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Jarla Sogur Orkneyja. Status And Power Of The Earls Of Orkney According To Their Sagas

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Chapter Summary

This chapter studies how rulers used halls, cult houses and churches for expressing and maintaining their political power. It intends to apply a long-term perspective, including both the late Iron Age and the early Middle Ages (400–1100). The purpose is to study continuity and change in connection with the conversion process in Scandinavia, when the pre-Christian halls and cult houses were replaced by churches. The chapter focuses on the people called the Svear, so as to be able to account for the specific historical contexts. The Svear lived in an area called Svetjud. We do not know the geographic extent of this area, but it has been suggested that it comprised the Mälar region, Uppland, Södermanland, Västmanland and parts of Närke. Written sources report that the pre-Christian rulers in Uppsala were regarded as descendants of the gods. They also legitimised their rule by performing ritual roles at public sacrifices.

Keywords:cult houses; Iron Age; Mälar region; pre-Christian halls; Scandinavia; Svear



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