Landscape, Tradition and Power critically examines the evidence for socio-political developments in medieval Iceland during the so-called Commonwealth period. The book compares regions in the west and north-east of Iceland because these regions had differing human and physical geographies, and contrasting levels of surviving written evidence. Callow sets out the likely economies and institutional frameworks in which political action took place. He then examines different forms of evidence – the Contemporary sagas,
Landnámabók (The Book of Settlements), and Sagas of Icelanders – considering how each describes different periods of the Commonwealth present political power. Among its conclusions the book emphasises stasis over change and the need to appreciate the nuances and purposes of Iceland’s historicising sagas.