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‘Spoiling them rotten?’: Grandmothers and familial identity in twelfth- and thirteenth-century Iceland

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Chapter Summary

This chapter examines the associations and contact between grandmothers and their grandchildren in twelfth- and thirteenth-century Iceland (i.e., the later Commonwealth period). The main source which provides an insight into Icelandic society of the later Commonwealth period is the contemporary sagas. Most medieval sources are sparse, fragmentary and ambiguous, and in many cases they are focused mainly on eldest sons and their sons. Even in the case of the more complete contemporary sagas for Commonwealth Iceland, the birth or death dates of grandmothers and most of their grandchildren are seldom recorded. Much information exists in the contemporary sagas relating to naming patterns in Commonwealth Iceland. The handful of charters concerning women prior to the end of the Commonwealth period rarely discusses property belonging to the named woman. Place of residence is another useful tool to add to our knowledge of women whose lives overlapped with those of their grandchildren.

Keywords: contemporary sagas; grandmothers; Icelandic society; naming patterns

10.1163/ej.9789004170735.i-310.56
/content/books/10.1163/ej.9789004170735.i-310.56
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