Disputing Strategies in Medieval Scandinavia


In Scandinavia the study of disputes is still a relatively new topic: The papers offered here discuss how conflicts were handled in Scandinavian societies in the Middle Ages before the emergence of strong centralized states. What strategies did people use to contest power, property, rights, honour, and other kinds of material or symbolic assets? Seven essays by Scandinavian scholars are supplemented by contributions from Stephen White, John Hudson and Gerd Althoff, to provide a new baseline for discussing both the strategies pursued in the political game and those used to settle local disputes. Using practice and process as key analytical concepts, these authors explore formal law and litigation in conjunction with non-formal legal proceedings such as out-of-court mediation, rituals, emotional posturing, and feuding. Their insights place the Northern medieval world in a European context of dispute studies. With introductory sections on social structure, sources materials, and the historiography of Scandinavian dispute studies.
Contributors are Gerd Althoff, Catharina Andersson, Kim Esmark, Lars Ivar Hansen, Lars Hermanson, John Hudson, Auður G. Magnúsdóttir, Hans Jacob Orning, Helle Vogt and Stephen D. White.

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Kim Esmark is Associate Professor in Medieval History at the Department of Culture and Identity, Roskilde University. He has published articles and co-edited books on gift-giving, rituals, kinship, religious patronage and dispute processing in Denmark and France, c. 1000-1300.
Lars Hermanson is Professor at the Department of Historical Studies, Gothenburg University. His main research interest is the interplay between social, political and spiritual relations in North European societies in the period c. 900-1200.
Hans Jacob Orning is Professor in history at The University of Oslo, and Professor II at The University College of Volda. His main research interests are the sociopolitical development in Norway in the High Middle Ages and manuscript culture in Late Medieval Iceland.
Helle Vogt is Associate Professor of Legal History at the Faculty of Law, University of Copenhagen. Her main research interests are Nordic legal history and the interaction between local law and learned Christian legal ideology.
List of Contributors ... vii
List of Kings ... ix
General Maps ... xiii

General Introduction ... 1
. . Kim Esmark and Hans Jacob Orning

Part One: Power politics: Kingship, Coercion, and Conflict
Introduction to Part One ... 31
. . Hans Jacob Orning
Conflict and Social (dis)order in Norway, c. 1030–1160 ... 45
. . Hans Jacob Orning
Kingship, Women and Politics in Morkinskinna ... 83
. . Auður Magnúsdóttir
How to Legitimate Rebellion and Condemn Usurpation of the . Crown: Discourses of Fidelity and Treason in the Gesta Danorum of Saxo Grammaticus ... 107
. . Lars Hermanson

Part two: Local disputes: Property, Justice, and Social Transaction
Introduction to Part Two ... 143
. . Helle Vogt and Kim Esmark
The Power to Judge: Jurisdiction in Property Conflicts in Thirteenth-Century Denmark ... 161
. . Helle Vogt
Disputing Property in Zealand: The Records of the Soro Donation Book ... 181
. . Kim Esmark
Gifts and Society in Fourteenth Century Sweden ... 219
. . Catharina Andersson
The Field of Property Devolution in Norway During the Late Middle Ages: Inheritance Settlements, Marriage . Contracts and Legal Disputes ... 247
. . Lars Ivar Hansen

Part three: Comparative perspectives
The Feelings in the Feud: The Emotional Turn in the Study of Medieval Vengeance ... 281
. . Stephen D. White
The Rules of Conflict Among the Warrior Aristocracy of the High Middle Ages ... 313
. . Gerd Althoff
Legal History and the History of Disputes ... 333
. . John Hudson

Bibliography ... 343
General Index ... 361
Index of Names ... 365
Index of Places ... 370
All interested in Scandinavia in the middle ages, dispute studies and legal history.