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Territorial Division

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Chapter Summary

Magnus Eriksson's landslag states that in the mid-fourteenth century Sweden was divided into nine lagmansdömen (districts over which a lagman had legal authority) and seven biskopsdömen (bishoprics). The origins of almost all Swedish administrative units named in the landskapslagar are lost in obscurity. The most important territorial administrative unit of Upplandslagen that clearly predates the law texts is the hundare, which was itself a subdivision of the folkland. Ambrosiani's conclusion that hundare administration was based on numbers of free men pre-supposes that it was related to the ledung organisation attested only in late thirteenth- and fourteenth-century sources. The Vallentuna rune-stone tells that the hundare was a ting district. Its inscription says clearly that Jarlabanke set up this ting himself, which suggests that the administrative hundare system owed at least as much to local initiative as it did to any central direction.

Keywords: Ambrosiani; ledung organisation; Magnus Eriksson's landslag; mid-fourteenth century Sweden; Swedish administrative units; Upplandslagen; Vallentuna rune-stone



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