The Nature of Kingship c. 800-1300. The Danish Incident Nils Hybel presents the first comprehensive history of the changeable nature of monarchial power in Danish territories from the Viking Age to the Central Middle Ages. The work offers a pioneering methodological approach entirely based on medieval conceptions on sovereign power. This innovative approach involves contemporary ideas, not modern notions of power and kingship, being used to undertake the analysis. The Danish “Incident” is therefore integrated within the European context.
Kingship experienced a profound transformation during the half millennium investigated. A royal genealogy and strong bonds with Christian institutions were established in the late eleventh century. In the middle of the twelfth century the Danish realm was united, followed by the final liberation from German hegemony and the expansion of the realm with German and Slavic fiefs in the late twelfth century. At the same time, with the first signs of taxation, legislation, law enforcement and the notion of a national, military force, kings began the transition from warlords to medieval kingship. With stirrings of constitutionalism from 1241 onwards, this development of a national, medieval, kingdom intensified, though by c. 1300 the kingdom had not yet reached the point of total sovereign power.
Nils Hybel, Ph.D. (1989), is Professor at the Saxo Institute, the University of Copenhagen. He has published extensively on many aspects of European medieval history and historiography.
"Hybel (Univ. Copenhagen) enters the Danish historiographical debate regarding the date when a “Danish national medieval kingdom” first existed, and concludes, expectedly, that even by the early 13th century, the Danish monarchy did not “fully meet the standards” for such a kingdom. [...] Well researched, with sound conclusions. Summing Up: Recommended." J. P. Huffman,
Messiah College, in
Choice, vol. 55, no.11 (July, 2018)
Table of contents
List of Figures, Charts and Maps Abbreviations
Historiography Kings and Clans The Birth of the Viking Age Regnum and Sacerdotium A Tenth-Century Central Power The Historical Turning Point A Medieval Kingdom of the Viking Age The Janus-Faced King The Birth of Medieval Kingship Conclusion
A Speculum Regale The European Context Rex Gratia Dei Popular Legitimation of Kingship The Lawmaker The Ideal Leader Conclusion
Genealogy Historical Kings until c. 1140 Legendary Kings Historic Kings in Sources from c. 1140 Conclusion
Marca, Feudum, and Sovereignty The Danish Marca Feudum Sovereignty Sovereignty—An Anachronism? Conclusion
Law, Justice, and Constitution Sources of Medieval Law Narratives of the Earliest Danish Laws Extant Laws and Ordinances before 1241 Monarchical Legislation and Jurisdiction before 1241 Extant Laws and Ordinances from 1241 Monarchical Legislation and Jurisdiction from 1241 Constitution Conclusion
Landownership Ownership in Roman Law Ownership in Medieval Jurisprudence Family Ownership Private Property Ways of Acquiring Land Common Rights and Dominium Utile Conclusion
Tax Tribute, Plunder, and Gifts Mint Taxes Town and Market Taxes Customs Duties Urban and Commercial Duties Rural Taxes Conclusion
War and Peace Viking Kings and/or Warlords Medieval Kings and/or Warlords Towards a Public Army? Military Law Conclusion
The Realm Dane Denmark The Geopolitical Area of Denmark before the Mid-Eleventh Century Towards the Formation of a Realm The Danish Realm Conclusion
Bibliography Index of Persons and Places Subject Index
The target audience of the work is scholars, students, and even a broader readership interested in medieval history.