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Origin Myths And Rulership. From The Viking Age Ruler To The Ruler Of Medieval Historiography: Continuity, Transformations And Innovations

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Chapter Summary

This chapter examines the ideology of rulership through the ideas on rulers as presented in their descriptions in the sagas and Konungs skuggsiá. It creates an overall picture of the ideological differences and similarities in Norway, Orkney and Iceland societies and discerns how the political development affected and altered the ideology of rulership. The chapter considers the personal qualities of rulers in the sagas; it looks at the relation between rulers and religion, and finally addresses the source problems. The discussion is mostly based on Orkneyinga saga, Heimskringla, Sverris saga, Sturlunga saga, the Icelandic Family sagas and Konungs skuggsiá, that is, on most of the sagas dealing with rulers in Norway, Orkney and Iceland in c. 900–1300. The chapter concludes that there is fundamental difference between kings on the one hand, and earls and chieftains on the other, even though the same terms were used to describe their personal abilities.

Keywords:chieftains; earls; Heimskringla; Iceland; Konungs skuggsiá; Norway; Orkney; Orkneyinga saga; Sturlunga saga; Sverris saga



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