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Kings And Power Struggles: Sweden From 1130 To 1290

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Chapter Summary

Scandinavian society was stratified long before the twelfth century, with social differences between the living being manifested by differences in house sizes, quality of clothes or weapons and ownership of land, animals or ships. During the twelfth and thirteenth centuries in western Europe social and political structures became increasingly hierarchical and formal in nature. After the death of Magnus Nielsen in 1134, and with the exception of the brief reign of Magnus Henriksen in 1160-61, two families contended for the kingship in Sweden, those of Sverkerska ätten and Erikska ätten. Ultimate victory for either Erik or Sverker lines was made impossible by the interventions of the powerful Folkungaätten and its allies, until the male line of Sverker died out in 1222. In wider terms, the struggles between various factions between 1130 and 1250, and even earlier than that, may be seen as a byproduct of centralising state formation.

Keywords: centralising state formation; Erikska ätten; Magnus Henriksen; Magnus Nielsen; Sverkerska ätten; Swedish kingship



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