305
Index ... 317

Readership

All those interested in medieval history, medieval state formation and political development, medieval Scandinavia, Scandinavian Scotland, and the Norse world in general.

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