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Fortifications And Urbanisation

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Chapter Summary

The union of götar and svear under one king led some scholars to seek evidence of increasing state power in the twelfth century, particularly during the long reign of Knut Eriksson, a possible candidate for the construction of a chain of fortified coastal towers known as kastaler. In fourteenth-century Swedish sources the words kastell, borg, hus and fäste may all refer to castles. Castles were not the only substantial buildings that functioned as symbols of power, as medieval kings and nobles also made use of palaces. The new royal castles of the late thirteenth century made a great contribution to the growth of urban centres in Sweden. Early medieval towns in Scandinavia were places for the exchange of goods, rather than manufacturing centres, existing in the vicinity of fortifications, centres of religious significance or places propitious for trade in their own right.

Keywords: fortified coastal towers; götar; Knut Eriksson; svear; urban centres



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