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Introduction

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Chapter Summary

This chapter examines subordination in the normative sources and in the contemporary sagas, proceeding from terms for obedience and service. The words for obedience are Old Norse lýðni and Latin obedientia, and for service Old Norse þjónusta and Latin servitia. There are several reasons for focusing on these terms. First, the terms are central in the normative sources. Second, this is one of the relatively few cases where Old Norse words have obvious parallels in Latin terms. Third, and most important, lýðni and þjónusta indicate a form of subordination that differs clearly from subordination based on friendship. The chapter shows how an ideology based on absolute subordination was introduced and brought into use in Norway in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. It gives a brief chronological survey of the use of the terms in the normative sources.

Keywords: ideal subordination; Latin obedientia; Latin servitia; normative sources; Norway; obedience; Old Norse þjónusta; Old Norse lýðni

10.1163/ej.9789004166615.i-378.15
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