The Church in Fourteenth-Century Iceland

The Formation of an Elite Clerical Identity


In The Church in Fourteenth-Century Iceland, Erika Sigurdson provides a history of the fourteenth-century Icelandic Church with a focus on the the social status of elite clerics following the introduction of benefices to Iceland. In this period, the elite clergy developed a shared identity based in part on universal clerical values, but also on a shared sense of interdependence, personal networks and connections within the framework of the Church.
The Church in Fourteenth-Century Iceland examines the development of this social group through an analysis of bishops’ sagas, annals, and documents. In the process, it chronicles major developments in the Icelandic Church after the reforms of the late thirteenth century, including its emphasis on property and land ownership, and the growth of ecclesiastical bureaucracy.

Prices from (excl. VAT):

Add to Cart
Erika Sigurdson, Ph.D. (2012), University of Leeds, is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Árni Magnússon Institute in Iceland. She has published articles on the Icelandic Church and ecclesistical administration, and produced a forthcoming translation of Lárentíus saga byskups.
Acknowledgements and Spelling Conventions vii
List of Tables viii
List of Abbreviations iX
Introduction 1
Ecclesiastical History in a Scandinavian Context 3
Historiography and the ‘Boring’ Fourteenth Century 4
Methodology and Approaches 7
1 Iceland in the Fourteenth Century 10
Iceland and the Kings of Norway 11
The Aristocracy in Iceland and the Administration of Iceland 16
The Icelandic Church 1264–1300 21
Defining the Period 27
2 Sources and Authorship: The Intellectual Milieu 30
Contemporary Sagas in a Fourteenth-Century Context 31
Bishops’ Sagas 35
Árna saga 38
Guðmundar saga D (Guðmundar saga Arngríms Brandssonar) 40
Jons tattr Halldorssonar and Exemplary Material 42
Annals 47
Skálholtsannáll 53
Brot af Skálholtsannáll 54
Lögmannsannáll 54
Flateyjarannáll 55
Gottskálksannáll 56
Documentary Sources 57
Authorship and Intellectual Milieu 59
3 The Icelandic Church after 1264 62
Parish and Local Structures 64
Staðir 67
Monasteries 69
Jurisdiction 72
Church Officials within Iceland 74
Iceland and Nidaros 83
Foreign Bishops 92
4 Elite Priests in Iceland 96
Stadir, Church Centres, and Benefices 97
Elite Priests in the Norwegian Age (1269–1400) 99
Staðir and Clerical Income 109
Elite Clerical Social Networks 118
Archiepiscopal Benefices 126
Elite Identity: Clerical Identity 129
Clerical Concubinage, Fostering, and the Children of Clerics 130
Clerical Violence and Conflict 136
Conclusion 146
5 Norway and Elite Icelandic Clerical Identity 148
Iceland and Nidaros: Introduction 149
Icelandic Clergy in Norway 153
Icelandic Perceptions of Norway and Nidaros 162
Conclusion 174
Conclusion 177
Appendix 1: Bishops of Skálholt and Hólar, 1056–1550 185
Appendix 2: The officiales and ráðsmenn of Skálholt and Hólar 187
Bibliography 191
Index 203
Students and scholars of Old Norse/Icelandic Studies, both historians and literary scholars, as well as medieval ecclesiastical historians, who will be interested in the material for comparative analysis.