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Royal Administration In The Early Folkung Period

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Chapter Summary

During the period 1250-1320 a number of substantial fortifications were built at royal instigation. They had a defensive function, both against external enemies and possible rebellions, but incidents recounted in Erikskrönikan and other sources, in which castles appear as kings' residences or prisons during the disputes within the Folkung family, provide evidence of another function, their use in the exercise of royal power. The construction of castles accompanied a change in the nature of administration, with the advent of a new administrative district, later called the län but referred to as land in the thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries. In the Folkung Period both administration and military system were in a state of transformation. The expeditions of Tyrgils Knutsson have required a ledung fleet, but used paid troops capable of staying in the field for long periods as well, similar to those employed by the king's länsmän in his castles.

Keywords: Erikskrönikan; Folkung Period; king's länsmän; län; ledung fleet; Tyrgils Knutsson



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