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Sweden Before 1130

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Chapter Summary

To consider the history of Sweden between the mid-twelfth and the end of the thirteenth century it is necessary first to look at the period before this. The early history of Sweden before 1130 is very obscure, details of names and events existing only in scattered foreign sources, but written evidence for the period 1130-1250 is also limited. The majority of modern archaeologists trace the beginning of state formation in Sweden to the post-Roman Iron Age, by which they mean the era when powerful chieftaincies that later became kingdoms and ultimately the state of Sweden began to develop. Sweden was Christianised even later than Denmark and Norway, the last pagan king, Blot-Sven, having reigned for three years, probably during the 1080s. The arrival of the new religion was marked first by rune-stone inscriptions, then by wooden churches, which may have accompanied the dividing of the landscape into socknar.

Keywords: Blot-Sven; post-Roman Iron Age; rune-stone inscriptions; Swedish state formation; wooden churches



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