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Taxation And The Military Ledung

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Chapter Summary

The Swedish law-codes retain elements of a system of land ownership that existed in the Viking Period and probably earlier, in the form of bordsrätt. It has been argued that the concept of 'ownership' in the Scandinavian Iron Age would have been fundamentally different from that of the Middle Ages, perhaps akin to those found in chieftain societies of more recent times. As it appears in medieval Scandinavian law codes, the ledung is primarily a source of finance for the crown. In Upplandslagen, ledung organisation was tied to the hundare, which equipped four ships. The inclusion of styrmän in the landskapslagar, together with the requirements of all settled men to pay taxes or serve in the ledung fleet, might suggest that the ledung was all-inclusive, and the main method of raising military forces.

Keywords: bordsrätt; medieval Scandinavian law codes; Scandinavian Iron Age; styrmän; Viking period



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